Gregg Harper

Exclusive: Taxpayers Paid $220K to Settle Case Involving Rep. Alcee Hastings
Former commission staffer alleged sexual harassment by Florida Democrat

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings was accused of sexual misconduct by a former staff member of the Helsinki Commission. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Treasury Department paid $220,000 in a previously undisclosed agreement to settle a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment that involved Florida Democrat Alcee L. Hastings, according to documents obtained by Roll Call.

Winsome Packer, a former staff member of a congressional commission that promotes international human rights, said in documents that the congressman touched her, made unwanted sexual advances, and threatened her job. At the time, Hastings was the chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, where Packer worked.

Proposed Measure Would Prevent Harassment Settlements Using Office Funds
Conyers revelations came from documents suggesting he paid a settlement with Hill account

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Legislation introduced Friday would prevent sexual harassment and misconduct settlements from being paid out of members’ office budgets.

The measure introduced by GOP Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana comes after sexual misconduct allegations against Rep. John Conyers were first brought to light through documents related to a wrongful dismissal complaint he settled with a former employee who had claimed she was fired for rejecting Conyer’s sexual advances. The employee, Marion Brown, was paid $27,000 in wages from Conyer’s office budget after being fired.

Office of Compliance Releases Settlement Money Details

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., head the House Administration Committee, which released information about its settlement payouts on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Office of Compliance’s Awards and Settlement Fund has paid out $359,450 since fiscal 2013 to address six claims made against House-member led offices, $84,000 of which was for a sexual harassment claim, according to data released Friday by the House Administration Committee.

The OOC did not name any parties in the settlements, but Politico reported the $84,000 sexual harassment settlement was for a claim against Texas GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold.

Following Senate, House Mandates Sexual Harassment Training
Bipartisan measure comes after allegations against Conyers, Franken

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., and Vice Chairwoman Linda T. Sanchez, D-Calif., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center after a conference meeting Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Wednesday adopted by voice vote a resolution that would require all House employees — including all members — to be trained annually on workplace harassment and discrimination.

The bipartisan measure comes on the heels of allegations against Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the longest serving member in Congress, and Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota. As those cases work through the congressional ethics process, there’s a renewed focus on how sexual harassment can be reported on Capitol Hill.

Sexual Harassment Reckoning Roils Capitol
As Conyers flies home, leaders face uncomfortable questions

Rep. John Conyers Jr. is facing calls for his resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The nationwide reckoning over sexual harassment claims continues to reverberate in the Capitol, as congressional leaders field uncomfortable questions about everyone from the Dean of the House to the president of the United States.

“Right now, we’re working on making sure this place works right,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan said at a Wednesday morning press conference when asked if members should be more vocal about sexual harassment claims made against President Donald Trump. 

Reps. Stivers, Harper and Carter Come Out on Top in House GOP Digital Challenge
Members lead most people to a website promoting the GOP’s vision for a tax overhaul

Rep. Steve Stivers has his pick of prizes after winning the GOP Digital Challenge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three House Republicans — Steve Stivers of Ohio, Gregg Harper of Mississippi and Earl L. “Buddy” Carter of Georgia — proudly accepted first, second and third prizes, respectively, for participating in the party’s Digital Challenge.

Every member of the conference had until Oct. 2 to drive traffic to a website promoting the GOP’s vision for a tax overhaul, fairandsimple.gop. Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who has led eight of these challenges, decided to make the landing page the home of the GOP’s framework for fixing the tax code.

Wicker Renews Call to Remove Confederate Emblem From Mississippi Flag
GOP senator condemns use of state flag as a ‘symbol of white supremacy’

Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker has reiterated his call to remove the Confederate battle emblem from his state’s flag. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the wake of racial violence over the weekend in Virginia, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi renewed his call Monday to remove the Confederate battle emblem from his state’s flag.

The Republican senator advocated the change in light of the fact that an altered version of the Mississippi flag was displayed Saturday during the neo-Nazi rally in the central Virginia city of Charlottesville, The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger reported.

Congress Still Grappling With Cybersecurity Concerns
Experts say networks on Capitol Hill lag in basic protections

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, seen here at a 2015 #Hack4Congress event at Google’s offices in Washington, is one of several lawmakers who have pushed for improved security for congressional computer networks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers and their staffs have been aware for years that their internet communications could be prime targets for both foreign and domestic spies.

But after last year’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee by Russian operatives, many are reassessing security protocols that once seemed sufficient — even overbearing — and finding them lacking.

Security Boost in House Legislative Branch Bill Approved
More funding for Capitol Police and sergeant-at-arms, among others

Capitol Police would get a boost from the Legislative Branch spending bill being considered in the House. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

House appropriators have approved a fiscal 2018 Legislative Branch spending bill that would boost security both at the Capitol and in members’ districts.

The House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee at a brief meeting on Friday approved by voice vote the $3.58 billion fiscal 2018 Legislative Branch measure. No amendments were offered.

House Republicans Bolster Member Security Funding
Funding will extend to lawmakers’ districts

Members will get a boost in security as part of a deal reached between appropriators and the House Administration Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)