TV and Radio personality Laura Ingraham was the first pundit to state that Congress has paid out millions in settlement money for sexual harassment claims within congress. The following day a reporter for The Hill, Reid Wilson, shared a chart showing the annualized payout amounts. We shared the chart from Reid Wilson.
However, the chart is misleading without the accompanying cover letter describing the content. [Original Source Link Here] In reality the claim that congress has paid out millions for “sexual harassment” or “harassment” settlements is entirely FALSE.
Sean Davis co-founder of The Federalist, was the first to spot the fraudulent presentation of data HERE. If you look at the actual letter (full pdf below) from the U.S. Congress, Office of Compliance, you’ll note the following important notation:
…”A large portion of cases originate from employing offices in the legislative branch other than the House of Representatives or the Senate, and involve various statutory provisions incorporated by the CAA, such as the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
The report shows all pay-outs covered under the Congressional Accountability Act, and extends far beyond House and Senate staff. In fact, as the disclaimer notes the “large portion” of the cases have nothing to do with the House and Senate, they are for administrative and maintenance divisions within the organization of congress, writ large, outside the legislative divisions.
Additionally, not only do the largest portion of the settlements stem from outside the legislative branch, the payouts appear (as the disclaimer provides) primarily driven by: •overtime pay disputes; •FMLA (sick pay, leave, etc) challenges; •and possible settlements related to ADA compliance issues (handicapped access etc).
The “largest portion” of the settlements has nothing to do with sexual harassment or any other type of harassment, and doesn’t have anything to do with politicians in the House and Senate.
The “Congressional Harassment Settlement Story” is a manufactured narrative using false data.
Perhaps it’s a simple mistake by Laura Ingraham, or perhaps her research staff just provided a wrong interpretation of the data. Perhaps it’s a similar simple mistake by Reid Wilson.
Then again, it gets a little more difficult to give that much benefit of the doubt when the disclaimer is pretty clear; and there’s definitely a larger storyline being headlined right now that benefits from a, well, ‘misinterpreted‘ review.
You decide the motives there.