House Ethics Committee member used taxpayer money to settle sexual misconduct complaint


According to the New York Times, Meehan utilized taxpayer funds to settle a misconduct complaint raised against him by a former aide that accused him of making unwanted romantic advances towards her. Meehan had apparently been very interested in the much-younger aide's personal life for a while and ended up expressing his unrequited feelings for her at one point.

Meehan's office and the woman eventually reached a confidential agreement and Meehan used thousands of taxpayer dollars to settle the claim, sources told The New York Times. According to the Times, Meehan, who is 62 and married with three sons, professed "romantic desires" to the decades-younger aide previous year and turned hostile towards her when she rejected his overtures.

The Times notes that the exact amount of the settlement between Meehan and the aide "could not be determined", due to the fact that Meehan's office paid it from a congressional office fund, allowing for payments to be disguised as salary and reported months after they were made.

Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., has been removed from the House Ethics Committee over reports that he used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by a former aide.

The handling of that complaint - which included an aggressive pushback by representatives from Meehan's office and congressional lawyers, who suggested she had misinterpreted the congressman's behavior - demoralized the aide.

The aide then filed a complaint alleging sexual harassment, and ultimately left the job.

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Alexis Ronickher, an attorney for the former aide, called the request "a desperate effort to preserve his career". The Times's report is based on interviews with 10 people.

Meehan said that investigatory process, at the guidcance of the House Counsel and hte Ethics Committeee, was handled "ethically and appropriately".

Democrats running to challenge Meehan's seat this year also called on Meehan to resign Saturday.

"Today I joined with countless women across the country to demand equal treatment and speak out against sexual harassment", Moro said in a statement.

"Reporting alleged assault will help victims understand their rights, like pursuing an investigation and pressing charges, and the resources available, such as local sexual assault programs", Meehan had said in a press release on the legislation. 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.

"If he doesn't resign, he should be stripped of his committee assignments. I'm just stunned", he said in a tweet.