According to a former top staffer of Democratic Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, she was given a severance package because she threatened a lawsuit claiming the Arizona Democrat was frequently drunk and created a hostile workplace environment.
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva quietly arranged a “severance package” in 2015 for one of his top staffers who threatened a lawsuit claiming the Arizona Democrat was frequently drunk and created a hostile workplace environment, revealing yet another way that lawmakers can use taxpayer dollars to hide their misbehavior on Capitol Hill.
While the Office of Compliance has been the focus of outrage on Capitol Hill for hush-money payouts in sexual harassment cases, the Grijalva payout points to another office that lawmakers can use to sweep accusations under the rug with taxpayer-funded settlements negotiated by the House Employment Counsel, which acts as the attorney for all House offices.
The employment counsel negotiated a deal for taxpayers to give $48,395 — five additional months’ salary — to the female aide, who left her job after three months. She didn’t pursue the hostile workplace complaint further.
This obviously is a misuse of Tax Payer funds.
The arrangement appears to run contrary to House rules that constrain severance packages, and it caught the eye of watchdogs who were already demanding answers about payouts in the wake of harassment complaints.
“It seems like all of these House bodies are designed to help cover for members of Congress,” said Melanie Sloan, an ethics lawyer in Washington. “A large part of the problem is that each member of Congress can treat their staff as their own fiefdom and also know that it will remain silent.”
In the case of Mr. Grijalva, the senior employee left after three months on the job. Her position was filled immediately by another worker, and her email and cellphone were deactivated.
This might be the beginning of something bigger. I can assure you that Rep. Raul M. Grijalva is not the only Congressman who has used Tax Payer funds to cover up his wrongdoing and it is truly sickening.