California taxpayers have paid out over half a million dollars over the last decade covering the costs of bad behavior by their elected officials.
Settlements in lawsuits involving the California lawmakers who were accused of misconduct have cost over $600,000 according to documents obtained by KCRA. And in the state senate alone, monetary settlements were reached and money given to victims of sexual harassment, racial discrimination, age discrimination and other complaints.
That figure does not include the $100,000 settlement given to Nancy Kathleen Finnigan earlier this year after she alleged claims of harassment, discrimination and retaliation by her boss, former Assemblyman Steve Fox, The Sacramento Bee reported.
“I think the taxpayers would be outraged by this,” John Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association told KCRA. “There’s no reason the taxpayers should be on the hook for this kind of bad behavior.”
Many of the settlements included confidentiality clauses which prevent victims from speaking out about how much they received .
Law professor Leslie Jacobs told the news channel that capitol employees and the public could benefit from more disclosure from the government.
“Certainly from a transparency standpoint, it troubles me a lot,” she said.
The California State Senate announced new reforms designed to fight sexual harassment within the Capitol, according to KCRA.
“It’s really about changing the culture,” Democrat and Senate President Kevin de Leon said Thursday.
“Over the past weeks and months, the Senate has been working to change,” de Leon said as he also announced that victims of sexual harassment by lawmakers at the state Capitol can now meet confidentially with WEAVE – Women Escaping A Violent Environment – Sacramento’s rape crisis counseling center.
Two law firms were hired as well to independently investigate any complaints against lawmakers, including allegations of harassment against Sen. Tony Mendoza who has refused to take a leave of absence while the probe is ongoing.
“I have spoken with Sen. Mendoza and have asked him to take a leave of absence,” de Leon said Thursday.
A resolution to expel the Democrat from the California Senate was announced by Republican Sen. Andy Vidak on Thursday.
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