Congressman Pat Meehan announces resignation

PA Rep Patrick Meehan Resigns, Pledges to Pay Back $39000 Amid Sexual Harassment Probe

Rep. Patrick Meehan is resigning from Congress effective immediately, the Pennsylvania Republican announced Friday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called for an Ethics panel investigation of Meehan, 62, after The New York Times reported on the accusations against him in January.

Rep. Pat Meehan (eight) (R-Pa.) talks to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) before a House Oversight Committee hearing on September 2013 in Washington, D.C. Meehan, who was the subject of an ethics investigation, resigned on Friday. Meehan had asked the committee, which he used to be a member of, to review the allegations against him.

Married Meehan was accused by his much younger former aide of making unwanted overtures to her after she became involved with another man.

Having stayed, Meehan said he believes he would be exonerated of any wrongdoing, but didn't want to put his staff "through the rigors of an Ethics Committee investigation".

Rep. Meehan said in a statement that he will pay $39,000 to the U.S. Treasury to reimburse for the severance package that was made from his office account. His statement said he did not want to leave office "with any question of violating the trust of taxpayers".

"I recognize that there are constituents who are disappointed in the manner in which I handled the situation that lead to my decision not to seek reelection and wish I had done better by them", he added. "We must continue to hold ourselves to a higher standard", National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers said Friday.

Governor Tom Wolf has 10 days to set a date for a special election. The Times reported that she had lodged her complaint last summer with Congress' Office of Compliance after Meehan became hostile toward her and she left the job. He said in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer that while he had developed deep "affection" for a former staffer and saw her as a "soul mate", he never pursued a romantic relationship with her, contrary to her claims. "Gov. Wolf will make a final decision regarding the timing of a special election given Rep. Meehan's immediate resignation in short order".

He said it would be a waste of money considering the 7th District will be replaced by the 5th after a redistricting ordered this year by the state Supreme Court.

Meehan declined to reveal any future plans.

The Cook Political Report labels Pennsylvania's Seventh District, which Meehan has represented since 2010, as leaning Democratic in the upcoming election.

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