DiZoglio Pushes for Audit to Gauge Prevalence of NDAs

Sen. Diana DiZoglio (right) and Rep. Alyson Sullivan called on Auditor Suzanne Bump to look at non-disclosure agreements during a Monday press conference at the Statehouse. (Courtesy photograph)

More than a year after the House overhauled its sexual harassment policies to limit the use of non-disclosure agreements, two legislators requested that Auditor Suzanne Bump examine the prevalence of such legal agreements across state government.

Sen. Diana DiZoglio, a Methuen Democrat, and Rep. Alyson Sullivan, an Abington Republican, called on Bump to produce a report looking at how many non-disclosure agreements exist statewide by branch and agency of government and how much public money has been spent implementing those agreements.

The pair have asked that the review go back at least five years.

“We know they're still being used at the State House, but how prevalent are these publicly funded non-disclosure agreements statewide. These are the questions we have, and we want answers. The public has a right to know,” DiZoglio said Monday, according to the State House News Service.

A spokesman for Bump, however, said that the auditor had already told DiZoglio that such a review was “not feasible” given the fact that non-disclosure agreements can be used in “a myriad of circumstances outside of sexual harassment and abuse claims.”

The demand for the audit came after Gov. Charlie Baker recently answered a question about the use of non-disclosure agreements in his office by indicating that they would only be used if requested by a victim.

The Senate in January voted to ban the use of NDAs in that chamber, but an overwhelming majority of House members voted to maintain their current rules that preserve the option for victims seeking confidentiality.

DiZoglio says the House rule is “filled with loopholes” and can be exploited by those in powerful positions. She has filed legislation to prevent public funding from being used for employment agreements that contain NDAs, and U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan and Ayanna Pressley on Monday applauded that effort.

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