FEATURED:

GOP rep: Taxpayer money should not pay for settlements

Rep. Leonard LanceLeonard LanceRepublicans seek to distance themselves from Trump remarks GOP angst over midterms grows Overnight Finance: Congress barrels toward another shutdown crisis | Canada worries Trump will withdraw from NAFTA | Blue-state Republicans push tax law changes | Chamber CEO calls out Bannon, Warren MORE (R-N.J.) on Wednesday said taxpayer money should not be used to pay sexual harassment settlements for members of Congress, adding that he would back a measure that would make individual congressional offices pay settlements themselves.

"I believe transparency is the best way to proceed regarding these matters," Lance said on CNN's "New Day." "I was not even aware of this."

Pressed by CNN's Chris Cuomo on whether he believed taxpayer funds should be used to cover the costs of sexual misconduct settlements involving lawmakers and their staffers, Lance bluntly replied, "no."

ADVERTISEMENT

Cuomo then asked if he would support a measure that would require those payments to come out of congressional office coffers, to which Lance replied, "yes."

Lance's comments come as a growing number of powerful men in politics, business, media and beyond face allegations of sexual impropriety and harassment, particularly against female employees and co-workers.

Some lawmakers, including Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandBritish health secretary fires back at Trump over universal health care claims Trump on Dems’ ‘universal' health-care push: ‘No thanks’ Gillibrand calls for DOJ to investigate US Olympic Committee over abuse scandal MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), have blasted the process by which congressional staffers can report misconduct by lawmakers, saying it lacks transparency and revealing that settlement money comes out of a Treasury Department fund. They have introduced legislation to change that process. 

On Tuesday, Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersHouse passes landmark bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy on Capitol Hill Wynn Resorts stock price plummets after sexual misconduct report CNN: Judges rarely face discipline for sexual harassment complaints MORE Jr. (D-Mich.), the longest-serving current congressman, became the subject of allegations that he made inappropriate and unwanted sexual advances and remarks to former female staffers.

It was revealed that he had settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged he fired her because she would not "succumb to [his] sexual advances."

Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenOvernight Finance: Senators near two-year budget deal | Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' over immigration | Dow closes nearly 600 points higher after volatile day | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 | Pawlenty leaving Wall Street group Pawlenty departing Wall Street group as campaign rumors swirl Bachmann won't run for Franken's Senate seat because she did not hear a 'call from God' MORE (D-Minn.) has also faced allegations of sexual misconduct.

Last week, a Los Angeles radio show host accused the comedian-turned-senator of forcibly kissing and groping her in 2006. And this week, another woman said Franken groped her while the two were taking a photo together in 2010.