On December 21, 2018 a revolution took place in this country.
And nobody heard about it.
It was the day before the partial government shutdown, and that’s all anyone was talking about.
Unlike 10 days earlier when the revolution was getting plenty of media coverage.
On December 12, for example, the Washington Examiner reported that “a bipartisan agreement has been reached in the House and the Senate.”
That, in itself, should have captured everyone’s attention because, as everyone knows, our esteemed politicians rarely agree on anything.
The agreement – a bill – was intended to modify the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 and would, among other stipulations, hold “lawmakers liable for harassment and retaliation settlements.”
This was truly revolutionary, because ever since the Congressional Reform Act was passed, the law required taxpayer dollars to fund these settlements.
That’s right. For nearly a quarter century we, the taxpayers, were on the hook for settlements stemming from Congressional inappropriate sexual conduct.
And not only that – the law allowed for the settlements, and the names of the accused Congress members, to be kept secret.
How many offenders? How many tax dollars?
We’ll never know.
One of the rare exceptions is Blake Farenthold, a Republican Representative from Texas. He was accused of sexual harassment, and the matter was settled out of court for $84,000. That was our tax dollars, and Farenthold promised to repay it. Then he abruptly resigned in April 2018 without repaying us, and to this day has not done so.
But if the Reform Act passed, the members of Congress would pay their own settlements.
And, by law, we’d learn who, when and how much.
The revolution began the day before the partial government shutdown.
On December 21, S.3749 – the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act – became law:
Try as I might, I cannot find any media outlet that covered this revolution.
Because of this:
And when I say “try,” I googled “S.3749 – Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act” and “Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act becomes law” and scrolled through the first four pages for each.
Nothing from the media.
So it gives me the greatest of pleasure to share with you the full first page at congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/3749, followed by an easier-to-understand one-page summary from Crowell & Moring, and international law firm based in Washington DC: