A Virginia senator's search for answers about how much Congress has paid out in sexual harassment claims hit a roadblock this week.
Earlier this month, Sen. Tim Kaine asked for data on taxpayer-funded settlements. Now, we've learned that request has been denied.
Congress' Office of Compliance sent a letter to Sen. Kaine Monday. The memo said it cannot provide specific details on sexual harassment claims and settlements involving senators and senate employees.
The office executive director wrote the way current law is written means any information she would supply "may contain inaccuracies" and the office "does not possess reliable information."
"If Congress truly wants to fix a broken system, we need to understand the scope of the problem,” Sen. Kaine told 13News Now in a statement. “I'm disappointed the OOC didn't release any information to help us do that."
The denial is particularly notable, considering that very same office, which said it couldn't give Kaine Senate dollar figures, did give a house committee data on settlements in that chamber.
That total for four years is at minimum $115,000. It is likely much higher than that, as sexual harassment claims were often grouped in with other discrimination settlements.
We now know, from 2008 to 2012, for settlements, including sexual harassment and several types of discrimination, Congress paid out $342,225.85
Senator Kaine added he is going to keep pushing for the public release of this information.
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