12/02 Paulsen Correspondence Corner : Playing the Stras Dogwhistle and Downplaying Women’s Rights

Erik Paulsen regularly issues a video Correspondence Corner in which he responds to constituent questions.
It is a great ploy — Congressman Paulsen determines what question is to be answered … thus, providing him an opportunity to portray himself as effectively responding to issues that he wishes to address as if they are the most critical issues that voters want addressed.
The MN Political Roundtable will be evaluating Congressman Paulsen’s responses and encouraging readers to offer their own assessments.

Today’s topic: H.Res.630 – Requiring each Member, officer, and employee of the House of Representatives to complete a program of training in workplace rights and responsibilities each session of each Congress, and for other purposes.


In this week’s Correspondence Corner, Erik Paulsen receives a question from Josie in Plymouth about the House of Representatives’ mandatory anti-sexual harassment training … but first, he uses his political dog whistle promoting that his nomination of David Stras to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit was progressing in the Senate Judiciary Committee … still no vote yet, but a hearing was held.
Ya gotta think that many Third District constituents don’t know why Justice Stras is important but, it’s part of the Koch Brothers playbook and a trigger for Congressman Paulsen to seek more campaign checks to pad the Paulsen re-election campaign coffers.

Now, back to the first question … in which Josie asked Congressman Paulsen’s position on women’s rights and sexual misconduct.

Not a surprise that Congressman Paulsen ignored the “women’s rights” question — after all in his first term, he voted against Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and has failed to sponsor H.J.Res.53 for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, H.R.1869 – Paycheck Fairness Act, H.R.2418 – Pay Equity for All Act of 2017, et al.

After a firm statement embracing a “zero tolerance” position on sexual harassment in the workplace, the “Paulsen Spin” takes over.

There is no doubt that there is a problem … and it is not a new problem.
For example, the Office of Compliance said in 2012, it received 83 complaints concerning harassment … some of those resulted in financial settlements … and although 2017 is not complete, already this year, taxpayers have footed the bill for $934,754.

The “Paulsen Spin” is that the House –via voice vote with no objections– approved House Resolution 630 (requiring each Member, officer, and employee of the House of Representatives to complete a program of training in workplace rights and responsibilities each session of each Congress).

Fun Fact — did you know that this has been offered before in previous sessions of Congress — House Resolution 548— but it did not garner Congressman Paulsen’s sponsorship nor action by the House.

Is HRes 630 good enough ?

Nah, it’s not.

Other Members of the House are pushing legislation with a little more teeth.
Reps. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), Ryan Costello (R-PA) Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) introduced the so-called ME TOO Congress Act, H.R. 4396 [Member and Employee Training and Oversight On Congress Act], which would set definitive criteria to address sexual harassment in all national legislative branch offices.

“It is very unfortunate that it has taken this long to shine a light on just how opaque, how confusing it is to go about accessing the right set of tools in order to file a complaint,”
said Congressman Costello. “The federal government should be a leader on this. This bill is long overdue.”
“Zero tolerance is meaningless unless it is backed up with enforcement and accountability,” said Congresswoman Speier.

ME Too Act has some teeth.
Congressman Paulsen has not sponsored HR 4396 but 14 Republicans and 80 Democrats have.

There is also HR 4494, the Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act which would take the taxpayer off the financial hook for these settlements.
Congressman Paulsen has not sponsored HR 4494 but 44 Republicans and 22 Democrats have.

Others are doing more … but the Third District is just getting more “Paulsen Spin”

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