Women in Congress ‘given spot bonuses’ for their looks

The Daily Telegraph - - World news - By Ben Ri­ley-smith US EDI­TOR

THE US Congress is the lat­est body to be hit by sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions af­ter claims male politi­cians gave spot bonuses to women they considered at­trac­tive and were lech­er­ous in lifts.

Dozens of women have spo­ken anony­mously to The New York Times and the broad­caster CNN about their ex­pe­ri­ences in Amer­ica’s law-mak­ing body. One said she was told by her boss how “hot” she was look­ing, but when she com­plained about the com­ment no ac­tion was taken.

An­other claimed she was made to “twirl” in a dress by a con­gress­man and was later given an un­ex­pected $1,250 (£950) bonus. A third de­scribed how a sit­ting sen­a­tor – who was not named – stroked the inside of her hand in the politi­cians-only lifts in Congress just mo­ments af­ter meet­ing.

There were also al­le­ga­tions that a se­nior se­nate staff mem­ber tugged on a ju­nior aide’s dress and asked why she was “hold­ing out” at a bar. The two re­ports were based on con­ver­sa­tions with dozens of women about their ex­pe­ri­ences inside Congress.

It adds to the firestorm of al­le­ga­tions sweep­ing through the worlds of act­ing, mod­el­ling, me­dia and pol­i­tics af­ter claims of sex­ual abuse against Har­vey We­in­stein, the Hol­ly­wood mogul.

There is even said to be a “creep list” of al­le­ga­tions against US politi­cians and aides cir­cu­lat­ing that is sim­i­lar to the MPS list shared around West­min­ster.

An open let­ter from 1,500 for­mer con­gres­sional aides has called for manda­tory ha­rass­ment train­ing and re­form of the com­plaints pro­ce­dure.

Paul Ryan, the most se­nior mem­ber of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, last night said that con­gress­men would be re­quired to get train­ing to pre­vent sex­ual ha­rass­ment in fu­ture.

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