Two US congressmen currently in office have sexually harassed female colleagues or staffers, Congresswoman Jackie Speier has revealed.
The revelations came at a hearing of the House of Representatives held on Tuesday to discuss how it handles misconduct.
“I have had numerous meetings with phone calls with staffers, both present and former, women and men who have been subjected to this inexcusable and often illegal behavior,” said Speier, a Democrat from California.
“There are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, right now who serve who have been subject to review or not have been subject to review but have engaged in sexual harassment,” added Speier before the House Administration Committee.
Speier had already introduced legislation that would require lawmakers and their staff to receive sexual harassment awareness training.
She is also drafting a bill which aims to reform the sexual harassment complaint filing processes within the Office of Compliance.
Her testimony coincided with the release of a report by CNN in which over 50 lawmakers, aides and Washington veterans described a climate of “constant harassment — both subtle and explicit” on Capitol Hill.
It is “a sort of old school, Wild West workplace culture that has a lot of ‘work hard, play hard’ ethos and without the sort of standard professionalism that you find in more traditional workplaces,” one Senate aide said.
In the report, there was also a “creep list” mentioning a California congressman independently identified by more than six people as someone who had pursued female staffers.
This comes after an explosive report by The New York Times earlier this month that alleged a history of abusive behavior by film producer Harvey Weinstein dating back decades.
An avalanche of claims has surfaced since the publication of that report.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan issued a statement, calling for mandated training in the lower chamber.
“Going forward, the House will adopt a policy of mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all members and staff,” Ryan said.
Nearly half of all employed women in the United States say they have received an unwelcome sexual advance or other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature at work, according to a poll released earlier this month by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal.
Two-thirds of Americans, 67 percent, believe that sexual harassment happens in most or almost all places of works, the poll found.