Thursday, 24 October, 2019

Rep. Meehan will not seek reelection after sexual harassment backlash

Rep. Meehan will not seek reelection after sexual harassment backlash Rep. Meehan will not seek reelection after sexual harassment backlash
Patty Aguilar | 26 January, 2018, 16:35

Republican Rep. Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania informed his colleagues Thursday that he will not seek re-election after news reports revealed he settled a sexual harassment claim with a former aide using tax payer dollars.

Though Meehan described developing an "affection" for the young aide and described her as a soul mate - a comment which has drawn national ridicule and anger - he tried to explain the term again in his letter.

"Unfortunately, recent events concerning my office and the settlement of certain harassment allegations have become a major distraction", Meehan wrote in the letter obtained by Philly.

Meehan has chose to leave the House, sources in Congress and the Pennsylvania Republican Party confirmed Thursday night, saying he won't defend his seat in November's election.

Republican Patrick Meehan (R-PA) debates the legality of President Obama's executive action on immigration with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 2, 2014. "I need to own it because it is my own conduct that fueled the matter".

Meehan told the Inquirer on Tuesday that he would repay the public funds used to settle the case if the House Ethics Committee's investigation finds that he harassed the woman.

Two other congressmen, Democrat Ruben Kihuen and Republican Blake Farenthold, have said they will not seek re-election next year after they were the subject of sexual misconduct accusations.

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The US embassy in Islamabad said it had no further comment on the Pakistani military's claim. They said the men were from the Haqqani network of the Afghan Taliban.

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Meehan's former aide came forward over the summer, telling the congressional Office of Compliance that veteran lawmaker became hostile when she did not return his advances. "We must always hold ourselves to the highest possible standard - especially while serving in Congress", Stivers said.

The settlement had been kept secret, and Meehan has continually refused to say how much taxpayer money he paid as part of the agreement.

The House Ethics Committee on Monday opened an investigation into the claims and removed Meehan from his post on the panel.

He told the Philadelphia Daily News that he never considered pursuing a romantic or sexual relationship with the aide.

Initially, Meehan had said he would run for a fifth term.

Democrat Hillary Clinton narrowly won the district in the 2016 presidential election, and winning it likely becomes an even bigger target for Democrats animated by anti-Trump fervor in Philadelphia's suburbs, and more hard for Republicans.

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