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Info Wars host, Mike Cernovich claims, via a recent Change.org petition that Congress has sealed settled sexual harassment lawsuits from the public record?

What if I told you that Congressmen settled over 250 sexual harassment lawsuits using taxpayer money, and there was no way to find out who these Congressmen were? Would you believe me?

The truth is that the situation is as described in the question. For decades members of Congress would use your taxpayer dollars to buy their way out of bad publicity. (Read, She Said A Powerful Congressman Harassed Her. Here’s Why You Didn’t Hear Her Story.)

When a member of Congress was accused of sexual harassment, the case went to a secret court known as the Office of Compliance. Hidden from public view, Congress's Office of Compliance paid out over $17 million for 264 settlements involving misconduct and sexual harassment. (Read, Over the past 20 Years, Congress has paid out $17.2 million in settlements.)

Is this true?

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Cernovich's sources do not support the extent of his claims.

When he says:

Congressmen settled over 250 sexual harassment lawsuits

and

Hidden from public view, Congress's Office of Compliance paid out over $17 million for 264 settlements involving misconduct and sexual harassment.

he means there were 264 settlements, and some unknown proportion of those involved sexual harassment.

This comes from his own Washington Post source:

Details of the settlements are kept private by design. Our Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Elise Viebeck explained last month that those levying accusations of harassment must go through extensive mediation and counseling. When a settlement is paid from the designated Treasury account, it is confidential.

To the point: We don’t know how many of the settlements above were related to sexual harassment, or how much those cost. We do know, though, that a broad variety of violations over the past 20 years have cost $17.2 million in taxpayer money.

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