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Congress paid out $115,000 in sexual harassment claims from 2008 - 2012

Between the years of 2008 - 2012, three cases involving sexual harassment in offices of members of Congress were quietly settled and paid out a total of $115,000 in taxpayers' money in settlements, the House disclosed Tuesday. House Administration Committee Chairman Gregg Harper, R-Miss., made the revelation, after he received information on settlement and awards statistics from the Office of Compliance. 

This was part of his request from OOC for a breakdown of the $17 million total that has been paid by the congressional Office of Compliance account to settle the claims. Of the 15 claims in that time period listed by the office, three involve sexual harassment. Those claims were settled for $85,000, $10,000 and $20,000. 

Earlier this month, CBS News confirmed that Rep. Blake Farenthold was the only sitting House member since 2013 to have used the account. An $84,000 claim against him was paid from the congressional Office of Compliance account. According to Politico, Farenthold's communications director had sued him in 2014 over allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and creating a hostile work environment. After his name was reported, Farenthold said he would pay the money back and he also announced he would retire from Congress.

Since he took over as chairman of the panel in January, Harper has said he has not seen a "single settlement" come to his desk. Of the 260 claims totaling $17 million since the Accountability Act in 1997, the payouts include a large numbers of anthrax claims from 2002 and asbestos claims from 2007.  

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