CONFIDENTIALITY

Capitol Hill Watchdog Refuses to Release Sexual-Harassment Data

A Capitol Hill watchdog that processes workplace sexual-harassment complaints in Congress has rejected a request to release data on the scale of complaints filed in the Senate, Politico reports. Sen. Tim Kaine had filed a request with the Office of Compliance this month, vowing to make public data on taxpayer-funded settlements over sexual-misconduct accusations in the upper chamber. Kaine’s request came as Congress seeks to overhaul sexual-misconduct procedures and impose mandatory training following a spate of allegations against lawmakers. The compliance office shot down Kaine’s request Monday, however, citing “confidentiality provisions” in a 1995 law that established the workplace-misconduct system. The office said it “does not possess reliable information regarding the number of sexual-harassment claims that have been filed or settled, the identities or positions of the individuals alleged to have committed sexual harassment, or why the parties reached settlements,” according to the report. Kaine said he was “disappointed” in the OOC’s decision. “If Congress truly wants to fix a broken system, we need to understand the scope of the problem,” he said in a statement.