GOP rep: Taxpayer money should not pay for settlements

Rep. Leonard LanceLeonard LanceGun debate to shape 2020 races GOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Bottom Line 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 GillibrandThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight Biden fights for attention in coronavirus news cycle Lawmakers already planning more coronavirus stimulus after T package 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 ConyersFormer impeachment managers clash over surveillance bill VA could lead way for nation on lower drug pricing The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems release first transcripts from impeachment probe witnesses 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 FrankenAl Franken blasts Susan Collins: She'll let Trump 'get away with anything' Bill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far 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.