GOP rep: Taxpayer money should not pay for settlements

Rep. Leonard LanceLeonard LanceMonmouth poll: Incumbent GOP candidate trails Dem challenger in New Jersey House race Blue-state Republicans say they will vote against 'tax cuts 2.0' if it extends SALT cap House panels set up to probe indicted GOP Reps. Collins, Hunter 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 GillibrandTeen girls pen open letter supporting Kavanaugh accuser: We imagine you at that party and 'see ourselves' Poll: Most Massachusetts voters don't think Warren should run for president in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — GOP again has momentum on Kavanaugh rollercoaster 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 ConyersConservative activist disrupts campaign event for Muslim candidates Michigan Dems elect state's first all-female statewide ticket for midterms Record numbers of women nominated for governor, Congress 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 FrankenElection Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls #MeToo era shows there's almost never only one accuser, says Hill.TV's Krystal Ball Hypocrisy in Kavanaugh case enough to set off alarms in DC 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.