GOP rep loses spot on Ethics Committee over sexual harassment settlement

US Representative Patrick Meehan Republican of Pennsylvania may be the target of a House Ethics Committee investigation following a published report that he used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint

Report: Congressman leading charge against assault settles own misconduct case

A Republican congressman was removed from the House Ethics Committee on Saturday after it was reported he used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle a misconduct complaint by a former staffer.

According to The Times, Meehan professed his romantic desire for his decades-younger staffer previous year after she began seriously dating someone outside his congressional office.

The aide then became involved in a serious relationship with someone outside of the office, which prompted Meehan to profess his romantic desires to her in person and in a handwritten letter, according to the report.

Meehan denies he harassed or mistreated the former aide.

House Speaker Paul Ryan's office says the allegations against Meehan must be investigated by the House Ethics Committee and that Meehan should repay any taxpayer funds used to settle the case.

The Times writes that the aide followed the standard practice as part of the complaint process, but received pushback from Meehan's office and congressional lawyers who alleged the aide had "misinterpreted" Meehan's advances. Ryan is also removing Meehan from the committee.

The aide then filed a complaint and ultimately left the job.

Although Meehan, a former U.S. Attorney, was seen as facing a challenge in the 2018 race, his large cash reserves would likely have made him a tough incumbent to beat. She ended up leaving her role, and later reached the confidential agreement with Meehan's office, the report said. Those familiar with the payout said it was thousands of dollars.

Ronickher said the Ethics Committee investigation must include the fact that Meehan, in his Saturday statement responding to the Times article, "knowingly breached confidentiality in his agreement by discussing the case and the terms of any potential settlement agreement".

This account is based on interviews with 10 people, including friends and former colleagues of the former aide and others who worked around the office.

Ryan apparently is not calling for Meehan to resign, according to the Roll Call.

"Today I joined with countless women across the country to demand equal treatment and speak out against sexual harassment", Moro said in a statement. The speaker is committed to rooting out sexual misconduct in the House and providing victims the resources they need.

Strong added: "Though Mr Meehan has denied the allegations, they must be fully and immediately investigated by the House ethics committee". Meehan was voted in to support the best interests of the 7th District, but instead used his power to personally and financially attack a staffer.

"I think this mortally wounds his candidacy for re-election", Delaware County Democratic Chairman David Landau said.

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