GOP rep: Taxpayer money should not pay for settlements
Rep. Leonard Lance says he was unaware of the congressional settlements, but says he would back a measure to stop tax-payer money from funding them https://t.co/k2ZZoMeDxT
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 22, 2017
Rep. Leonard Lance (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.”
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 Gillibrand (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 Conyers 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 Franken (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.