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Rep. Chris Stewart introduces bill to disclose Capitol Hill sexual harassment settlements

_FILE - Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) speaks at a town hall meeting at Richfield High School in Richfield on Friday, May 12, 2017._
_FILE - Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) speaks at a town hall meeting at Richfield High School in Richfield on Friday, May 12, 2017._
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., introduced legislation Wednesday that allows sexual harassment victims on Capitol Hill to release the names of their perpetrators and taxpayer-funded financial settlements.

Victims currently must sign a nondisclosure agreement as part of the settlement process through the Office of Compliance. The legislation would remove the requirement, giving victims the option to speak publicly.

In the wake of recent high-profile sexual harassment allegations, Stewart last week called for the release of the names of all members of Congress accused of that kind of behavior.

"Victims of sexual misconduct deserve a voice, and the American people deserve the utmost level of transparency," he said.

Bonamici said nondisclosure agreements create a dangerous culture of secrecy and silence.

"Victims should not be required to sign away their rights in exchange for justice," she said.

The compliance office oversees the House, the Senate, Capitol Police, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, the Office of the Attending Physician, the Office of the Congressional Accessibility Services, and employees working in district or state offices as well as those in Washington, D.C.