To the editor:
For the last month or so starting with the Harvey Weinstein scandal, newspapers and other media outlets have been increasingly saturated by seemingly never-ending accounts of alleged sexual predation by men in positions of power — primarily in the fields of show business, the media, music and politics.
I use the word “alleged” because although some men have admitted guilt, not all have. They have either denied the charges, or stated the acts were consensual.
The truth, hopefully, will all come out in time. But meanwhile, those who will have been falsely accused will have had their reputations and careers destroyed.
I personally really don’t care much about these scandals except for a particular fact that came out regarding Congress that I’m sure most of us had no knowledge of, and that is that these scumbag legislators have at their disposal, a slush fund of taxpayer money (our money) to pay off sexual harassment complaints.
The Congressional Office of Compliance is an agency set up in 1995 to resolve labor and other disputes, including sexual harassment complaints brought by Congressional staffers against lawmakers. Since its inception, this fund has distributed more than $17 million.
This year alone, according to a recent report, the U.S. Treasury has paid out $934,754.
The newspapers have only now brought the news of this slush fund to the public’s attention, and have only now mentioned the named of just a few politicians — both Democrats and Republicans — who have made use of this fund.
$17 million is a hell of a lot of money, and I think the public is entitled to know the names of which legislators over the years have made use of this fund, for what particular purpose, and how much of our hard-earned money was spent by each legislator.
U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel has been in office since before this slimy slush fund came into existence. He probably voted for it (The Congressional Accountability Act).
If he didn’t, he can tell us so.
The question is, “Did Mr. Engel benefit from it?” The only way to find out is to get an accounting of the $17 million.
Congressman Engel should immediately introduce a bill to that effect. Perhaps neighboring congressmen Joseph Crowley, Jose Serrano and Jerrold Nadler (who are just as suspect as Eliot Engel) will sign on as co-sponsors?