GOP rep: Taxpayer money should not pay for settlements

Rep. Leonard LanceLeonard LanceGOP super PAC targets House districts with new M ad buys GOP staves off immigration revolt — for now House Republicans wrestle over immigration deal 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."

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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 GillibrandOvernight Defense: Defense spending bill amendments target hot-button issues | Space Force already facing hurdles | Senators voice 'deep' concerns at using military lawyers on immigration cases Senators 'deeply troubled' military lawyers being used for immigration cases Senate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump 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 ConyersPortland activist stages ‘reparations happy hour’ Conyers III won't appear on primary ballot in race to replace his father Conyers's son in danger of missing ballot in Michigan 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 FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix Richard Painter puts out 'dumpster fire' in first campaign ad Bill Clinton says 'norms have changed' in society for what 'you can do to somebody against their will' 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.