Susan W Brooks

Post-#MeToo, Stalled Careers, Alienation Still Haunt Sexual Harassment Victims
Lawmakers say they are aware of challenges

Marion Brown, whose $27,000 sexual harassment settlement prompted the resignation of former Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr., wants to stay active in the #MeToo movement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Shortly after Marion Brown’s account of sexual harassment toppled a powerful congressman last fall, she returned to Washington on a frigid afternoon to ask for support from the lawmakers who had lauded her as a hero.

Wearing a smartly tilted fur cap, she left her business cards with aides who, to her, looked two generations her junior. She hoped for a reference, a lead on a new job, a bit of advice. She left the Capitol feeling disappointed, although lawmakers told Roll Call they want to do all they can to help.

Senate Clears Bill to Protect Young Athletes From Sexual Abuse
Measure hailed by former Olympic gymnasts heads to President Donald Trump

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., hugs Olympic gymnast Jamie Dantzscher as Rep. Susan W. Brooks, R-Ind., speaks with Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu, right, at the end of the press conference on legislation to prevent future abuse of young athletes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate cleared by voice vote on Tuesday legislation that would impose new reporting requirements on a wide variety of amateur sports, including gymnastics.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein joined former Olympic gymnasts and a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers at an event earlier in the day to celebrate the anticipated Senate action.

Congress Closes In on New Rules for Olympic and Amateur Sports, Including USA Gymnastics
Feinstein wants House to call up and pass her bill to require reporting of alleged sexual misconduct

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants the House to pass the Senate’s bill without further amendment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is close to finalizing legislation that imposes new requirements on amateur and Olympic sports organizations to report suspected sexual abuse, something that would coincide with increased public pressure to address scandal within the Olympic community.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement that the chamber planned to take up a final bill Monday.

Critics Point to Problems With Sexual Harassment Bill
Measure is intended to create more protections for Hill staffers

People rally against sexual harassment outside Trump International Hotel on Dec. 9 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images file photo)

A bipartisan measure meant to increase protections for congressional employees who complain of sexual harassment and other workplace discrimination could make the process more cumbersome and less transparent, experts on employment law and advocates for victims and government transparency said this week.

Critics agree that the 23-year-old Congressional Accountability Act is long overdue for reform. But they said this one — expected to get broad support when it comes before the House as early as next week — could introduce more problems than it solves, possibly because it was compiled in a rush to respond to the #MeToo movement and the resulting wave of sexual harassment allegations in American institutions.

Opinion: Women Played a Key Role in Harassment Bill
In the #MeToo era, some lawmakers may be scurrying for cover

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., describes legislation aimed at helping victims of harassment on the Hill as “some of the most important work” she’ll ever do in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When people talk about women running for office, we hear a lot about numbers. X-number of women are running. Women make up y-percent of Congress or elected officials. When x and y are equal, then we’ll finally see a difference in our government.

But beyond the numbers, if you really want to see the difference it makes to have women from both parties at the table when legislation is drafted, look no further than the bill introduced last week to finally begin to change the way sexual harassment has been dealt with in Capitol Hill offices since the Congressional Accountability Act passed in 1995.

Bill Aimed at Combating Sexual Harassment Unveiled
Legislation would make process more transparent

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock said in December that a bill aimed at combating sexual harassment on the Hill would put victims on “a level playing field.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:21 p.m. | A sweeping bill aimed at combating sexual harassment on Capitol Hill was introduced Thursday by House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper. The Mississippi Republican said he hopes the measure will be expedited through the chamber.

Lawmakers say the the bill will make the reporting, resolution and settlement process more transparent, while also protecting victims’ identities and providing options for House employees who come forward.

Kihuen Harassment Accuser Not Contacted By House Ethics Investigation
Nevada Democratic rep retiring at end of term over allegations

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., has said he welcomes the Ethics investigation into claims of sexual misconduct against him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The woman accusing Rep. Ruben Kihuen of repeated instances of sexual harassment said she has not been contacted directly by the House Ethics Committee regarding its probe into the Nevada Democrat’s behavior.

The woman, Kihuen’s 25-year-old campaign finance director in 2016, accused him of repeated unwanted sexual advances that included physical contact, prompting the investigation.

Opinion: The Real Year of the Woman
Female lawmakers are playing outsize role in sexual harassment debate

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., resigned after he reportedly suggested that a female staffer carry his child for $5 million and then retaliated against her when she balked. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It takes a special kind of depravity for a congressman to suggest to a female staffer that she carry his child for $5 million and then retaliate against her when she declines the offer, as former Rep. Trent Franks reportedly did last year.

Nobody is winning a profile in courage award for asking female staff members to cuddle with him in his apartment and then firing them after they refuse, as former Rep. John Conyers Jr. was accused of doing before he resigned in disgrace. And you’d think that voters would somehow weed out a senator who apparently had a groping habit before he was ever in politics, but former Sen. Al Franken proved that conventional wisdom wrong.

Ethics Committee Closes Book on Devin Nunes
Panel clears Intelligence Committee chairman of claims of unauthorized disclosures

The House Ethics Committee has cleared House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., of charges of unauthorized disclosures of classified information. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee on Thursday announced it has closed an investigation into Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, clearing him of claims that he made unauthorized disclosures of classified information.

“The committee does not determine whether information is or is not classified ... [so it] sought the analysis of Representative Nunes’s statements by classification experts in the intelligence community,” Ethics Chairwoman Susan W. Brooks and ranking member Ted Deutch said in a statement. “Based solely on the conclusion of these classification experts that the information that Rep. Nunes disclosed was not classified, the committee will take no further action and consider this matter closed.”

Ethics Committee Expands Investigation Into Farenthold
Texas Republican accused of sexual harassment, retaliation

Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold is facing an inquiry by the House Ethics Investigative Subcommittee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics committee announced Thursday it unanimously voted to establish a subcommittee to build on its investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold.

So far, the panel has reviewed more than 200,000 pages and interviewed multiple witnesses, according to a statement released by Ethics Chairwoman Susan W. Brooks of Indiana and ranking member Ted Deutch of Florida.