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                                                 House Calendar No. 194
_______________________________________________________________________

 115th Congress }                                            { Report 
                            HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
  2d Session    }                                            { 115-1042
_______________________________________________________________________

                      IN THE MATTER OF ALLEGATIONS

                       RELATING TO REPRESENTATIVE

                              MARK MEADOWS

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                          COMMITTEE ON ETHICS


                [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


    November 20, 2018.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered 
                             to be printed
                             
                              __________
                              
                  U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE
              
89-006                     WASHINGTON: 2018
                              
                              
                              
                             
                             
                          COMMITTEE ON ETHICS

SUSAN W. BROOKS, Indiana             THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
  Chairwoman                           Ranking Member
KENNY MARCHANT, Texas                YVETTE D. CLARKE, New York
LEONARD LANCE, New Jersey            JARED POLIS, Colorado
MIMI WALTERS, California             ANTHONY BROWN, Maryland
JOHN RATCLIFFE, Texas                STEVE COHEN, Tennessee

                              REPORT STAFF

              Thomas A. Rust, Chief Counsel/Staff Director
             Brittney Pescatore, Director of Investigations
               Megan H. Savage, Counsel to the Chairwoman
            Daniel J. Taylor, Counsel to the Ranking Member

                Kathryn Lefeber Donahue, Senior Counsel
                        C. Ezekiel Ross, Counsel
                     Molly N. McCarty, Investigator
                   Mark Hamilton, Investigative Clerk
                   
                   
                   
                   
                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                          House of Representatives,
                                       Committee on Ethics,
                                 Washington, DC, November 16, 2018.
Hon. Karen L. Haas,
Clerk, House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.
    Dear Ms. Haas: Pursuant to clauses 3(a)(2) and 3(b) of Rule 
XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, we herewith 
transmit the attached report, ``In the Matter of Allegations 
Relating to Representative Mark Meadows.''
            Sincerely,
                                   Susan W. Brooks,
                                           Chairwoman.
                                   Theodore E. Deutch,
                                           Ranking Member.
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                            C O N T E N T S

                              ----------                              

  I. INTRODUCTION.....................................................1
 II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY...............................................4
III. HOUSE RULES, LAWS, REGULATIONS, AND OTHER STANDARDS OF CONDUCT...5
            A. Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment..........     5
            B. Payment of Compensation and Severance to House 
                Employees........................................     6
 IV. BACKGROUND.......................................................7
            A. Representative Meadows' Relationship with Mr. West     7
            B. Allegations that Mr. West Acted Inappropriately 
                toward Female Employees in Representative 
                Meadows' Offices.................................     8
                1. Unwanted touching.............................     8
                2. Inappropriate staring.........................     9
                3. Unprofessional comments about female 
                    employees' appearances.......................     9
            C. Representative Meadows becomes Aware of the 
                Alleged Inappropriate Behavior...................    10
                1. Representative Meadows' awareness before 
                    October 2014.................................    10
                2. October 2014 allegations of inappropriate 
                    behavior.....................................    11
            D. Reactions to Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior    13
            E. Corrective Measures Representative Meadows Took 
                regarding the Allegations of Inappropriate 
                Behavior.........................................    14
            F. Representative Meadows Requests an Independent 
                Investigation....................................    15
            G. Mr. West's Work and Responsibilities Following the 
                Independent Investigation and Recommendation to 
                Terminate Him....................................    17
            H. Staff's Understanding of Mr. West's Work and 
                Responsibilities Following the Independent 
                Investigation....................................    17
            I. Mr. West's Failure to Comply with Restrictions to 
                Protect Female Staff.............................    18
            J. Representative Gowdy and the Speaker's Office 
                Advise Representative Meadows to Terminate Mr. 
                West.............................................    19
            K. Mr. West becomes Senior Advisor...................    20
            L. Mr. West Resigns and is Paid Severance............    21
            M. Speculation About the Hiring and Delayed 
                Termination of Mr. West..........................    22
  V. FINDINGS........................................................22
            A. Mr. West's Behavior...............................    23
            B. Representative Meadows' Response to Mr. West's 
                Behavior.........................................    24
            C. Mr. West's Revised Duties, Compensation, and 
                Severance........................................    30
                1. House Rule XXIII, clause 8, and the 
                    Committee's guidance and precedent...........    30
                2. Representative Meadows' compensation of Mr. 
                    West.........................................    33
            D. Repayment of Funds to the U.S. Treasury...........    36
            E. Representative Meadows' Conduct Merits Reproval by 
                the Committee....................................    37
 VI. CONCLUSION......................................................38
VII. STATEMENT UNDER HOUSE RULE XIII, CLAUSE 3(c)....................39
APPENDIX A: REPORT AND FINDINGS OF THE OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL 
  ETHICS (REVIEW NO. 15-1671)....................................    40
APPENDIX B: REPRESENTATIVE MEADOWS' SUBMISSIONS TO THE COMMITTEE 
  AND OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL ETHICS.............................   156
APPENDIX C: EXHIBITS TO THE COMMITTEE REPORT.....................   184
APPENDIX D: TIMELINE OF EVENTS...................................   272




                                                 House Calendar No. 194
                                                 
115th Congress }                                            { Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session    }                                            { 115-1042

======================================================================

 
  IN THE MATTER OF ALLEGATIONS RELATING TO REPRESENTATIVE MARK MEADOWS

                                _______
                                

 November 20, 2018.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

   Ms. Brooks, from the Committee on Ethics, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

    In accordance with House Rule XI, clauses 3(a)(2) and 3(b), 
the Committee on Ethics (Committee) hereby submits the 
following Report to the House of Representatives:

                            I. INTRODUCTION

    In the 114th Congress, the Committee began an investigation 
of allegations regarding Representative Mark Meadows. The 
Committee conducted a thorough review of these allegations. 
This Report explains the Committee's investigation and its 
conclusions.
    News reports in the fall of 2015 alleged that multiple 
female staffers in Representative Meadows' office had 
complained to him that they were sexually harassed by his then-
Chief of Staff, Kenny West. It was alleged that in response 
Representative Meadows changed Mr. West's title to Senior 
Advisor, but kept him on his official staff for months after 
learning of the allegations, when he may not have performed 
work commensurate with his rate of pay. Mr. West then resigned, 
but Representative Meadows continued to pay him at his full 
salary for another two months, and Mr. West also received 
official mileage reimbursement during that time period.
    On October 23, 2015, the Office of Congressional Ethics 
(OCE) began a preliminary review of allegations that 
Representative Meadows paid Mr. West when he did not perform 
duties commensurate with his official duties. On November 17, 
2015, Representative Meadows wrote to OCE and stated he 
intended to report the allegation to the Committee, and would 
decline to cooperate with OCE's review. The next day, 
Representative Meadows sent a letter to the then-Chairman and 
Ranking Member of the Committee requesting the Committee review 
his decision to continue paying his former Chief of Staff, 
Kenny West, from May 21, 2015, when Mr. West resigned from 
Representative Meadows' office, through August 15, 2015. 
Representative Meadows explained that he continued paying Mr. 
West for purposes of a smooth transition and as ``severance.'' 
He also stated that Mr. West engaged in ``legitimate official 
activity'' during that time period, including traveling to 
``constituent meetings on my behalf.'' Representative Meadows 
also said he declined to cooperate with a concurrent review of 
the severance payments by OCE, but would fully cooperate with 
the requested Committee review.
    On March 18, 2016, OCE transmitted a Report and Findings 
(OCE's Referral) regarding Representative Meadows to the 
Committee.\1\ OCE's Referral stated that, in October 2014, 
several female employees in Representative Meadows' 
congressional office made complaints to him of inappropriate 
behavior by Mr. West, including unwanted touching, 
inappropriate staring and unprofessional comments.\2\ Following 
those reports, Representative Meadows restricted Mr. West from 
his congressional offices and from contacting female employees. 
However, Mr. West remained in his position until April 2015 
when his title was changed to Senior Advisor. Despite the 
change in his title and loss of responsibilities to supervise 
Representative Meadows' congressional staff, the then-Senior 
Advisor continued to receive the same salary from the House of 
Representatives until August 15, 2015.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\See Report and Findings of the Office of Congressional Ethics 
(Review No. 15-1671) (Appendix A) (hereinafter OCE's Referral).
    \2\Id. at 6, OCE Interview of Witness B (OCE's Referral, Exhibit 3) 
at 9, OCE Interview of Witness C (OCE's Referral, Exhibit 4) at 5-6.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    OCE examined what official congressional work Mr. West 
performed after his title changed to Senior Advisor and, based 
on that review, found substantial reason to believe 
Representative Meadows retained an employee who did not perform 
duties commensurate with the compensation the employee 
received, and certified the compensation met applicable House 
standards, in violation of House rules and standards of 
conduct.\3\ OCE recommended the Committee conduct a further 
review of the allegations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\OCE's Referral at 6.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee did conduct a further review of the 
allegations in OCE's Referral. On August 17, 2016, the 
Committee published OCE's Referral and a response from 
Representative Meadows, and publicly announced the Committee 
would investigate the matter under Committee Rule 18(a). The 
Committee considered whether Representative Meadows violated 
any House rule or other standard of conduct when he paid Mr. 
West his full salary when Mr. West (1) was restricted from the 
congressional offices and from contacting female employees; (2) 
lost his supervisory responsibilities and became Senior 
Advisor; and (3) was paid his full salary for two months as 
``severance.'' The Committee also considered whether 
Representative Meadows violated any House rule or other 
standard of conduct in connection with the allegations that Mr. 
West engaged in inappropriate behavior and/or sexual harassment 
in his office.
    As discussed more fully below, it was generally within 
Representative Meadows' discretion as the employing Member to 
change the terms and conditions of Mr. West's employment. 
However, clause 8 of the Code of Official Conduct provides that 
Members may not retain an employee who does not perform duties 
for the employing office commensurate with the compensation the 
employee receives. When Mr. West was demoted to Senior Advisor, 
his pay remained the same but the Committee found little 
evidence of official work that he completed during that time. 
Thus, the Committee found that his duties as Senior Advisor 
were not commensurate with his pay.
    With respect to the payment of severance, the Committee 
acknowledges that there was little and inconsistent guidance on 
severance payments available to the House community at the time 
Representative Meadows paid severance to Mr. West. That said, 
after Mr. West ended his duties for the congressional office, 
Representative Meadows continued to pay his salary for two 
months. Representative Meadows sought no guidance on whether 
such payments were permissible and did not obtain anything of 
discernible value in exchange for those official funds, such as 
a release of legal claims. Accordingly, the Committee found 
that Representative Meadows' payment of severance to Mr. West 
ran afoul of clause 8.
    In addition to further reviewing the compensation-related 
issues in OCE's Referral, the Committee considered (1) when 
Representative Meadows learned about Mr. West's inappropriate 
behavior; and (2) whether Representative Meadows exercised 
reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct Mr. West's 
inappropriate behavior after he learned about it. Based on the 
evidentiary record, the Committee found that Representative 
Meadows did not know about Mr. West's inappropriate conduct 
until October 2014, when several of his female staff made 
complaints about Mr. West's behavior to him. The Committee also 
found that, once Representative Meadows became aware of Mr. 
West's behavior, he should have done more to address that 
behavior and prevent it from occurring again in the future. 
While Representative Meadows took some important immediate 
steps--restricting Mr. West from the congressional offices and 
prohibiting him from contacting most of the female employees--
those steps were essentially all he did to prevent and correct 
the alleged sexual harassment for nearly six months.
    Soon after he received the complaints, Representative 
Meadows arranged for an independent investigation into the 
allegations instead of contacting the Committee, the Office of 
House Employment Counsel (OHEC), or the Office of Compliance 
(OOC). After that independent review was complete, he ignored 
its findings and the recommendation by the independent 
investigator to terminate Mr. West's employment. In the months 
that followed, Mr. West retained his title, full salary and 
supervisory responsibilities over all of the congressional 
staff. Representative Meadows kept Mr. West in his position 
even after Mr. West failed to abide by the restrictions 
Representative Meadows put in place to separate him from the 
female staff. In fact, another Member approached Representative 
Meadows on the House Floor to inform him that his remedial 
measures had not worked, and yet, Representative Meadows kept 
Mr. West as Chief of Staff. It was not until the Speaker's 
office became involved that Representative Meadows removed Mr. 
West from his supervisory role in April 2015. Mr. West, 
however, was merely demoted to Senior Advisor, and continued to 
draw the same salary until August 15, 2015.
    As discussed further in this Report, the Committee's review 
found that Mr. West's behavior toward the female staff was 
inappropriate in every sense of the word. The Committee found 
the witnesses who described Mr. West's conduct to be credible 
and their testimony was consistent. There is no place in any 
congressional office for looking up skirts, or down shirts; 
staring at a woman's chest; unwanted touching; or making sexual 
comments, even if subtle or in jest. The fact that Mr. West 
supervised the women he did these things to makes his behavior 
even more unacceptable. Just as between Members and their 
staff, a power imbalance exists between senior staff and junior 
staff in congressional offices. Those entrusted with 
supervisory responsibilities in the workplace must be sensitive 
to the potential for discrimination and for creating 
uncomfortable working conditions for staff.
    Mr. West is no longer a House employee and thus, is no 
longer subject to the House Rules that prohibit sexual 
harassment, nor to this Committee's jurisdiction. However, the 
Committee does not want to leave the impression that his 
behavior was appropriate in any way.
    The Committee found that at a minimum, Mr. West's actions 
violated the spirit of clause 9, because his actions were 
inappropriate and discriminatory, and would thus violate clause 
2 of the Code. The Committee also found that Mr. West's actions 
while employed by the House did not reflect creditably on 
Representative Meadows' office or the House as a whole, in 
violation of clause 1 of the Code. Such behavior has no place 
in the House of Representatives. The women that worked in 
Representative Meadows' office deserved much better. However, 
because Mr. West is no longer a House employee, the Committee 
does not have jurisdiction over him.
    Representative Meadows' failure to take prompt and decisive 
action to deal with the alleged sexual harassment in his 
congressional office was troubling to the Committee. The 
Committee found Representative Meadows violated House rules by 
failing to take appropriate steps to ensure that his House 
office was free from discrimination and any perception of 
discrimination.
    In addition, the Committee is concerned that Representative 
Meadows' ``solution'' to the sexual harassment allegations, to 
cut off all contact between Mr. West and most of his female 
employees, caused another potential problem. An environment 
where only male staff have access to the Chief of Staff risks 
unequal treatment of employees based solely on sex.
    Accordingly, the Committee unanimously voted to issue this 
Report, which will serve as a reproval of Representative 
Meadows' conduct, and to require Representative Meadows to 
reimburse the U.S. Treasury for the overpayment of Mr. West, in 
the amount of $40,625.02. Upon issuance of this Report and 
Representative Meadows' reimbursement to the Treasury, the 
Committee will consider this matter closed.

                         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

    OCE began a preliminary review on October 24, 2015. On 
November 17, 2015, Representative Meadows wrote to OCE and 
stated, ``I am choosing to forego the costly and burdensome 
process of participating in duplicate investigations, and 
instead will self-report to the Committee on Ethics and follow 
their instructions to resolve this matter.''\4\ On November 18, 
2015, Representative Meadows wrote to the Committee regarding 
``an allegation made against me for the manner in which I paid 
a member of my staff upon his termination.''\5\ Representative 
Meadows stated that the matter was currently the subject of a 
preliminary review by OCE, but that ``because I would like to 
save the cost and burden of duplicate inquiries, I have 
informed the OCE that I will not participate in their review, 
but will cooperate fully with your Committee in order to reach 
a resolution of these allegations.''\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Letter from Representative Meadows to Omar Ashmawy, Staff 
Director & Chief Counsel, OCE (Nov. 17, 2015) (Appendix B).
    \5\Letter from Representative Meadows to Chairman Charles W. Dent 
and Ranking Member Linda T. Sanchez, Committee on Ethics (Nov. 18, 
2015) (Appendix B).
    \6\Id. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On November 23, 2015, OCE began a second phase review. OCE 
extended its review an additional 14 days, until January 20, 
2016. OCE's Board voted to adopt findings in the matter on 
February 26, 2016. OCE transmitted its Referral in this matter 
to the Committee on March 18, 2016.
    Committee staff reviewed OCE's Referral, along with other 
documentary and testimonial evidence obtained by OCE. In 
addition, the Committee issued voluntary requests for 
information to Representative Meadows and 21 other individuals, 
including current and former members of Representative Meadows' 
official and campaign staff and others familiar with the 
allegations. The Committee also issued a subpoena for documents 
to a former member of Representative Meadows' campaign staff, 
and received and reviewed additional documents from that 
individual. In total, the Committee reviewed over 3,700 pages 
of materials. The Committee also interviewed 22 witnesses, 
including current and former members of Representative Meadows' 
official and campaign staff, others familiar with the 
allegations, another Member who was familiar with the 
allegations, and Representative Meadows. Representative Meadows 
fully cooperated with the Committee's investigation.
    Before its final vote on this matter, the Committee 
provided Representative Meadows with a copy of this Report on 
October 26, 2018, and an opportunity to address the full 
Committee in person or in writing. Representative Meadows 
declined the Committee's invitation to do so.

  III. HOUSE RULES, LAWS, REGULATIONS, AND OTHER STANDARDS OF CONDUCT


              A. SEX DISCRIMINATION AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT

    Sexual harassment and other forms of employment 
discrimination are prohibited in the House by both federal 
statute and House Rule. The Congressional Accountability Act 
(CAA),\7\ prohibits discrimination based on sex, including 
sexual harassment, and also prohibits intimidation, reprisal or 
other discrimination against a person for opposing sex 
discrimination. During the period under review, House Rule 
XXIII, clause 9, stated that ``[a] Member . . . may not 
discharge and may not refuse to hire an individual, or 
otherwise discriminate against an individual with respect to 
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, 
because of the race, color, religion, sex (including marital or 
parental status), disability, age, or national origin of such 
individual.'' The Committee has long held that a Member who 
violates applicable sex discrimination and sexual harassment 
laws also violates House Rule XXIII, clause 9.\8\ On February 
6, 2018, the House formally amended clause 9 to confirm that 
the prohibition includes ``committing an act of sexual 
harassment against such an individual.''\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\2 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 1311 et seq.
    \8\House Ethics Manual (2008) at 268-69 (hereinafter Ethics Manual) 
(citing House Comm. on Standards of Official Conduct, In the Matter of 
Representative Jim Bates, H. Rep. 101-293, 101st Cong., 1st Sess. 8-10 
(1989) (hereinafter Bates)).
    \9\H.R. Res. 724, 115th Cong. (2018). On February 6, 2018, the 
House passed H.R. 4924, the Congressional Accountability Act of 1994 
Reform Act. That legislation would make certain changes to the CAA. 
See, e.g., Statement of the Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the 
Committee on Ethics, (Feb. 6, 2018), https://ethics.house.gov/press-
release/statement-chairwoman-and-ranking-member-committee-ethics-0. On 
May 24, 2018, the Senate passed S. 2952, its version of legislation to 
reform the Congressional Accountability Act of 1994 Reform Act. The 
Senate's version was transmitted to the House on May 29, 2018. As of 
this time, no further action has been taken on either version of the 
Congressional Accountability Act of 1994 Reform Act.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The CAA created the OOC as a forum to administer disputes 
that arise under the CAA, including claims of gender 
discrimination and sexual harassment. The OOC's guidance 
defines sexual harassment as ``[u]nwelcome sexual advances, 
requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct 
of a sexual nature if the implication is that submission to 
such conduct is expected as part of the job.''\10\ Consistent 
with judicial interpretations of Title VII of the Civil Rights 
Act of 1964,\11\ the OOC has also recognized that harassment, 
including sexual harassment, can occur ``when there is 
unwelcome conduct, such as insults, slurs, or other verbal or 
physical conduct or activity regarding a protected trait,'' 
which ``creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work 
environment, that unreasonably interferes with an individual's 
work performance.''\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\Office of Compliance, CAA Handbook (2010) at 44, available at 
https://compliance.gov/sites/default/files/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/
CAA-Handbook.pdf.
    \11\42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e et seq.
    \12\Office of Compliance, [email protected] at 2 (2012), https://
www.compliance.gov/sites/default/files/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/
Newsletter-for-Staff.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination 
also implicate House Rule XXIII, clauses 1 and 2, which state 
that ``[a] Member . . . of the House shall behave at all times 
in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House,'' and 
``shall adhere to the spirit and the letter of the Rules of the 
House.''

      B. PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION AND SEVERANCE TO HOUSE EMPLOYEES

    House Rule XXIII, clause 8, states that ``[a] Member . . . 
of the House may not retain an employee who does not perform 
duties for the offices of the employing authority commensurate 
with the compensation such employee receives.'' Thus, a Member 
is responsible for ensuring that each employee the Member 
retains performs official work commensurate with that 
employee's pay. As the Ethics Manual states:

          The underlying standard for the receipt of 
        compensation by an employee of the House is that the 
        employee has regularly performed official duties 
        commensurate with the compensation received. The Code 
        of Ethics for Government Service instructs every 
        employee to `[g]ive a full day's labor for a full day's 
        pay; giving to the performance of his duties his best 
        effort and best thought.' Employees are paid United 
        States Treasury funds to perform public duties. 
        Appropriated funds are to be used solely for purposes 
        for which appropriated. Funds appropriated for 
        congressional staff to perform official duties should 
        be used only for assisting a Member in his or her 
        legislative and congressional functions.\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\Ethics Manual at 279.

    Notwithstanding these restrictions, the ``general terms, 
conditions, and specific duties of House employees 
traditionally have been within the discretion of the employing 
Member.''\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\Id. at 267; see also Members' Congressional Handbook, July 25, 
2018 at 4 (hereinafter Members' Handbook (2018)) (``the Member 
determines the terms and conditions of employment and service for their 
staff''); Exhibit 1 (Members' Handbook (2011)) at 3 (the Members' 
Handbook in effect at the time Mr. West was employed in Representative 
Meadows' office).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                             IV. BACKGROUND


         A. REPRESENTATIVE MEADOWS' RELATIONSHIP WITH MR. WEST

    Representative Mark Meadows represents the Eleventh 
District of North Carolina. He has been a Member of the House 
of Representatives since 2013. Representative Meadows first 
became acquainted with Mr. West before he was elected to 
Congress, when Mr. West was one of his opponents in the 2012 
Republican primary election.\15\ Representative Meadows hired 
Mr. West after he was elected to the House, and Mr. West became 
Chief of Staff when Representative Meadows was sworn into 
office on January 3, 2013.\16\ Before he joined Representative 
Meadows' congressional office, Mr. West sold insurance in North 
Carolina.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \16\Id.
    \17\18(a) Interview of Kenny West.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Representative Meadows told the Committee he hired Mr. West 
because he had good connections in rural areas of the District 
where Representative Meadows was less well known, and also 
because he wanted, ``someone who could do outreach in the 
district as a chief of staff.''\18\ After Representative 
Meadows hired Mr. West but before he was sworn into office, a 
campaign supporter and local business owner (hereinafter 
Campaign Supporter) told Representative Meadows that Mr. West 
had previously exhibited behavior in a professional setting 
that made females uncomfortable.\19\ That information was 
conveyed as a part of a larger conversation about the Campaign 
Supporter's displeasure with Representative Meadows' decision 
to hire Mr. West.\20\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \18\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \19\18(a) Interview of Witness P; 18(a) Interview of Representative 
Meadows. See also infra Section V.B.
    \20\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After Representative Meadows was sworn in, Mr. West began 
managing the congressional office from the district, but spent 
some of his time in Representative Meadows' Washington, D.C., 
office.\21\ He was responsible for supervising all of 
Representative Meadows' congressional employees and evaluating 
their performance.\22\ He also made recommendations to 
Representative Meadows related to hiring, firing, salaries and 
bonuses for all of the congressional employees.\23\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \21\Id.
    \22\Id.
    \23\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

   B. ALLEGATIONS THAT MR. WEST ACTED INAPPROPRIATELY TOWARD FEMALE 
              EMPLOYEES IN REPRESENTATIVE MEADOWS' OFFICES

    According to multiple witnesses, female employees in the 
Washington, D.C. and district offices began to feel 
uncomfortable with Mr. West's behavior toward them shortly 
after he became Chief of Staff in January 2013, and this 
discomfort persisted through October 2014.\24\ The individual 
who served as the Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of 
Staff (hereinafter D.C. Deputy Chief), a male employee who 
started in Representative Meadows' Washington, D.C., office in 
January 2013, said he heard as early as January or February 
2013 that Mr. West made female employees feel 
uncomfortable.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \24\See, e.g., 18(a) Interview of Employee A; 18(a) Interview of 
Employee G; 18(a) Interview of Employee B; 18(a) Interview of Employee 
D.
    \25\18(a) Interview of Employee J.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mr. West's alleged inappropriate behavior fell into three 
main categories: (1) unwanted touching, (2) inappropriate 
staring, and (3) unprofessional comments related to female 
employees' appearances.

1. Unwanted touching

    Six female employees told the Committee that they 
experienced unwanted touching by Mr. West on multiple occasions 
in the congressional office, and other employees, male and 
female alike, observed this behavior.\26\ One female employee 
described Mr. West as being very ``handsy.''\27\ Indeed, 
testimony shows Mr. West touched multiple female staff in ways 
that were not overtly sexual, but were nonetheless 
inappropriate. Mr. West placed his hands on the backs or 
shoulders of multiple female staff dozens of times,\28\ poked a 
female employee in the side at least a dozen times,\29\ grabbed 
a female employee's hand to look at her nail polish,\30\ and 
repeatedly touched the heads or hair of female staff, including 
scratching their heads and pulling on ponytails.\31\ One female 
employee said that Mr. West pulled her ponytail when he would 
walk by her desk, estimating that it occurred less than a dozen 
times, beginning in October 2013 shortly after she started in 
the congressional office.\32\ Another female staffer told OCE 
that she was warned when she started in the congressional 
office not to wear her hair in a ponytail because Mr. West 
liked to play with it.\33\ Mr. West's unwanted touching was 
also directed towards interns in the office. One female 
employee recounted a conversation that a female intern had with 
the entire Washington, D.C., staff at the end of her 
internship. She said, ``the typical question we would ask our 
interns is, what [were] your highs and lows? Her low was how 
uncomfortable Kenny made her feel and how he would always touch 
her hair.''\34\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \26\18(a) Interview of Employee A; 18(a) Interview of Employee B; 
18(a) Interview of Employee C; 18(a) Interview of Employee E; 18(a) 
Interview of Employee F; 18(a) Interview of Employee G; see also 18(a) 
Interview of Employee J; 18(a) Interview of Employee K.
    \27\18(a) Interview of Employee E.
    \28\18(a) Interview of Employee C; 18(a) Interview of Employee B; 
18(a) Interview of Employee K.
    \29\18(a) Interview of Employee B.
    \30\Exhibit 2.
    \31\18(a) Interview of Employee F; 18(a) Interview of Employee G. 
In an email produced to the Committee, dated November 12, 2013, two 
female employees who worked in the Washington, D.C. office discussed 
Mr. West touching their hair. One said Mr. West had an ``affinity for 
touching [her] hair.'' Exhibit 3.
    \32\18(a) Interview of Employee G.
    \33\OCE Interview of Witness B (OCE's Referral, Exhibit 3) at 6.
    \34\18(a) Interview of Employee D.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Inappropriate staring

    Many of Representative Meadows' congressional staff told 
the Committee that Mr. West stared at female employees 
inappropriately on a regular basis.\35\ Several female 
employees reported that Mr. West looked at their chests, down 
their blouses, or up their skirts. One female employee told the 
Committee, ``[m]ost people you talk to have eye contact. 
Kenny's eyes, if you're a woman, they're on your breast.''\36\ 
Multiple female employees expressed discomfort with Mr. West 
``hovering'' closely to them, invading their personal 
space.\37\ One female employee told the Committee that she 
moved to a standing desk to avoid Mr. West's ``hovering.''\38\ 
Another, who also worked at a standing desk, said Mr. West 
would stand next to her while she worked, ``shoulder to 
shoulder'' so he could look down her shirt.\39\ Two female 
employees described sitting in awkward positions in staff 
meetings or at their desks to prevent Mr. West from looking up 
their skirts.\40\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \35\See e.g., 18(a) Interview of Employee J (describing instances 
of hovering closely to two former female employees); 18(a) Interview of 
Employee K (describing instances of looking down a female's shirt); 
18(a) Interview of Employee B (describing a female ``contort[ing] into 
weird positions'' to avoid Mr. West staring at her); 18(a) Interview of 
Employee F (describing instances of Mr. West ``creepily watching'' 
females during meetings).
    \36\18(a) Interview of Employee E.
    \37\18(a) Interview of Employee D; 18(a) Interview of Employee A; 
18(a) Interview of Employee F; see also 18(a) Interview of Employee J.
    \38\18(a) Interview of Employee B.
    \39\18(a) Interview of Employee D; see also 18(a) Interview of 
Employee K (observed Mr. West standing shoulder to shoulder with a 
female employee and looking down her shirt); 18(a) Interview of 
Employee B (``I kind of recall him [standing shoulder to shoulder] with 
all the girls in the office.'').
    \40\18(a) Interview of Employee D; 18(a) Interview of Employee B; 
see also 18(a) Interview of Employee J.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Unprofessional comments about female employees' appearances

    Numerous witnesses testified that Mr. West commented 
frequently about female employees' appearances, including their 
looks and clothing. Mr. West would often describe female staff 
as attractive or beautiful,\41\ and would make comments to 
female staff like, ``you should wear heels more often,''\42\ 
``[w]ow, I can't believe your husband lets you out that 
way,''\43\ and ``ooh, that red dress.''\44\ Mr. West also 
commented on female employees' weight, including asking one how 
much she weighed.\45\ Two female employees recounted a story to 
the Committee that was relayed to them by Mr. West's wife: in 
New York City, Mr. West encountered a topless performer in 
Central Park and told his wife the performer looked like 
Employee B.\46\ Employee B, who heard Mr. West's wife tell the 
story, said she felt ``really uncomfortable.''\47\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \41\18(a) Interview of Employee D; 18(a) Interview of Employee B; 
18(a) Interview of Employee K.
    \42\18(a) Interview of Employee F; 18(a) Interview of Employee B.
    \43\18(a) Interview of Employee J.
    \44\18(a) Interview of Employee B.
    \45\Id.; 18(a) Interview of Employee J.
    \46\18(a) Interview of Employee G; 18(a) Interview of Employee B.
    \47\18(a) Interview of Employee B.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 C. REPRESENTATIVE MEADOWS BECOMES AWARE OF THE ALLEGED INAPPROPRIATE 
                                BEHAVIOR

1. Representative Meadows' awareness before October 2014

    Although it was widely known among Representative Meadows' 
staff that Mr. West made female employees uncomfortable, there 
is some question about when Representative Meadows first 
learned of the problem. During the course of the Committee's 
investigation, the Committee reviewed allegations that 
Representative Meadows may have known, prior to October 2014, 
that Mr. West made his female employees feel uncomfortable. The 
investigation did not, however, substantiate any of those 
allegations.
    Employee D told both OCE and the Committee she heard from 
the D.C. Deputy Chief that a district office staffer sent an 
email to Representative Meadows, prior to February 2014, 
complaining that Mr. West ``would always try to hug her too 
closely. She felt like it was always him trying to feel her 
chest, and look down her shirt, and she didn't like that.''\48\ 
Employee D stated that she had learned Representative Meadows 
``just forwarded [the district staffer's email] to Kenny.''\49\ 
However, Employee D never saw the email, and the events she 
described took place before she joined Representative Meadows' 
office.\50\ Further, neither Representative Meadows nor any 
other member of his staff corroborated this account.\51\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \48\OCE Interview of Witness B (OCE's Referral, Exhibit 3) at 24; 
18(a) Interview of Employee D.
    \49\OCE Interview of Witness B (OCE's Referral, Exhibit 3) at 24.
    \50\18(a) Interview of Employee D.
    \51\18(a) Interview of Employee J. The Committee did learn about 
one instance where Representative Meadows received a written complaint 
about Mr. West from a female district staff employee in 2013, but that 
complaint discussed only Mr. West's alleged dishonesty in salary 
negotiations, and did not mention any inappropriate behavior towards 
women. 18(a) Interview of Employee E.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Second, a former campaign staffer, Witness Q, independently 
contacted the Committee after learning about the Committee's 
investigation and alleged that Representative Meadows and his 
senior staff knew as early as April 2014 that Mr. West acted 
inappropriately toward female staff. More specifically, Witness 
Q alleged that complaints about Mr. West's behavior toward 
women were lodged in April 2014 and that Mr. West was 
prohibited from entering the congressional offices at that 
time, rather than in October 2014 as the OCE Referral 
stated.\52\ Witness Q had no firsthand knowledge of his 
allegations, but based them on conversations he had with two of 
Representative Meadows' congressional staff in April 2014.\53\ 
The Committee, however, was unable to confirm that the alleged 
conversations with the two staffers occurred. One of the 
staffers that was supposedly a part of those conversations told 
the Committee that he had no recollection of them, and the 
other staffer could not be reached by the Committee.\54\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \52\18(a) Interview of Witness Q.
    \53\Id.
    \54\18(a) Interview of Employee R.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thus, the Committee was unable to substantiate allegations 
that Representative Meadows knew prior to October 2014 that Mr. 
West acted inappropriately toward female staff.

2. October 2014 allegations of inappropriate behavior

    Within the span of a few days in October 2014, employees in 
Representative Meadows' Washington, D.C. and Hendersonville, 
North Carolina, offices complained to Representative Meadows 
about Mr. West's inappropriate behavior toward female 
employees.
    The first complaints were made by the five female staff in 
the Washington, D.C., office and relayed to Representative 
Meadows by the D.C. Deputy Chief. The complaints were prompted 
by Mr. West's insistence in August and September 2014 that one 
of the females in that office, Employee B, make a trip to the 
district that would have required her to spend substantial time 
alone with Mr. West.\55\ Employee B initially avoided the trip 
but eventually felt her job was at risk if she continued to do 
so.\56\ She discussed her concerns with the D.C. Deputy Chief, 
who told the Committee ``[t]he only recourse that [he] saw as 
deputy chief at this time was to go talk to Congressman 
Meadows.''\57\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \55\18(a) Interview of Employee B.
    \56\Id.
    \57\18(a) Interview of Employee J.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In early October 2014, before he talked to Representative 
Meadows, the D.C. Deputy Chief told all female employees in the 
Washington, D.C., office that he would be speaking to the 
Congressman regarding Mr. West's inappropriate behavior toward 
women.\58\ All five female employees in the Washington, D.C., 
office emailed instances of inappropriate behavior they had 
experienced with Mr. West to the D.C. Deputy Chief.\59\ He 
created a document that listed the complaints from each female 
employee, without identifying them by name, for his discussion 
with Representative Meadows.\60\ The list described instances 
of unwanted touching, inappropriate staring, and comments by 
Mr. West, of the kind described previously.\61\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \58\Id. ; see also, e.g., 18(a) Interview of Employee D; 18(a) 
Interview of Employee A. Mr. West suggested to the Committee that the 
D.C. Deputy Chief shared the complaints he had compiled with all of the 
female employees, causing them to unfairly ``pile on'' additional 
complaints. 18(a) Interview of Kenny West. However, the D.C. Deputy 
Chief explained he was aware that other female employees had expressed 
concerns and wanted to give them the opportunity, if they chose, to 
raise any issues with Representative Meadows. 18(a) Interview of 
Employee J; see also 18(a) Interview of Employee A. He further 
explained he did not want it to be a ``she said/he said'' situation, 
and thought Representative Meadows should hear from more than one 
female employee. 18(a) Interview of Employee J.
    \59\18(a) Interview of Employee J.
    \60\Id.; Exhibit 4.
    \61\Exhibit 4; see also 18(a) Interview of Employee J.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On or around Friday, October 17, 2014, the D.C. Deputy 
Chief told Representative Meadows that female employees in the 
Washington, D.C., office were uncomfortable around Mr. 
West.\62\ He also gave Representative Meadows the list of 
complaints he had compiled.\63\ The D.C. Deputy Chief also 
relayed to Representative Meadows that Employee B did not feel 
comfortable traveling to the district due to Mr. West's 
behavior toward her.\64\ Representative Meadows immediately met 
with his Washington, D.C., congressional staff and told them he 
had zero tolerance for the inappropriate behavior and would 
address it.\65\ He did not, however, tell them how he would 
address it.\66\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \62\18(a) Interview of Employee J; 18(a) Interview of 
Representative Meadows.
    \63\Id.; see also Exhibit 4.
    \64\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \65\Id.; see also 18(a) Interview of Employee J. Mr. West was not 
in Washington, D.C. at the time and was not in this meeting.
    \66\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows; see also 18(a) 
Interview of Employee J.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After learning about the allegations, Representative 
Meadows called Mr. West, who was in the district at the time, 
to inform him of the claims against him.\67\ After the call, he 
provided Mr. West the document that listed the allegations.\68\ 
At that time, Representative Meadows also instructed Mr. West 
not to have contact with any female employees in the 
Washington, D.C. office, other than the scheduler, and told Mr. 
West that there would be an investigation.\69\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \67\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows; see also 18(a) 
Interview of Kenny West.
    \68\Id.
    \69\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On the evening of Tuesday, October 21, 2014, just four days 
after learning about the allegations from the Washington, D.C., 
office, Representative Meadows received another complaint, this 
time from a female employee in his Hendersonville district 
office. The individual serving as District Director and Deputy 
Chief of Staff (hereinafter District Deputy Chief) forwarded to 
Representative Meadows an email from Employee C.\70\ In her 
email, Employee C said that Mr. West made her feel 
uncomfortable in a meeting that day.\71\ She wrote that Mr. 
West made her feel ``extremely ill at ease,'' that he 
``stare[d] inappropriately,'' and was ``overly touchy.''\72\ 
She also requested in the email that Mr. West ``maintain his 
distance'' from her.\73\ Employee C told the Committee that she 
complained after Mr. West stared at her ``like he was trying to 
look down my shirt'' during her performance evaluation that 
day.\74\ The District Deputy Chief also attended the 
performance evaluation meeting. When asked by the Committee 
what he observed, he said, ``I was in there the entire time 
during this discussion, and I never saw anything 
inappropriate.''\75\ However, he also said that Mr. West had a 
tendency to be long-winded and he did not remember whether he 
was paying attention during the entire meeting.\76\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \70\Exhibit 5.
    \71\Id.
    \72\Id.
    \73\Id.
    \74\18(a) Interview of Employee C.
    \75\18(a) Interview of Employee M.
    \76\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The following morning, on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, Mr. 
West attempted to return to the Hendersonville district office 
but another district office employee, Employee E, barred him 
from entering. She told Mr. West he made both she and Employee 
C feel uncomfortable and therefore he could not come into the 
office.\77\ After arguing with Employee E, Mr. West eventually 
left.\78\ Mr. West immediately called Representative Meadows 
and reported that he was blocked from entering the 
Hendersonville office.\79\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \77\18(a) Interview of Employee C; 18(a) Interview of Employee E; 
see also 18(a) Interview of Kenny West. Mr. West said Employee E told 
him he could not enter the district office because he ``looked at [her] 
boobs.''
    \78\18(a) Interview of Employee E.
    \79\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows; see also 18(a) 
Interview of Kenny West.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

         D. REACTIONS TO ALLEGATIONS OF INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR

    Representative Meadows told the Committee he was ``shocked, 
upset [and] surprised'' when he received the allegations from 
his Washington, D.C. staff in mid-October 2014.\80\ When he 
learned about Employee C's allegations and the subsequent 
confrontation at the Hendersonville office, he said he knew he 
had ``a pervasive problem.''\81\ He explained, ``probably the 
biggest thing that was difficult for me is that some of these 
things, one, I missed, but the other was . . . why didn't I 
hear about them?''\82\ Representative Meadows said he did not 
recall ever being told or hearing that Mr. West acted 
inappropriately toward his female staff before they brought 
complaints to him in October 2014.\83\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \80\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows; see also 18(a) 
Interview of Employee J.
    \81\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \82\Id.
    \83\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to Representative Meadows, Mr. West 
``vigorously'' denied the allegations against him.\84\ 
Representative Meadows told the Committee that Mr. West thought 
the congressional staff, particularly the D.C. Deputy Chief and 
the District Deputy Chief were just trying to get Mr. West 
fired.\85\ Mr. West also told Representative Meadows that the 
staff did not like having an ``older guy'' around.\86\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \84\Id.
    \85\Id.
    \86\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In his testimony to the Committee, Mr. West denied all but 
one of the allegations about his behavior: he admitted that he 
touched Employee A's hair when she wore it in a bun.\87\ Mr. 
West explained that Employee A told him she did not like to be 
touched, and so he never touched her again.\88\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \87\18(a) Interview of Kenny West.
    \88\Id. Employee A recalled one instance in which she said 
something to Mr. West about his behavior, but believed it related to 
him hovering close to her. 18(a) Interview of Employee A. She also told 
the Committee that she observed Mr. West engaging in the behavior 
alleged, such as standing close and touching hair, with other women in 
the office. Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mr. West suggested alternative explanations for the 
allegations. To illustrate, he suggested that the allegations 
related to his comments about female employee's clothing may 
have been a response to him telling female employees that they 
dressed inappropriately.\89\ He also said that he told female 
and male employees alike that they ``[l]ooked nice today.''\90\ 
Further, Mr. West said that while he never touched a female 
employee's back or shoulders, he may have ``brushed against 
them in the office trying to get by.''\91\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \89\18(a) Interview of Kenny West (``Q. Did you ever look down a 
female staffer's blouse? . . . A. [T]he answer to that is no, but I 
will tell you some of our female staff . . . they dressed 
inappropriately. . . . I said: You cannot dress like that and be 
meeting with the Ambassador of []Israel. You can't do that. And some of 
them took offense I imagine. Okay? But the answer to that is no.'').
    \90\Id.
    \91\Id. Mr. West also said that one female employee, who he 
declined to identify, straightened his tie and rubbed his head when he 
had a headache.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mr. West also claimed the allegations were ``coordinated,'' 
speculating, ``I think some of them wanted me out of the way so 
somebody else could be the chief.''\92\ He thought that 
Representative Meadows' staff were unhappy that he supported 
Representative Meadows' decision not to vote with House 
leadership in a few instances.\93\ Although Representative 
Meadows told the Committee that Mr. West, who was fifty-six 
years old at the time, alluded to age discrimination when 
Representative Meadows confronted him about the allegations, 
Mr. West denied doing so to the Committee.\94\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \92\Id.
    \93\Id.
    \94\Id. (``Q. Did you ever tell Representative Meadows that you 
thought that staff were discriminating against you in some way? A. 
Never discriminating.'')
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

   E. CORRECTIVE MEASURES REPRESENTATIVE MEADOWS TOOK REGARDING THE 
                 ALLEGATIONS OF INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR

    Almost immediately after learning about the allegations, 
Representative Meadows made two changes. First, he attempted to 
separate Mr. West from the female employees in his offices. He 
directed Mr. West to (1) have no contact with female employees 
other than the scheduler;\95\ (2) not return to the Washington, 
D.C., or district congressional offices when female employees 
were present; and (3) use the D.C. Deputy Chief and District 
Deputy Chief, both male employees, as a conduit for any 
supervisory interactions with female employees.\96\ 
Representative Meadows told the Committee Mr. West was upset 
about the restrictions and told him, ``I can't even do my 
job.''\97\ Despite the restrictions that even Mr. West 
identified as an impediment to doing his job, Mr. West's title 
did not change and his compensation was not reduced.\98\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \95\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows. Representative 
Meadows told Mr. West that the only female employee he could have 
direct contact with was his scheduler because it was necessary for 
scheduling purposes.
    \96\Id.
    \97\Id.
    \98\Id. As discussed more fully in section V.C.2., infra, Mr. West 
actually received an increase in compensation around the same time, 
apparently as part of a year-end bonus.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Second, Representative Meadows gave Mr. West access to the 
email accounts of the D.C. and District Deputy Chiefs.\99\ Mr. 
West received access on October 22, 2014, five days after 
Representative Meadows learned about the Washington, D.C., 
allegations and the same day that Employee E barred Mr. West 
from entering the Hendersonville office.\100\ This access 
allowed Mr. West to see all of the emails the Deputies sent and 
received on their official congressional email accounts, 
without them knowing.\101\ On the same day, Representative 
Meadows received access to every member of his staff's 
emails.\102\ However, Representative Meadows never utilized 
that access himself.\103\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \99\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \100\See Exhibit 6.
    \101\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \102\Id.
    \103\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Representative Meadows told the Committee he gave Mr. West 
access to the Deputies' emails so Mr. West could ``properly 
monitor things'' because ``he's not going to have as much 
direct contact with the office.''\104\ Representative Meadows 
said he did not instruct Mr. West to look for anything in 
particular in the emails, nor did he provide Mr. West with the 
email access in response to, or connection with, the 
allegations against Mr. West.\105\ Mr. West gave the Committee 
a very different explanation: he said Representative Meadows 
``wanted me to see what was transpiring between [the 
Deputies],'' because ``[i]t's my opinion that them [sic] two 
were a main cause of what happened.''\106\ Mr. West told the 
Committee that when he accessed the Deputies' emails, he was 
looking for information about the allegations because he 
believed the allegations were a result of the Deputies' scheme 
to get him fired.\107\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \104\Id.
    \105\Id.
    \106\18(a) Interview of Kenny West.
    \107\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The investigative record shows that on at least five 
occasions, Mr. West shared information he found in either or 
both the D.C. and District Deputy Chief's emails with 
Representative Meadows. Only one of the five emails appears to 
be related to Mr. West or the allegations: a March 2015 email 
exchange between the D.C. Deputy Chief and a staffer that 
worked for a Member in House leadership. In that email, the 
leadership staffer asked the D.C. Deputy Chief whether a rumor 
that Mr. West was leaving was true, and the D.C. Deputy Chief 
responded that he could not confirm the rumor. The other emails 
Mr. West shared with Representative Meadows generally concerned 
conversations between the Deputies and other Member offices, or 
speculation about personnel moves not involving Mr. West.

    F. REPRESENTATIVE MEADOWS REQUESTS AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION

    In addition to the steps he took within his congressional 
office, Representative Meadows sought Representative Trey 
Gowdy's advice in early November 2014.\108\ Representative 
Meadows said he consulted Representative Gowdy because he 
wanted a prosecutor's advice on the best way to investigate the 
allegations.\109\ As a result of this conversation, 
Representative Gowdy recommended his senior female staffer 
(hereinafter Gowdy Staffer), a former Violence Against Women 
prosecutor who could talk to Representative Meadows' female 
employees in a comfortable, non-threatening way, assess the 
situation in Representative Meadows' Washington, D.C., 
office.\110\ Representative Meadows told the Committee he 
wanted ``[a]n independent third-party evaluator who could 
evaluate the merits of [the allegations] without being 
obligatory to [him] or anybody else . . . and make a 
recommendation.''\111\ Gowdy Staffer was trained and had 
extensive experience in conducting independent investigations 
and interviewing sensitive witnesses.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \108\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \109\Id.
    \110\Id.; 18(a) Interview of Representative Gowdy.
    \111\18 (a) Interview of Representative Meadows; see also 18(a) 
Interview of Gowdy Staffer.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On November 18, 2014, Gowdy Staffer met with the female 
employees that worked in Representative Meadows' Washington, 
D.C., congressional office.\112\ Representative Gowdy was not 
involved in the investigation. Shortly after the meetings, 
Gowdy Staffer talked to Representative Meadows about what she 
learned in those meetings, and made a recommendation to 
terminate Mr. West. She described her conversation with 
Representative Meadows to the Committee:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \112\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows; 18(a) Interview of 
Gowdy Staffer. Gowdy Staffer was not asked to meet with the female 
employees in the district offices.

          We met and I relayed to him my honest opinion and 
        feeling, I guess recommendation. The question was: What 
        would you do if you were the chief of staff? That was 
        the question to me. I said: I would let him go, for a 
        couple of reasons. One is, you know, he--Mr. Meadows 
        relayed to me that he had a great staff, that they all 
        had done a fantastic job, and there was a mutual 
        respect there. And if he truly valued the staff, my 
        feeling was, if it didn't get resolved, they were going 
        to eventually move on. I mean, they were--they did not 
        feel like they could stay in that office and work in 
        that office with Kenny West. But the first and foremost 
        is if you value your staff, you--and this continues, 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        you may not keep your staff. So that was number one.

          Number two was they had some serious claims. And from 
        my perspective and sort of from having my legal 
        perspective, that this could be a real problem for Mr. 
        Meadows. Because you have someone working in your 
        office, and these claims are very much, for me, sexual 
        harassment potentially. Hostility in the workplace 
        potentially. And that's not something I as a chief of 
        staff would even entertain, tolerate, even if there was 
        a suggestion. So that was my personal feeling based on 
        what they had all said to me. That the stories were 
        consistent, that there didn't seem, to me, to be some 
        sort of ulterior motive or just animosity where they 
        were just trying to get rid of Kenny. It was truly a 
        sense of: We're not comfortable. We don't feel 
        comfortable working here. I don't want to leave, but 
        here we are. So that's what I relayed to him.\113\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \113\18(a) Interview of Gowdy Staffer.

Representative Meadows told the Committee he did not recall 
Gowdy Staffer telling him anything about sexual harassment or a 
hostile work environment, but he did remember she told him the 
allegations against Mr. West were serious and he ``needed to 
take action to terminate the employment.''\114\ After Gowdy 
Staffer made her recommendation, both Representative Gowdy and 
Gowdy Staffer believed Mr. West was terminated.\115\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \114\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \115\18(a) Interview of Representative Gowdy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Representative Meadows did not, however, fire Mr. West. He 
told the Committee he thought the allegations were credible but 
he still had reservations.\116\ In particular, he said he was 
debating whether to give Mr. West the opportunity to tell his 
side of the story.\117\ He explained to the Committee, that 
from mid-November 2014 when Gowdy Staffer completed her 
investigation until April 1, 2015, when he demoted Mr. West, he 
went ``back and forth, maybe longer than I should have, 
wrestling with what was fair and what was not.''\118\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \116\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \117\Id.
    \118\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Representative Meadows did not do anything further to 
address his reservations about whether it would be ``fair'' to 
terminate Mr. West. The Committee notes that Representative 
Meadows did not seek assistance from any of the resources 
available to the House community, such as the Committee, OOC, 
or OHEC.\119\ Representative Meadows told the Committee that, 
at the time, he did not know what congressional resources were 
available.\120\ However, there is no indication he made any 
effort to find that out. Representative Meadows also did not 
consult any private legal counsel.\121\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \119\Id. At the time, Representative Gowdy served on the Committee. 
However, in his interview with the Committee, Representative Gowdy said 
that he viewed the issues with Mr. West as an employment matter, which 
he assumed was resolved because he believed Mr. West had been fired 
after Gowdy Staffer's investigation. Representative Gowdy did not 
engage in Committee decisions or discussions regarding this matter. 
18(a) Interview of Representative Gowdy.
    \120\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \121\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

   G. MR. WEST'S WORK AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOLLOWING THE INDEPENDENT 
           INVESTIGATION AND RECOMMENDATION TO TERMINATE HIM

    After the independent investigation, Representative Meadows 
did not make any immediate changes to Mr. West's 
responsibilities.\122\ Mr. West continued to make 
recommendations to Representative Meadows regarding employees' 
salaries and positions and the office budget.\123\ In fact, the 
investigative record shows that Mr. West provided 
Representative Meadows with written evaluations of all 
congressional staff on two occasions: in November 2014 and 
February 2015.\124\ In those evaluations, Mr. West was critical 
of the D.C. and District Deputy Chiefs--who he believed had 
devised the allegations as a way to get him fired\125\--and 
several of the female employees that made allegations against 
him.\126\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \122\Id.
    \123\Id. Representative Meadows told the Committee he did not hire 
any employees nor were there any formal performance evaluations from 
October 17, 2014, when he became aware of the allegations against Mr. 
West, through April 1, 2015, when he changed Mr. West's title to Senior 
Advisor.
    \124\Exhibits 7 and 8.
    \125\18(a) Interview of Kenny West.
    \126\See Exhibits 7 and 8.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Because Mr. West continued to be barred from entering the 
congressional offices and from contacting most of the female 
employees, Mr. West worked from his home in the district. \127\ 
Representative Meadows told the Committee he asked Mr. West to 
perform additional outreach throughout the district because he 
would not be coming back to Washington, D.C.\128\ This included 
attending events with Representative Meadows, outreach to 
county managers and more casework related to governmental 
officials.\129\ Representative Meadows testified that he did 
not view the restrictions on Mr. West as a change or reduction 
in his responsibilities.\130\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \127\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \128\Id.
    \129\Id. Representative Meadows told the Committee that at the time 
he received positive responses about Mr. West's work in the district, 
but he said that since then, he learned that Mr. West had not been 
doing the additional outreach in the district as he had asked. He said 
that other employees have told him that Mr. West could have done things 
better.
    \130\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

   H. STAFF'S UNDERSTANDING OF MR. WEST'S WORK AND RESPONSIBILITIES 
                FOLLOWING THE INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION

    In late November 2014, after the independent investigation 
was complete, Representative Meadows asked his D.C. Deputy 
Chief to announce to the female employees in the Washington, 
D.C. office that: (1) Mr. West would no longer have a role in 
the Washington, D.C. office; (2) he would have limited contact 
with the female employees; and (3) he would no longer have 
office space in Washington, D.C., after Representative Meadows 
moved to a new office in the Longworth House Office Building in 
January 2015.\131\ The D.C. Deputy Chief made the announcement 
at a staff meeting with the female employees.\132\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \131\Exhibit 9; 18(a) Interview of Employee J; see also 18(a) 
Interview of Employee B.
    \132\18(a) Interview of Employee J; 18(a) Interview of Employee B; 
18(a) Interview of Employee A; 18(a) Interview of Employee G.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It is unclear whether a similar announcement was made to 
Representative Meadows' district staff. The District Deputy 
Chief testified he was not aware Representative Meadows had 
restricted Mr. West from the district offices or directly 
communicating with female employees, and thus, did not make any 
announcements.\133\ Likewise, female staff in the 
Hendersonville office told the Committee they were never told 
Mr. West was not allowed in the office, or was not allowed to 
contact them.\134\ Employee E, a district office staffer, said, 
``I didn't know if Kenny would be in the office the next day . 
. . it was just not discussed.''\135\ However, one male 
employee that worked in the Lenoir district office testified 
that the District Deputy Chief told him that Mr. West would no 
longer be coming to the Hendersonville congressional office 
because a complaint had been filed about Mr. West's 
behavior.\136\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \133\18(a) Interview of Employee M.
    \134\18(a) Interview of Employee E; 18(a) Interview of Employee C.
    \135\18(a) Interview of Employee E.
    \136\18(a) Interview of Employee R.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Regardless of what they were told about Mr. West, the 
record shows that the congressional staff were confused about 
Mr. West's role in the fall of 2014. Several D.C.-based staff 
said they did not know what Mr. West was doing after he was no 
longer coming to the office.\137\ Employee B told the 
Committee, ``I don't think we were sure if he was working for 
[Representative Meadows] or not.''\138\ Employee D told the 
Committee the only indication Mr. West was still working for 
Representative Meadows were a few emails that he sent.\139\ 
Employee D also told the Committee that she knew that Mr. West 
remained involved in staff salary decisions because 
Representative Meadows had mentioned to her in an email on 
March 11, 2015, that he talked to Mr. West about her 
salary.\140\ Similarly, district office employees were 
uncertain about what Mr. West was doing.\141\ One told the 
Committee that he thought Mr. West was still Chief of Staff, 
but said, ``his status in the office at that time, I wasn't 
really sure about.''\142\ Another said, ``Kenny was not 
discussed, didn't know where he was working, what he was doing. 
He just wasn't discussed.''\143\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \137\18(a) Interview of Employee F; 18(a) Interview of Employee D; 
18(a) Interview of Employee A; 18(a) Interview of Employee G.
    \138\18(a) Interview of Employee B.
    \139\18(a) Interview of Employee D.
    \140\Id.
    \141\18(a) Interview of Employee C; 18(a) Interview of Employee E. 
Employee E told the Committee Mr. West never appeared to be doing any 
work before the allegations were raised to Representative Meadows, so 
she did not see a change after.
    \142\18(a) Interview of Employee R.
    \143\18(a) Interview of Employee E.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

  I. MR. WEST'S FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH RESTRICTIONS TO PROTECT FEMALE 
                                 STAFF

    Despite the assurances Representative Meadows had given to 
female staff in the Washington, D.C., office, Mr. West did 
contact some of them in early January 2015, and even suggested 
that he would return to the Washington, D.C., office.\144\ In 
March 2015, Mr. West again contacted two female congressional 
employees, one multiple times over the weekend and one at the 
office.\145\ Representative Meadows learned of these contacts 
soon after they occurred.\146\ Despite Mr. West's failure to 
follow his instructions, Representative Meadows did not 
terminate his employment. When asked why he did not fire Mr. 
West on either of these occasions, Representative Meadows 
explained: ``The justification that he gave, I mean, was that 
he was contacting the particular individual based on a case 
that he was working. I mean, he gave a business reason for the 
contact.''\147\ Representative Meadows merely told Mr. West 
again not to contact the female employees and to work through 
the Deputies.\148\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \144\18(a) Interview of Employee J; 18(a) Interview of Employee B; 
18(a) Interview of Employee D.
    \145\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \146\Id.
    \147\Id.
    \148\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

J. REPRESENTATIVE GOWDY AND THE SPEAKER'S OFFICE ADVISE REPRESENTATIVE 
                     MEADOWS TO TERMINATE MR. WEST

    On January 7, 2015, nearly two months after Gowdy Staffer 
completed her investigation and recommended Representative 
Meadows terminate Mr. West, a female employee in Representative 
Meadows' Washington, D.C., office emailed Gowdy Staffer saying 
that Mr. West ``is still on staff,'' was ``temporarily out of 
the picture'' but he ``will be back up in DC, despite previous 
assurances to the contrary.''\149\ She also said that the women 
in the office were not comfortable with Mr. West returning and 
they did not know how to properly address it.\150\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \149\Exhibit 10.
    \150\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Gowdy Staffer told Representative Gowdy this information. 
Representative Gowdy and Gowdy Staffer both told the Committee 
they were surprised to learn Representative Meadows had not yet 
fired Mr. West.\151\ As a result, Representative Gowdy 
approached Representative Meadows on the House Floor. \152\ 
Representative Gowdy told him the steps he had taken to resolve 
the allegations about Mr. West had not worked.\153\ 
Representative Gowdy advised Representative Meadows against 
keeping Mr. West on staff.\154\ Representative Gowdy explained 
that he gave Representative Meadows ``some pretty firm impolite 
counsel, which would have been along the lines of: He has 
already hurt you, and it is going to continue.'' Representative 
Gowdy explained to the Committee he knew Representative Meadows 
was concerned for and valued his female staff and wanted the 
environment in his office to change.\155\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \151\18(a) Interview of Representative Gowdy; 18(a) Interview of 
Gowdy Staffer.
    \152\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows; 18(a) Interview of 
Representative Gowdy.
    \153\18(a) Interview of Representative Gowdy.
    \154\Id.
    \155\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite this counsel from Representative Gowdy, 
Representative Meadows continued to retain Mr. West without 
making any changes to his role. In late March 2015, the 
Speaker's office became involved. Representative Meadows told 
the Committee that rumors were circulating about Mr. West's 
behavior toward female staff, which prompted the Speaker's 
office to contact him.\156\ According to Representative 
Meadows, the General Counsel for the Speaker told 
Representative Meadows that even though Mr. West was physically 
separated from the female employees, because he had hiring, 
firing, and financial responsibilities, the female employees 
could make claims that they were not properly compensated or 
that there was a hostile work environment.\157\ Representative 
Meadows told the Committee this was when he finally realized 
Mr. West could no longer serve as Chief of Staff.\158\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \156\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \157\Id.
    \158\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                   K. MR. WEST BECOMES SENIOR ADVISOR

    On March 25, 2015, Representative Meadows sent an email to 
his D.C. Deputy Chief and District Deputy Chief instructing 
them that, effective immediately, they would report directly to 
him and would be responsible for supervising their respective 
employees in Washington, D.C., and the district.\159\ A week 
later, on April 1, 2015, Representative Meadows announced to 
his entire congressional staff that he had decided to have a 
full time chief of staff in Washington, D.C., and he would be 
replacing Mr. West.\160\ The same day, Representative Meadows 
officially changed Mr. West's title to Senior Advisor but kept 
his salary the same.\161\ Representative Meadows did not inform 
his staff that Mr. West would be Senior Advisor. As a result, 
most of Representative Meadows' staff did not know Mr. West was 
still on staff; they thought he had left the congressional 
office.\162\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \159\Exhibit 11.
    \160\Exhibit 12.
    \161\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \162\See e.g., 18(a) Interview of Employee C; 18(a) Interview of 
Employee D; 18(a) Interview of Employee G.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to Representative Meadows, as Senior Advisor, Mr. 
West had the same responsibilities that he previously had, 
including working on the budget and outreach in the district, 
except that he no longer supervised any employees.\163\ Mr. 
West, however, told the Committee that as Senior Advisor, he 
provided Representative Meadows with advice on legislation and 
continued to meet with constituents.\164\ He said he did not 
work on the office budget, but instead had turned those 
responsibilities over to Representative Meadows.\165\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \163\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \164\18(a) Interview of Kenny West.
    \165\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Representative Meadows said he tried to encourage Mr. West 
to do work in the district during this time period, but 
admitted he did not do much follow up with Mr. West to ensure 
he was working.\166\ Mr. West, however, told the Committee that 
he called Representative Meadows every day and that 
Representative Meadows was aware of Mr. West's meetings with 
constituents because his travel for those meetings was recorded 
on his mileage expense reports.\167\ The Committee reviewed the 
mileage reimbursements that Mr. West received for travel in his 
privately owned vehicle during the time he was Senior Advisor. 
Those reimbursements show that Mr. West traveled on 14 days out 
of a total of 48 working days.\168\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \166\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \167\18(a) Interview of Kenny West.
    \168\Exhibit 13. Documents reviewed by the Committee show that Mr. 
West was on leave for five days in April 2015. Mr. West did not receive 
reimbursements for travel on those days and they are not included in 
the 48 total working days as Senior Advisor.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Representative Meadows said he did not change Mr. West's 
pay, despite his decreased responsibilities, because he viewed 
this as a ``transition period.''\169\ Representative Meadows 
explained, ``[I]f I was in the private sector, I would have 
left his pay the same and figured out a way to get him 
gone.''\170\ Representative Meadows also said he hoped that 
changing Mr. West's title would encourage him to quit.\171\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \169\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \170\Id.
    \171\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

               L. MR. WEST RESIGNS AND IS PAID SEVERANCE

    On May 21, 2015, Mr. West resigned.\172\ While 
Representative Meadows did not ask for his resignation that 
day, he said he had previously talked with Mr. West about his 
potential resignation or termination, and had encouraged him to 
seek other employment.\173\ In his resignation letter, Mr. West 
asked Representative Meadows to pay him through August or July 
at a minimum.\174\ According to Representative Meadows and Mr. 
West, Mr. West continued to do some official work until mid-
June 2015.\175\ Mr. West's mileage reimbursements show he 
traveled on three occasions for official purposes after his 
resignation.\176\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \172\Exhibit 14.
    \173\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \174\Exhibit 14.
    \175\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows; 18(a) Interview of 
Kenny West.
    \176\Representative Meadows later reimbursed the U.S. Treasury 
$400.96 for the three mileage reimbursements that Mr. West received 
from Representative Meadows' Members Representation Allowance (MRA). 
The reimbursements were for travel on May 27, 2015, June 2, 2015 and 
June 9, 2015. When asked about these trips, Mr. West claimed they were 
for official purposes. He also said Representative Meadows was aware of 
the trips, ``because I told him I had other events.'' 18(a) Interview 
of Kenny West. Representative Meadows told the Committee in a November 
18, 2015, letter that the reimbursements were for legitimate official 
activity, but that he reimbursed the U.S. Treasury to address any 
concerns his constituents may have had. Letter from Representative 
Meadows to Chairman Charles W. Dent and Ranking Member Linda T. 
Sanchez, Committee on Ethics (Nov. 18, 2015) (Appendix B).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    From mid-June until August 15, 2015, Mr. West was kept on 
Representative Meadows' House payroll, as ``severance,'' at the 
same rate of pay that he had received as Chief of Staff and 
Senior Advisor.\177\Representative Meadows said he paid the 
severance because he wanted a smooth transition, but also 
because he thought it would encourage Mr. West not to file an 
age discrimination lawsuit against his congressional 
office.\178\ Representative Meadows told the Committee he was 
not sure if Mr. West had actually obtained legal 
representation, but said that Mr. West had told him that he had 
talked to an attorney at some point.\179\ However, 
Representative Meadows did not make, or attempt to make, any 
legal agreement with Mr. West that he would waive any legal 
claims.\180\ When asked why he did not take any measures to 
protect himself or his office from a possible lawsuit, 
Representative Meadows said, ``I felt like [Mr. West's 
resignation] was his admission that he was going to go on, you 
know, and do other things. . . .''\181\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \177\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \178\Id.
    \179\Id.
    \180\Id.
    \181\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

  M. SPECULATION ABOUT THE HIRING AND DELAYED TERMINATION OF MR. WEST

    Multiple witnesses told the Committee they had speculated, 
or heard speculation, that Mr. West possessed negative 
information about Representative Meadows' personal affairs. 
Several witnesses thought that the negative information may 
have spurred Representative Meadows to hire Mr. West, or to 
keep him on staff even after the allegations about his 
inappropriate behavior surfaced. Both Representative Meadows 
and Mr. West flatly denied this, and the Committee found no 
credible evidence to support it.

                              V. FINDINGS

    Discrimination against a House employee on the basis of sex 
or gender is strictly prohibited by the Code of Official 
Conduct as well as the CAA, which subjected Congress to a 
number of federal employment laws, including Title VII of the 
Civil Rights Act of 1964. During the period under review, House 
Rule XXIII, clause 9, stated that ``[a] Member . . . may not 
discharge and may not refuse to hire an individual, or 
otherwise discriminate against an individual with respect to 
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, 
because of the race, color, religion, sex (including marital or 
parental status), disability, age, or national origin of such 
individual.'' Indeed, the Committee has long held ``that sexual 
harassment is a form of sex discrimination,'' and that such 
behavior violates the House Code of Official Conduct.\182\ In 
the Matter of Representative Jim Bates, the Committee expressly 
held that a Member who violates applicable sex discrimination 
and sexual harassment laws also violates House Rule XXIII, 
clause 9.\183\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \182\Ethics Manual at 268-69 (citing Bates at 8-10); see also 
Meritor Sav. Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 67 (1986) (quoting Henson v. 
Dundee, 682 F.2d 897, 902 (11th Cir. 1982)) (``Sexual harassment which 
creates a hostile or offensive environment for members of one sex is 
every bit the arbitrary barrier to sexual equality at the workplace 
that racial harassment is to racial equality. Surely, a requirement 
that a man or woman run a gauntlet of sexual abuse in return for the 
privilege of being allowed to work and make a living can be as 
demeaning and disconcerting as the harshest of racial epithets.'')
    \183\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Under Title VII jurisprudence, sexual harassment may be 
actionable ``in either of two circumstances: the grant or 
denial of an economic quid pro quo in exchange for sexual 
favors, or discrimination that has created a hostile or abusive 
work environment.''\184\ A hostile work environment is one 
where the ``workplace is permeated with discriminatory 
intimidation, ridicule, and insult'' and these behaviors are 
``sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of 
the victim's employment and create an abusive working 
environment.''\185\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \184\Gary v. Long, 59 F.3d 1391, 1395 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (citations 
omitted).
    \185\Harris v. Forklift Sys., Inc., 510 U.S. 17, 21 (1993).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Even if discriminatory conduct does not meet the elements 
of sexual harassment under Title VII, it may nonetheless run 
afoul of clauses 1 and 2 of the Code of Conduct, which is also 
found in House Rule XXIII. Clause 1 provides that Members and 
employees of the House ``shall behave at all times in a manner 
that shall reflect creditably on the House.'' It is a 
``purposefully . . . . subjective'' standard.\186\ Clause 2 
requires adherence to ``the spirit and the letter'' of House 
Rules. While conduct may not violate the ``letter'' of federal 
sexual harassment law (and thus, clause 9, which incorporates 
that law), it may still be contrary to the spirit of the 
prohibition on discriminatory conduct in the form of sexual 
harassment.\187\ Clause 2 is a ``genteel rule''\188\ meant to 
emphasize ``the importance of the precedents of decorum and 
consideration that have evolved in the House over the 
years.''\189\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \186\See Ethics Manual at 13 (citing 114 Cong. Rec. 8778 (1968)).
    \187\Ethics Manual at 17 (``a narrow technical reading of a House 
Rule should not overcome its `spirit' and the intent of the House in 
adopting that and other rules of conduct.'').
    \188\Ethics Manual at 17.
    \189\House Comm. on Standards of Official Conduct, Report under the 
Authority of H. Res. 418, H. Rep. 1176, 90th Cong., 2d Sess. 17 (1968).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         A. MR. WEST'S BEHAVIOR

    Mr. West is no longer a House employee and thus, is no 
longer subject to the House Rules that prohibit sexual 
harassment, nor to this Committee's jurisdiction.\190\ However, 
the Committee does not want to leave the impression that his 
behavior was appropriate in any way. In fact, his behavior 
toward the female staff was inappropriate in every sense of the 
word. The Committee found the witnesses who described Mr. 
West's conduct to be credible and their testimony was 
consistent.\191\ There is no place in any congressional office 
for looking up skirts, or down shirts; staring at a woman's 
chest; unwanted touching; or making sexual comments, even if 
subtle or in jest. The fact that Mr. West supervised the women 
he did these things to makes his behavior even more 
unacceptable. Just as between Members and their staff, a power 
imbalance exists between senior staff and junior staff in 
congressional offices. Those entrusted with supervisory 
responsibilities in the workplace must be sensitive to the 
potential for discrimination and for creating uncomfortable 
working conditions for staff.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \190\House Rule XI, clause 3(a)(2) (``The Committee may investigate 
. . .an alleged violation by a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, 
officer, or employee of the House . . . .'').
    \191\Contrary to Mr. West's assertions, the Committee found no 
indication that the allegations about Mr. West's behavior were rooted 
in a desire to get Mr. West fired, a dislike of Mr. West, or anything 
related to his age. The Committee's credibility determination is the 
same as the credibility determination Gowdy Staffer made after her 
independent investigation in November 2014, which she relayed to 
Representative Meadows at that time. 18(a) Interview of Gowdy Staffer; 
18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mr. West's behavior raises serious questions as to whether 
it constituted sexual harassment under the demanding legal 
standards in Title VII jurisprudence.\192\ Clause 9 of the Code 
of Official Conduct, House Rule XXIII, mirrors the language of 
Title VII, and conduct that constitutes a violation of Title 
VII and the CAA is thus also a violation of the House Rules. At 
a minimum, Mr. West's actions violated the spirit of clause 9, 
because his actions were inappropriate and discriminatory, and 
would thus violate clause 2 of the Code. The Committee also 
found that Mr. West's actions while employed by the House did 
not reflect creditably on Representative Meadows' office or the 
House as a whole, in violation of clause 1 of the Code. Such 
behavior has no place in the House of Representatives. The 
women that worked in Representative Meadows' office deserved 
much better. However, because Mr. West is no longer a House 
employee, the Committee does not have jurisdiction over him.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \192\See Tucker v. Johnson, 211 F. Supp. 3d 95, 101 (D.D.C. 2016) 
(citation omitted) (describing the legal standard for Title VII claims 
in the D.C. circuit as ``demanding'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

       B. REPRESENTATIVE MEADOWS' RESPONSE TO MR. WEST'S BEHAVIOR

    Under Title VII jurisprudence, employers may be held 
vicariously liable for sexual harassment by a supervisory 
employee.\193\ The Committee has also long held, in other 
contexts, that a Member is generally responsible for violations 
of the Code of Conduct that occur in their offices.\194\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \193\Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775 (1998); 
Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 747 (1998). The 
Faragher and Ellerth decisions held that an employer is vicariously 
liable for actionable harassment by a supervisor but the employer may 
assert an affirmative defense to liability when no tangible employment 
action was taken. Faragher, 524 U.S. at 807; Ellerth 524 U.S. at 765. 
The affirmative defense requires the employer to show 1) ``the employer 
exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any sexually 
harassing behavior,'' and 2) ``that the plaintiff employee unreasonably 
failed to take advantage of any preventative or corrective 
opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm otherwise.'' 
Faragher, 542 U.S. at 807.
    \194\See Comm. on Ethics, In the Matter of Allegations Relating to 
Representative Laura Richardson, H. Rept. 112-642, 112th Cong. 2d Sess. 
97 (hereinafter Richardson) (``Members are responsible for violations 
that occur in their office, and cannot shield themselves from liability 
by using staff as a proxy for wrongdoing''); Comm. on Ethics, In the 
Matter of Allegations Related to Representative Ed Whitfield, H. 
Rept.114-687, 114th Cong., 2d Sess. 44 (hereinafter Whitfield) (The 
Committee found that Representative Whitfield violated House rules ``by 
fail[ing] to establish clear guidelines and limits for his staff, which 
resulted in numerous lobbying contacts between his staff and [his 
wife]''); Comm. on Standards of Official Conduct, In the Matter of the 
Investigation Into Officially Connected Travel of House Members to 
Attend the Carib News Foundation Multi-National Business Conferences in 
2007 and 2008, H. Rept. 111-142, 111th Cong. 2d Sess. 192 
(2010)(``[B]ased on the Standards Committee's longstanding precedent . 
. . the Subcommittee finds that it would not well serve the House as an 
institution to allow its Members to escape responsibility by delegating 
authority to their staff to take actions and hide behind their lack of 
knowledge of the facts surrounding those actions . . .'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For example, in The Matter of Representative E.G. ``Bud'' 
Shuster, the Committee issued a letter of reproval to 
Representative Shuster for a pattern of conduct that did not 
reflect creditably on the House, in violation of then-House 
Rule XLIII, clause 1 (the predecessor to House Rule XXIII, 
clause 1). Among other things, the Committee found that 
Representative Shuster was responsible for his staff's 
performance of campaign work in his congressional office, 
despite not finding evidence that Representative Shuster 
himself was aware the activity was taking place.\195\ The 
Committee explained, ``Members of the House are ultimately 
responsible for ensuring their offices function in accordance 
with applicable standards. In this regard, Members must not 
only ensure that their offices comply with appropriate 
standards but also take account of the manner in which their 
actions may be perceived.''\196\ The Committee sees no reason 
the result should be different in this context. In fact, the 
Committee previously advised Members ``to scrupulously avoid 
even the impression of a workplace tainted by sexism.''\197\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \195\Comm. on Standards of Official Conduct, In the Matter of 
Representative E.G. ``Bud'' Shuster, H. Rept. 106-979, 106th Cong. 2d 
Sess. 64 (2000) (hereinafter Shuster).
    \196\Id. at 49.
    \197\House Comm. on Ethics, In the Matter of Allegations Relating 
to Representative Alcee L. Hastings, H. Rept. 113-663, 113th Cong. 2d 
Sess. 16 (2014) (hereinafter Hastings).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee's investigation explored (1) when 
Representative Meadows knew about Mr. West's inappropriate 
behavior toward women and (2) whether Representative Meadows 
exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct Mr. 
West's behavior once he learned of it. As to the first issue, 
the Committee reviewed allegations that Representative Meadows 
may have known prior to October 2014 that Mr. West made women 
feel uncomfortable. A report published in the Huffington Post 
on October 5, 2015, stated:

          A person close to Meadows said he personally observed 
        West's behavior around women before he was offered the 
        job, and warned Meadows about West. ``There were a 
        number of us who talked to him and basically said, `You 
        have a problem here,' before he ever got sworn into 
        office,'' he said.\198\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \198\Ryan Grimm and Paul Blumenthal, Congressman Behind Planned 
Parenthood Assault Kept Paying Aide After Sexual Harassment Complaints, 
Huffington Post, (Oct. 5, 2015), https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/
mark-meadows-sexual-harassment-kenny-west_us_ 560f06eae4b0af3706e0fa1b.

    Representative Meadows has denied this account,\199\ and 
the Committee's investigation did not substantiate this 
claim.\200\ As discussed previously, however, Campaign 
Supporter and Representative Meadows did have a conversation 
about Mr. West prior to Representative Meadows being sworn into 
office. Campaign Supporter described the conversation as 
follows:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \199\Email from Elliot S. Berke to Kathryn Lefeber Donahue (May 13, 
2016).
    \200\The Committee believes the source for this article was the 
person this Report refers to as Campaign Supporter, who spoke to the 
Huffington Post reporter about this same subject. See 18(a) Interview 
of Witness P. But Campaign Supporter has denied making the statement, 
including the claim that ``[t]there were a number of us who talked to 
him.'' See 18(a) Interview of Witness P. Id.

          I did tell [Representative Meadows] that Kenny had--
        when he was in my business interviewing my employees, 
        that after he left, I had two female employees come up 
        and tell me that they didn't ever want to be 
        interviewed by him again, that he made them feel very 
        uncomfortable. Now, Kenny is what I call a space 
        invader. He's very touchy. He likes to get really close 
        to you when he talks. He likes to have his arm on you, 
        I mean, if it's a man or a woman. And I told Mark, I 
        said, this guy, you know, he needs to understand space 
        respect [sic]. And I told him about that. I felt like I 
        had to.\201\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \201\18(a) Interview of Witness P.

When asked about this conversation, Representative Meadows said 
he recalled having conversations with Campaign Supporter about 
Mr. West, but did not specifically remember Campaign Supporter 
saying Mr. West made females feel uncomfortable or that that he 
was a ``space invader.''\202\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \202\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows. Representative 
Meadows said that after the allegations about Mr. West were made 
public, Campaign Supporter reminded Representative Meadows that he had 
previously told him that Mr. West was someone who invaded people's 
space.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee found Representative Meadows' testimony on 
this point to be credible. Representative Meadows explained 
that he had allowed his daughter to intern in his House office, 
which he would have never done if he believed Mr. West was a 
threat to the female staff.\203\ Even assuming that Campaign 
Supporter did tell Representative Meadows that Mr. West had 
made some women feel uncomfortable and was a ``space invader,'' 
the Committee does not believe that would have placed 
Representative Meadows ``on notice'' that Mr. West would behave 
inappropriately toward his female congressional staff. The 
Committee found no credible evidence that Representative 
Meadows knew about Mr. West's inappropriate behavior prior to 
receiving the complaints from female staff in his Washington, 
D.C., and district offices in October 2014.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \203\Representative Meadows also told the Committee that he asked 
his daughter whether she had ever experienced or observed any 
inappropriate behavior by Mr. West. She told him she had not. 18(a) 
Interview of Representative Meadows.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Turning to the second issue, whether Representative Meadows 
exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct Mr. 
West's behavior when he learned of it in October 2014, the 
record shows that Representative Meadows took some immediate 
steps to address the allegations, but ultimately did not do 
enough. The Committee did not find that Representative Meadows 
intentionally placed his staff at risk, but his failure to take 
appropriate and swift action did exactly that.
    One of Representative Meadow's first measures was to 
prohibit Mr. West from the congressional offices and from 
directly contacting most of his female employees. Removing an 
alleged harasser from the workplace is an appropriate first 
step in response to allegations of inappropriate behavior or 
sexual harassment. Representative Meadows also sought guidance 
from Representative Gowdy, and asked Gowdy Staffer to conduct 
an investigation. Representative Meadows had the right idea to 
ask a neutral, third party to investigate the allegations. 
However, while Gowdy Staffer had substantial experience with 
investigations, as she was a former prosecutor, at the end of 
the day she was another Member's employee. A Member should not 
ask another Member's staff to investigate allegations of 
inappropriate behavior. It would have been more appropriate for 
Representative Meadows to have sought the assistance of an 
independent investigator specifically trained in workplace 
investigations. He could have done so through the House 
resources available, such as the Committee, OOC or OHEC.
    Regardless, Gowdy Staffer did conduct an independent 
investigation, as requested, which involved informal interviews 
of female staff in Representative Meadows' Washington, D.C., 
office, but not of any district staff, male staff, or Mr. West. 
The result was unequivocal: she told him Mr. West ``had to be 
let go.''\204\ As discussed in Section IV.F., Gowdy Staffer 
explained to Representative Meadows that his staff was ``not 
comfortable,'' could not work for Mr. West, and that the female 
employees had ``consistent'' and ``serious claims.'' Gowdy 
Staffer also emphasized these claims could create ``real 
problem[s]'' for Representative Meadows, including possible 
claims of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \204\18(a) Interview of Gowdy Staffer; 18(a) Interview of 
Representative Meadows.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yet when Representative Meadows received the 
recommendation, in November 2014, he did not follow it. 
Instead, Representative Meadows merely formalized the measures 
he had previously taken: Mr. West (1) could have no contact 
with female employees other than the scheduler\205\; (2) could 
not return to the Washington, D.C., or district congressional 
offices where female employees were present; and (3) should use 
the D.C. Deputy Chief and District Deputy Chief, both male 
employees, as a conduit for any supervisory interactions with 
female employees.\206\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \205\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows. Representative 
Meadows told Mr. West that the only female employee he could have 
direct contact with was his scheduler because it was necessary for 
scheduling purposes.
    \206\Id. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This created several problems. First, it did not send a 
message to his staff that he took their claims seriously or 
that sexual harassment is not tolerated in the House. 
Certainly, Representative Meadows' decision to initiate an 
independent investigation and then to leave the alleged 
harasser in a position of authority over the staff could be 
seen to communicate the opposite message, that Representative 
Meadows either did not believe the female staff or was not 
concerned enough to terminate Mr. West.
    The Committee asked Representative Meadows if he had any 
concern that his female staff would experience anxiety due to 
the uncertainty about Mr. West's role and authority from 
October 2014 until Representative Meadows announced he would 
replace Mr. West on April 1, 2015. He explained his view:

          I tried to assure them in any way while we were 
        evaluating the whole deal that their personal contact 
        with Mr. West--they would not have to make personal 
        contact with him. So I felt like that would alleviate 
        the concern. . . . I felt like they were protected 
        because I think they knew that I was serious about not 
        having him back. . . . I thought my staff, early on, 
        trusted me enough to know that their health and 
        wellbeing was my number-one concern. I was unequivocal 
        in sharing that I wanted them to be protected.\207\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \207\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.

    If this is the message Representative Meadows intended to 
send, it was muddled at best. The female staff's concerns are 
demonstrated in a February 6, 2015, email to Gowdy Staffer, 
months after she completed her investigation. The female 
employee wrote, ``there are still talks of him coming back up. 
He is also still in control of the budget/salaries, which has 
many concerned. Mr. Meadows was adamant that it has been 
addressed, though.''\208\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \208\See Exhibit 10.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Second, Representative Meadows' plan to prohibit contact 
between the female staff and Mr. West did not work. On several 
occasions, Mr. West intentionally disregarded the limits placed 
on him. In January 2015, after the independent investigation 
was completed, the D.C. Deputy Chief told Representative 
Meadows Mr. West was calling female staff.\209\ The D.C. Deputy 
Chief told the Committee that female staff felt they were in a 
bind:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \209\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.

          I think there was a bit of an expectation: He is 
        still the chief; I don't want to just hang up on him 
        because I have been told otherwise, like I don't know 
        how to handle this. There was a concern of if Kenny 
        calls me, what do I do? He is still the chief of staff, 
        even though I have also been told . . . I am not going 
        to be interacting with him. So I am not sure what to do 
        because he is still in a managerial role, at least in 
        title, but not in practice, at least according to what 
        the Congressman had told them previously.\210\
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    \210\18(a) Interview of Employee J.

    Mr. West continued to flout the rules Representative 
Meadows put in place as late as mid-March 2015, when Mr. West 
called two female employees, multiple times.\211\ These 
continued contacts show that however genuine Representative 
Meadows' intention to protect his staff, his ground rules were 
not working, and female employees continued to feel 
uncomfortable in the work environment that Representative 
Meadows oversaw.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \211\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Third, retaining Mr. West in his supervisory position 
created an environment ripe for retaliation. As mentioned 
previously, the CAA not only prohibits sexual harassment in the 
House, but also reprisal or intimidation against a person for 
reporting sexual harassment.\212\ The investigative record 
shows that Mr. West continued to provide Representative Meadows 
with evaluations of the congressional staff, in November 2014 
and February 2015. In those evaluations, he was critical of the 
D.C. and District Deputy Chiefs and several of the female 
employees that raised the harassment allegations. The record 
also shows that Mr. West made recommendations for salary 
increases and promotion for two female employees in March 2015, 
which Representative Meadows ultimately put into place. As 
mentioned previously, a female employee raised a concern about 
Mr. West's control over the salaries and budget in her email to 
Gowdy Staffer in February 2015. Representative Meadows also 
allowed Mr. West to secretly access the email accounts of the 
D.C. and District Deputy Chiefs. According to Mr. West's 
testimony, it was ``to see what was transpiring between [the 
Deputies],'' because ``[i]t's my opinion that them [sic] two 
were a main cause of what happened.''\213\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \212\Title VII jurisprudence also prohibits retaliation. See e.g., 
McGrath v. Clinton, 666 F.3d 1377, 1380 (D.C. Cir. 2012).
    \213\18(a) Interview of Kenny West.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee asked Representative Meadows if he had any 
concern about keeping Mr. West in his supervisory role after 
the allegations. He said, ``[b]ecause I had the ultimate 
responsibility of hiring and firing and payroll, it certainly 
did not create the type of elevated concern that, you know, 
that, all of a sudden he was going to let somebody go or there 
was going to be some issue where they didn't get compensated 
properly. So, you know, in retrospect, maybe I should have 
looked at it differently.''\214\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \214\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It is true, and significant, that neither Mr. West nor 
Representative Meadows took any formal adverse employment 
action against any of the female staff or the Deputies that 
reported the allegations, and several complainants were 
actually promoted or received raises while Mr. West was Chief 
of Staff. However, by allowing Mr. West to continue to evaluate 
employees and to secretly access the D.C. and District Deputy 
Chief's email accounts, Representative Meadows fostered the 
potential for retribution by Mr. West. Representative Meadows 
could and should have done more to remove Mr. West's 
supervisory authority and inform the staff that he had done so. 
He did not adequately protect his staff from the possibility of 
retaliation.
    It seems that Representative Meadows did not fully 
comprehend the ramifications of his decision to keep Mr. West 
as Chief of Staff--despite being told otherwise by Gowdy 
Staffer--until the office of the Speaker raised the issue with 
him, five months after the initial complaints about Mr. West 
and four months after the independent investigation was 
complete and recommended termination.
    Based on the entire record in this matter, the Committee 
found that, when he learned about allegations of sexual 
harassment by Mr. West, Representative Meadows took some 
immediate and appropriate steps to separate Mr. West from his 
female staff and to request an independent investigation. 
However, these steps were insufficient. Mr. West retained his 
title and all the actual and apparent authority over staff that 
went with it. Further, Representative Meadows' actions did not 
communicate to his staff that he had taken the complaints 
seriously, and it did not protect them from potential future 
harassment or retaliation.
    When asked if he was concerned about the impact this 
situation would have on his female staff, Representative 
Meadows stated ``I think there was a bigger concern on my part, 
is making sure that in any evaluation of the truth [Mr. West] 
got a fair shake all the way around. And so, to just 
immediately terminate without hearing the facts was a 
concern.''\215\ Due process is of course essential, and had 
Representative Meadows utilized House resources such as OHEC, 
the Committee, or OOC, Mr. West would have received it. 
Instead, Representative Meadows ignored the results of an 
independent investigation and did not remove Mr. West for five 
months. The Committee found this was not an adequate or timely 
response.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \215\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Moreover, Representative Meadows' attempt to fix the 
``pervasive problem''\216\ of harassment in his offices by 
limiting Mr. West's contact with female employees created a 
serious risk of gender discrimination. After the complaints 
came to him in October 2014, Representative Meadows cut off 
communications between Mr. West and all female staff, except 
one female scheduler. As a result, most of the female staff 
could not have any contact with the person who was supposed to 
be providing supervision and direction, and who had significant 
input into promotions, compensation and the office budget, 
among other things. Male staff were not limited in the same 
way. The Committee found Representative Meadows' attempt to fix 
the problem risked subjecting his female employees to further 
discrimination.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \216\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As described above, Members are ultimately responsible for 
ensuring their offices function in accordance with applicable 
standards and they also must ``take account of the manner in 
which their actions may be perceived.''\217\ Representative 
Meadows is responsible for ensuring that his office is free 
from discrimination and any perception of discrimination, and 
he failed to adequately or promptly do so after learning about 
the allegations involving Mr. West. As such, his actions were 
contrary to the spirit of the anti-discrimination provision of 
the Code of Official Conduct (clause 9), in violation of clause 
2 of the Code (which requires Members to adhere to the spirit 
of the rules of the House). The Committee also found that 
Representative Meadows' actions did not reflect creditably on 
the House, in violation of clause 1 of the Code of Conduct. 
Congressional offices should serve as an example of 
discrimination-free workplaces for the rest of the country. 
Members should never tolerate sexual harassment or any other 
discriminatory conduct in their offices, or give even the 
slightest impression that such conduct is acceptable in the 
congressional workplace.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \217\Shuster at 49.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If Representative Meadows had sought assistance from any of 
the House resources available to him when he learned of the 
allegations, like the Committee, OOC or OHEC, and followed 
their advice, his actions would likely have complied with 
applicable House Rules. It is the best practice for a Member to 
utilize the appropriate independent House resources when faced 
with allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination in 
their offices. It is also a best practice for Members to follow 
recommendations after seeking appropriate outside assistance. 
Had Representative Meadows followed the recommendation from 
Gowdy Staffer and terminated Mr. West's employment after the 
investigation, most of the violations discussed in this Report 
would have been avoided.
    Members and employees alike should be able to work free 
from sexual harassment or discrimination of any kind. The 
Committee notes that House Resolution 630, which was passed on 
November 29, 2017, requires each Member, Officer, and employee 
of the House to complete an education program focused on 
workplace rights and responsibilities. The Committee is hopeful 
that this will increase awareness of sexual harassment and 
discrimination in the workplace, encourage Members and staff to 
identify any issues that may arise in their offices, and 
educate Members and staff about the range of resources 
available to them.

       C. MR. WEST'S REVISED DUTIES, COMPENSATION, AND SEVERANCE

    Representative Meadows' decisions to continue paying Mr. 
West, at his full salary, after he was (1) barred from working 
in the congressional offices and contacting most female staff; 
(2) demoted to Senior Advisor and lost his supervisory 
responsibilities; and (3) no longer serving in any position in 
Representative Meadows' office, raise questions as to whether 
Representative Meadows violated House Rule XXIII, clause 8.

1. House Rule XXIII, clause 8, and the Committee's guidance and 
        precedent

    Clause 8 states ``[a] Member . . . of the House may not 
retain an employee who does not perform duties for the offices 
of the employing authority commensurate with the compensation 
such employee receives.'' The Code of Ethics for Government 
Service further instructs every employee to ``[g]ive a full 
day's labor for a full day's pay,''\218\ and federal law 
requires that appropriated funds are to be used solely for 
purposes for which appropriated.\219\ CHA regulations require 
employing Members to submit monthly salary certifications for 
their staff to ensure compliance with applicable 
regulations.\220\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \218\Code of Ethics for Government Service para.3.
    \219\31 U.S.C. Sec. 1301(a); see also Ethics Manual at 279.
    \220\Members' Handbook (2018) at 4; Exhibit 1 at 3-4. See also 
Ethics Manual at 277.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Notwithstanding these restrictions, the ``general terms, 
conditions, and specific duties of House employees 
traditionally have been within the discretion of the employing 
Member.''\221\ Accordingly, while a staffer is instructed to 
``give a full day's labor for a full day's pay,'' the employing 
Member may dictate what a ``full day's labor'' consists of.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \221\Ethics Manual at 267; see also Members' Handbook (2018) at 4 
(``the Member determines the terms and conditions of employment and 
service for their staff.''); Exhibit 1 at 3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Clause 8 aims to prevent fraud or misuse of the House 
payroll, particularly the use of ``ghost employee'' schemes. In 
such schemes, an employee is recorded on the payroll, but--with 
the Member's knowledge--does not perform official work 
equivalent to the earnings he or she collects. The ``ghost 
employee'' may be a real individual, or a fictitious person who 
is misrepresented on payroll records as a bona fide employee, 
whose wage or salary payments are then used for some 
impermissible purpose.\222\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \222\See U.S. v. Robinson, 903 F. Supp. 2d 766, 791 (E.D. Mo. 2012) 
(``[A]n employee who receives salary money for time in which he did not 
work or perform services is a `ghost' employee who is not receiving 
bona fide salary or wages''); U.S. v. Harloff, 815 F. Supp. 618, 619 
(W.D.N.Y. 1993) (citing U.S. v. Stout, 1990 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12343 
(E.D. Pa. 1990) (noting that 18 U.S.C. Sec. 666(c) authorizes 
prosecution based on ``ghost employees,'' or situations in which an 
employee ``invents fictitious workers and collects their `wages' for 
his/her own use'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Consistent with the animating purpose of House Rule XXIII, 
clause 8, and its predecessor, former Rule XLIII, clause 8, the 
Committee has historically found violations of the ``ghost 
employee'' rule in cases where Members have knowingly converted 
official funds, originally disbursed as staff compensation, for 
their personal financial benefit or other unauthorized 
use.\223\ For example, in The Matter of Representative Charles 
C. Diggs, Jr., the Committee found that Representative Diggs 
had inflated the salaries of several of his employees, beyond 
levels commensurate with their respective duties, to enable 
those employees to ``kick back'' the additional funds to 
Representative Diggs to pay certain personal and official 
expenses.\224\ The Committee also found that Representative 
Diggs had placed several individuals on his congressional 
payroll to compensate them for personal services they provided 
to him.\225\ On the basis of those findings, the Committee 
recommended censure to the House and required Representative 
Diggs to repay official funds for various violations of clause 
8.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \223\Before the permanent Committee on Standards of Official 
Conduct was created in 1967, and before the existence of either Rule 
XXIII, clause 8, or Rule XLIII, clause 8, various subcommittees of the 
House investigated Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. for 
expenditures he made as chairman of the Committee on Education and 
Labor, including salary payments he made to his wife over more than two 
years, even though she performed no official duties during that time. 
In the 90th and 91st Congresses, Representative Powell was removed from 
his chairmanship and fined, and an attempt was made to exclude him from 
the House. See Select Comm. Pursuant to H. Res. 1, In re Adam Clayton 
Powell, H. Rept. 90-27, 90th Cong., 1st Sess. 19-20, 31-32 (1967); see 
also Ethics Manual at 5.
    \224\Comm. on Standards of Official Conduct, In the Matter of 
Representative Charles H. Diggs, Jr., H. Rept. 96-351, 96th Cong., 1st 
Sess. 5-6, 44 (1979) (hereinafter Diggs).
    \225\Id. at 5.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Violations of clause 8 may also implicate federal criminal 
laws. During the 100th Congress, the Committee initiated an 
inquiry into allegations that Delegate Fofo I.F. Sunia 
authorized the disbursement of compensation to individuals who 
did not perform services for the House, in violation of Rule 
XLIII, clause 8.\226\ The Committee deferred its investigation 
at the request of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District 
of Columbia, which was actively investigating the matter.\227\ 
Delegate Sunia later pleaded guilty to having conspired to 
commit fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 371 (the criminal 
conspiracy statute) by submitting payroll forms and collecting 
salary checks for individuals who performed no work.\228\ Upon 
reviewing the evidence relating to the guilty pleas, the 
Committee found that Delegate Sunia had used the salary checks 
to pay for hotel and meal expenses for visiting constituents 
and staff, campaign expenses, and personal expenses of his 
family, in violation not only of the conspiracy statute, but 
also of the Code of Official Conduct and the Code of Ethics for 
Government Service.\229\ However, Delegate Sunia resigned 
before the Committee could hold a disciplinary hearing to 
consider sanctions.\230\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \226\Comm. on Standards of Official Conduct, Summary of Activities, 
One Hundredth Congress, H. Rept. 100-1125, 100th Cong., 2d Sess. 15-16 
(In the Matter of Delegate Fofo I.F. Sunia and Matthew K. Iuli).
    \227\Id. at 15.
    \228\Id. at 15-16.
    \229\Id. at 16.
    \230\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee has also found violations of the ``ghost 
employee'' rule where a Member did not profit or otherwise 
obtain a financial benefit from the misuse of official funds 
appropriated for staff compensation, but retained and paid an 
employee even though the Member knew the employee was not 
physically present to perform official work. In The Matter of 
Representative Austin J. Murphy, the Committee recommended, and 
the House voted to issue, a reprimand to Representative Murphy 
for various violations of law and House rules, including hiring 
and retaining an individual on his subcommittee staff who did 
not perform duties commensurate with the compensation he 
received.\231\ In that matter, the subcommittee's staff 
director began to have frequent absences from work.\232\ 
Indeed, despite his position as staff director, and the 
management responsibilities associated with the position, his 
frequent absences left staff ``wonder[ing] among themselves 
what [he] was doing.''\233\ Given the nature of the employee's 
responsibilities and the circumstances surrounding his 
absences, the Committee found that his attendance had 
deteriorated to the point that he was no longer performing the 
duties of his position and that Representative Murphy knew that 
the employee was not working, though he remained on the House 
payroll.\234\ Thus, the Committee concluded that Representative 
Murphy's conduct violated House Rule XLIII, clause 8.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \231\Comm. on Standards of Official Conduct, In the Matter of 
Representative Austin J. Murphy, H. Rept. 100-485, 100th Cong., 1st 
Sess. 5 (1987) (hereinafter Murphy).
    \232\Id. at 5.
    \233\Id. at 33.
    \234\Id. at 5.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In The Matter of Representative Barbara Rose Collins, the 
Committee found Representative Collins violated House Rule 
XLIII, clause 8, by providing several of her staff members with 
temporary salary raises that were not commensurate with 
official duties they performed.\235\ The Committee found that 
the pay increases--which Representative Collins was personally 
involved in implementing--were wholly unrelated to staff's 
performance of official duties. Rather, the Committee found 
that the raises were paid to Representative Collins' 
congressional staff to enable them to accompany her on a trip 
to Ghana that was personal in nature. Moreover, the Committee 
obtained evidence that Representative Collins had specifically 
linked payment of the salary increases to staff's willingness 
to participate in the trip.\236\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \235\Comm. on Standards of Official Conduct, In the Matter of 
Representative Barbara Rose Collins, H. Rept. 104-876, 104th Cong., 2d 
Sess. 35 (1997).
    \236\Id. at 35-36.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Finally, in The Matter of Representative Charles H. Wilson, 
the Committee found Representative Wilson hired a person whose 
salary was not commensurate with duties performed, in violation 
of XLIII, clause 8, when he employed a friend and political 
supporter as a congressional staffer.\237\ The individual was 
hired for the stated purpose of advising Representative Wilson 
on postal matters, preparing and editing a newsletter, and 
serving as a business liaison with the California business 
community. However, the Committee found many of the duties for 
which the staffer was paid were incidental to his role as 
Representative Wilson's personal confidant and campaign 
representative.\238\
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    \237\Comm. on Standards of Official Conduct, In the Matter of 
Representative Charles H. Wilson, H. Rept. 96-930, 96th Cong., 2d. 
Sess. 2 (1980).
    \238\Id. at 354-55.
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2. Representative Meadows' compensation of Mr. West

    Representative Meadows paid Mr. West a salary of at least 
$155,000 per year from the time he became a House employee on 
January 3, 2013 until the he left his employment with the House 
on August 15, 2015. In October 2014, Representative Meadows 
adjusted most of his employees' salaries, including Mr. West's 
salary, to a higher rate apparently for a year-end bonus.\239\ 
Representative Meadows adjusted Mr. West's salary from $155,000 
to $168,411, the maximum rate of pay at that time.\240\ The 
other staff who received the temporary pay increase in October 
had their pay adjusted back to their regular salary as of 
November 2014. Mr. West's salary remained at $168,411 for 
November and December 2014, was moved to $157,400 in January 
2015 and finally back to $155,000 in February 2015, where it 
remained until his employment ended on August 15, 2015. As a 
result, Mr. West received $3,552.74 of additional gross pay, 
apparently as a bonus, from October 2014 to January 2015, which 
coincides with when Mr. West began to be prohibited from 
entering the congressional offices and from contacting the 
female congressional staff.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \239\The D.C. Deputy Chief told the Committee that in 2014, 
Representative Meadows gave the staff bonuses in October so they could 
use them for the holidays. 18(a) Interview of Employee J.
    \240\Rate set by Order of the Speaker of the House of 
Representatives, pursuant to 2 U.S.C. Sec. 4532.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee examined Mr. West's duties and pay at the 
following junctures in his tenure with Representative Meadows: 
(1) Mid-October 2014 through April 1, 2015, when Mr. West was 
restricted from the congressional offices and from contacting 
most of the female employees, but still served as Chief of 
Staff; (2) April 1, 2015 to mid-June 2015, when Mr. West held 
the title of ``Senior Advisor'' and lost his supervisory 
responsibilities; and (3) Mid-June 2015 to August 2015, when 
Mr. West was paid ``severance'' and no longer served in any 
House position.
            i. Pay as Chief of Staff from Mid-October 2014--April 1, 
                    2015
    Representative Meadows has asserted Mr. West maintained all 
of his supervisory and managerial responsibilities over the 
more than five month period following the initial complaints of 
sexual harassment until he demoted Mr. West on April 1, 2015. 
The Committee found it difficult to understand how a chief of 
staff could perform some of the core functions of that 
position, particularly supervising all staff, when he was 
unable to speak with over half of the employees (those who were 
female) and could not set foot in any of the congressional 
offices. In fact, Mr. West himself told Representative Meadows 
when he was barred from the offices, ``I can't even do my 
job.''\241\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \241\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
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    When asked how Mr. West could do his job, Representative 
Meadows explained that Mr. West could continue to have 
conversations with the Deputies. He said, ``You know, to make 
the assumption that you have to have a personal interaction 
with a female employee to properly supervise would be to 
suggest that everything is a flat plane, and that you've got to 
have that. I mean, so he still had that same supervisory 
managerial role that he would have without the personal 
interaction . . .''\242\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \242\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
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    The Committee questions how this arrangement actually 
worked in practice and is concerned that Mr. West received an 
apparent bonus in the months following the allegations. 
However, the Committee has long held that Members have 
discretion over the terms, conditions and duties of House 
employees that they employ.\243\ Mr. West was still doing a 
``full day's labor.'' Even if the Committee believes the rate 
of pay he received was higher than what most Members would 
choose to pay an employee performing similar duties, it was 
still within the reasonable exercise of Representative Meadows' 
discretion. Accordingly, the Committee found no violation of 
clause 8 from mid-October 2014 to April 1, 2015.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \243\Ethics Manual at 267.
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            ii. Pay as Senior Advisor from April 1, 2015--Mid-June 2015
    After Mr. West was demoted to Senior Advisor on April 1, 
2015, Representative Meadows told the Committee Mr. West lost 
his supervisory responsibilities.\244\ While Representative 
Meadows said that Mr. West was still ``operating,'' he admitted 
that he considered this a ``transition period'' and he did not 
follow up with Mr. West as much as he should have to ensure 
that he was doing his job.\245\ The mileage reimbursements that 
Mr. West received when he was Senior Advisor show he traveled 
on 14 of 48 possible working days, approximately thirty percent 
of the time, presumably for constituent meetings.\246\ As 
demonstrated by Representative Meadows' and Mr. West's 
testimony, they were not on the same page as to what Mr. West's 
responsibilities were as Senior Advisor.\247\ The rest of 
Representative Meadows' congressional staff did not know that 
Mr. West was even on staff at this time, let alone what he was 
doing, which further suggests that Mr. West's work during this 
time was infrequent and inessential.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \244\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \245\Id.
    \246\See Exhibit 13.
    \247\See 18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows; 18(a) Interview 
of Kenny West.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    When asked why he did not change Mr. West's pay when his 
responsibilities changed, Representative Meadows told the 
Committee, ``if I was in the private sector, I would have left 
his pay the same and figured out a way to get him gone. . . . I 
had no idea that I was violating any kind of [rule]--in fact, 
quite the opposite.''\248\ He elaborated, ``I think that's the 
normal way that you would do this in the private sector, and I 
assumed that that's the way that we would do business, you 
know, in this environment.''\249\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \248\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \249\Id.
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    Representative Meadows does not work in the private sector, 
and the payments that he authorized despite the substantial 
decrease in work by Mr. West were made with public funds. The 
Committee credits Representative Meadows' testimony that he did 
not intend to violate the rules regarding compensation for 
House employees. Nonetheless, Mr. West's terms, conditions, and 
duties of his employment drastically changed during this time 
period, but his compensation did not. The Committee has stated 
previously that when an employee's time working in the 
congressional office substantially decreases, a corresponding 
decrease in pay is appropriate.\250\ The Committee has 
previously found Members to have violated House rules where 
they used official funds to compensate House employees who did 
not do work commensurate with their pay.\251\ Further, the 
Committee has long held that ignorance of a House rule is no 
excuse for violating it, or defense to an adverse action.\252\ 
Thus, the Committee found that Representative Meadows violated 
both the letter and spirit of House Rule XXIII, clause 8 during 
the two and a half months Mr. West was Senior Advisor.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \250\Ethics Manual at 136.
    \251\See e.g., Murphy at 5 (Member violated clause 8 by keeping the 
staff director of the Committee that he chaired on the payroll despite 
knowing he was not fulfilling the responsibilities of his position); 
Richardson at 91-92 (Member violated clause 8 by retaining a full time 
staffer who actually spent most of her time performing campaign work).
    \252\Whitfield at 45 (``a Member's mistaken belief in their 
compliance with the rules does not excuse a violation of those 
rules'').
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            iii. Severance from Mid-June 2015--August 15, 2015
    After Mr. West completed his official work as Senior 
Advisor, Representative Meadows payed him ``severance'' by 
leaving him on House payroll for two months when he was not 
working. There is no dispute that Mr. West was not giving a 
``full day's labor for a full day's pay'' for those two months. 
The Committee acknowledges that there was little and 
inconsistent guidance on severance payments available to the 
House community at the time Representative Meadows paid 
severance to Mr. West. That said, Representative Meadows sought 
no guidance from OHEC, the Committee, or any of the other 
appropriate source in determining the amount, terms, or 
conditions of the ``severance.''\253\ He has claimed that he 
consulted with OHEC after the fact and they told him that he 
handled the matter consistent with advice OHEC has offered in 
similar situations.\254\ However, the Committee was not privy 
to those communications. Representative Meadows also did not 
obtain anything of discernable value to the House in exchange 
for the ``severance'' he paid to Mr. West. For example, despite 
asserting that he paid the ``severance'' in part to avoid an 
age discrimination lawsuit, Representative Meadows did not 
obtain a waiver of legal claims against his office. By keeping 
Mr. West on the payroll without working, Representative Meadows 
retained an employee who did not perform duties commensurate 
with the compensation he received. As mentioned above, the 
Committee has previously found Members to have violated House 
rules where they used official funds to compensate House 
employees who did not do work commensurate with their pay.\255\ 
For this reason, the Committee found that Representative 
Meadows' payment of ``severance,'' by keeping Mr. West on House 
payroll for two months without performing any work, violated 
the letter and spirit of House Rule XXIII, clause 8.
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    \253\18(a) Interview of Representative Meadows.
    \254\Letter from Elliot S. Berke, Counsel to Representative 
Meadows, to Chairman Charles W. Dent and Ranking Member Linda T. 
Sanchez, Committee on Ethics (May 10, 2016) (Appendix B).
    \255\Supra Section V.C.2.ii.
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               D. REPAYMENT OF FUNDS TO THE U.S. TREASURY

    The Members' Handbook states, ``[e]ach Member is personally 
responsible for the payments of any official and 
representational expenses incurred that exceed the provided MRA 
or that are incurred but are not reimbursable under these 
regulations.''\256\ Consistent with this guidance, where 
Members have used official funds for impermissible purposes, 
the Committee has frequently directed them to repay any 
misspent funds.\257\ There have, however, been instances where 
the Committee has sanctioned a Member but has not required 
repayment of misused funds. Most notably, In the Matter of 
Representative Austin J. Murphy, the Committee recommended and 
the House voted to issue a reprimand for various misuses of 
official resources, including paying an absentee employee.\258\ 
In the Committee's discussion of the matter, it did not discuss 
repayment, and stated that, while Representative Murphy 
acknowledged misuse of official resources, he ``either 
disclaimed his knowledge or approval of such activity, or 
asserted that such instances were de minimis.''\259\
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    \256\Members' Handbook (2018) at 2; see also Exhibit 1 at 2; Ethics 
Manual at 323 (``Members may be personally liable for misspent funds or 
expenditures exceeding the MRA.'').
    \257\See, e.g., Comm. on Ethics, In the Matter of Representative 
Luis V. Gutierrez, H. Rept. 115-617, 115th Cong. 2d Sess. 29 (2018) 
(hereinafter Gutierrez) (Member was issued a reproval and required to 
repay $9,700 for misusing MRA funds to pay a contractor for services 
outside the scope of the contract and beyond permissible scope under 
CHA rules); Diggs at 17-18 (Member was required to repay House 
$40,031.66 for the ``personal benefit he received from his misconduct'' 
in giving his office staff raises and requiring them to pay certain of 
his personal expenses out of those raises); Powell at 19-20, 31-32 
(Member was removed from his chairmanship, fined $40,000 and an attempt 
was made to exclude him from the House for various acts, including 
misappropriating public funds for personal travel, and for paying his 
wife a salary though she performed no official duties; the Committee 
noted that the fine would ``offset any civil liability of Mr. Powell to 
the United States of America with respect to'' the allegations); 
Richardson at 15 (Member was reprimanded and fined $10,000 for her 
``misconduct,'' which included retaining a full time staffer who did 
not perform the duties of her office commensurate with compensation 
received).
    \258\Murphy at 5.
    \259\Id. at 4.
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    In this case, Representative Meadows cannot claim that he 
was unaware of Mr. West's pay when he was Senior Advisor or 
while being paid ``severance,'' because he was the one who 
authorized it. Further, Mr. West's pay was in no way de 
minimus: from April 1, 2015 to June 15, 2015 he made $32,291.68 
as Senior Advisor, and his two months of ``severance'' totaled 
$25,833.34. As such, reimbursement in this matter is 
appropriate, consistent with the Members' Handbook\260\ and the 
Committee's more recent precedent.\261\
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    \260\See Members' Handbook (2018) at 4; Exhibit 1 at 3.
    \261\See, e.g., Gutierrez at 29.
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    Accordingly, the Committee attempted to calculate the 
amount by which Representative Meadows overcompensated Mr. West 
during the time periods where he did not perform duties 
commensurate with his compensation, in violation of clause 8. 
As stated previously, when Mr. West was Senior Advisor from 
April 1, 2015 to June 15, 2015 he earned $32,291.68. Because 
the investigative record is inconclusive about the amount of 
official work Mr. West performed during that time period, it is 
difficult to estimate how much of that pay was commensurate 
with his duties. Even so, in recent matters, the Committee has 
directed Members to make repayments even where ``estimating [a] 
value is imprecise,''\262\ or determining a valuation ``is 
relatively complicated.''\263\ In that vein, the Committee has 
opted to take a conservative approach to calculating an 
appropriate reimbursement. While Representative Meadows and Mr. 
West described the Senior Advisor role differently, they both 
mentioned that Mr. West performed some form of outreach in the 
district. Consequently, the Committee decided to compare Mr. 
West's salary to the most senior employee in the district at 
that time, the District Deputy Chief, who had similar outreach 
responsibilities. The District Deputy Chief earned $14,791.68 
less than Mr. West for the period from April 1, 2015 to June 
15, 2015. While not an exact approach, the Committee believes 
that the difference between these salaries is a fair and 
reasonable amount for Representative Meadows to repay to the 
U.S. Treasury for the clause 8 violation related to the Senior 
Advisor role.
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    \262\See Comm. on Ethics, In the Matter of Allegations Relating to 
Representative Don Young, H. Rept. 113-487, 113th Cong. 2d Sess. 62 
(2014) (ISC could not determine the precise value of lodging and 
hunting services given to a Member because the host ``did not prepare 
an invoice for the trip'' and it was unclear what hunting services the 
Member took advantage of. Accordingly, the ISC valued the hunting 
services based on the least expensive option available).
    \263\Id. at 63 (ISC could not determine the actual value of food 
eaten by the Member, so it valued meals based on the maximum per diem 
rate for travel in the geographic area where the meals were taken).
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    The calculation for the repayment for Mr. West's 
``severance'' is much simpler. From June 15, 2015 to August 15, 
2015, Mr. West earned $25,833.34. There is no dispute that this 
portion of his salary was ``severance'' and that he did not do 
any meaningful work during that time period. Thus, the entire 
amount should be reimbursed to the U.S. Treasury for the clause 
8 violation related to impermissible severance.
    In sum, Representative Meadows must repay the U.S. Treasury 
a total of $40,625.02 for Mr. West's pay that was not 
commensurate with his duties and thus, violated House Rule 
XXIII, clause 8.\264\ The Committee directs Representative 
Meadows to repay that amount to the U.S. Treasury no later than 
May 15, 2020, and provide proof of repayment to the Committee 
by that date.
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    \264\Representative Meadows asked the Committee whether Mr. West's 
unused accrued leave was factored into the calculation of the amount of 
repayment to the U.S. Treasury. Representative Meadows did not, 
however, provide the Committee with any information regarding the 
amount of leave Mr. West may have accrued or the personnel policies in 
place in his office regarding accrual of leave. House regulations state 
that Members' offices ``may provide lump sum payments for accrued 
annual leave only if such leave was accrued in accordance with written 
personnel policies established prior to the accrual of such leave.'' 
Exhibit 1 at 9; see also Members' Handbook (2018) at 11.
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  E. REPRESENTATIVE MEADOWS' CONDUCT MERITS REPROVAL BY THE COMMITTEE

    The Committee concluded that all of the violations detailed 
in this Report are sufficient to warrant a reproval by the 
Committee. Although the Committee accepts Representative 
Meadows' assertions that his actions related to Mr. West's 
harassment and his payments to Mr. West when he was Senior 
Advisor and as ``severance'' were never intended to violate 
House Rules, they did. He was ultimately responsible for 
ensuring that his office was free from discrimination and any 
perception of discrimination. He failed to adequately do so, in 
violation of clauses 1 and 2 of the Code of Official Conduct. 
Further, his attempts to transition Mr. West out of the office 
precipitated another violation of the Code of Official Conduct, 
by employing Mr. West when he was not performing duties 
commensurate with his pay, in violation of the letter and 
spirit of clause 8. The Committee has previously issued 
reprovals to Members who unknowing violated House Rules, but 
the Committee determined should have taken additional steps to 
ensure their conduct was consistent with the Code of Official 
Conduct.\265\
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    \265\See Whitfield at 45 (citing In the Matter of Allegations 
Relating to Representative Phil Gingrey, H. Rept. 113-664, 113th Cong. 
2d Sess. 25 (2014) (finding violations of House Rules, and issuing a 
reproval, even though ``the Committee credited Representative Gingrey's 
assertion that he believed his actions were consistent with House 
Rules.'')); see also In the Matter of Allegations Relating to 
Representative Shelley Berkley, H. Rept. 112-716, 112th Cong. 2d Sess. 
10 (2012) (reproval was appropriate even though ``[t]he ISC found that 
Representative Berkley mistakenly believed the rules governing what 
assistance her office could provide to her husband's practice required 
only that they treat him in the same manner by which they treated any 
other constituent.'').
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                             VI. CONCLUSION

    The Committee takes allegations of sexual harassment and 
discrimination extremely seriously. Mr. West's behavior toward 
the female employees in Representative Meadows' office, 
regardless of whether or not a federal court would consider it 
sexual harassment under Title VII, has no place in the House of 
Representatives. In 2014, the Committee advised Members ``to 
scrupulously avoid even the impression of a workplace tainted 
by sexism.''\266\ The Committee emphatically reiterates that 
message again today.
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    \266\Hastings at 16.
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    Representative Meadows could have and should have done more 
to ensure that his congressional office was free from 
discrimination or the perception of discrimination. While 
Representative Meadows did take some important immediate steps 
after learning of the allegations of sexual harassment by Mr. 
West, he did not do enough to address the allegations or to 
prevent potential further harassment or retaliation. His 
failure to take decisive action led to his retention of an 
employee who did not perform duties commensurate with his pay. 
Based on the totality of the circumstances, the Committee 
decided to reprove Representative Meadows for his conduct in 
this matter. Additionally, the Committee concluded that 
Representative Meadows must reimburse the U.S. Treasury in the 
amount of $40,625.02 for Mr. West's salary that was not 
commensurate with his work.
    The Committee is conscious of the current climate, as the 
nation seeks a more full-throated societal condemnation of 
sexual harassment than what has been the norm of past 
generations. As representatives of the people, the House should 
be a leader in this national conversation. It is the 
Committee's hope that this Report will not only hold 
Representative Meadows accountable for the inadequacy of his 
response to allegations of sexual harassment against someone 
under his supervision, but serve as a caution to the entire 
House community to be sensitive to the potential for sexual 
harassment and discrimination. Amid an evolving national 
conversation about sexual harassment, Members' offices should 
serve as an example for the modern American workplace, and 
accordingly those offices should be professional and fair 
environments for all who work within them.
    Upon publication of this Report and Representative Meadows' 
reimbursement of funds to the U.S. Treasury, the Committee 
considers the matter closed.

           VII. STATEMENT UNDER HOUSE RULE XIII, CLAUSE 3(c)

    The Committee made no special oversight findings in this 
Report. No budget statement is submitted. No funding is 
authorized by any measure in this Report.


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