WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine sent a letter to the Senate Office of Compliance (OOC) this week requesting information on the number of sexual harassment claims filed against Senators, members of their personal staff, and committee staff, along with the amount of monetary settlements that were reached in harassment cases. In the letter, Kaine wrote that he will publicly release any information he receives to help determine the scope of the problem and develop solutions. The information requested by Kaine would not breach any confidentiality agreement between the parties or reveal the identities of the survivors and the accused. His letter comes on the heels of reports of sexual harassment claims settled using taxpayer dollars in the House of Representatives and asks for full transparency in the Senate as Congress grapples with solutions to this widespread issue.
“This pervasive problem continues to serve as a barrier to ensure true gender equality. At a more personal level, it signals the failure of our society to guarantee even the basic safety and dignity of our colleagues, classmates, friends, family, and neighbors,” Kaine wrote.
“Indeed, how we respond establishes the standard for others. A lax or indifferent response, marked only by symbolic changes, signals that we consider the issue a low priority. But a strong response that seeks to establish true accountability will hopefully encourage others to follow,” Kaine continued. “The right response, however, requires disclosure of the extent of the problem and information about the resolutions the parties reached.”