House ethics panel will investigate Rep. Patrick Meehan

25 January, 2018, 02:07 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Patrick Meehan 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

Delaware County Republicans on Monday urged voters not to jump to conclusions regarding allegations that U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-7 of Chadds Ford, used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint from a former staffer.

Meehan acknowledged much of what the Times reported, including that he expressed his affection to the woman over ice cream and that he was upset when told of her relationship with another man.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Meehan used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim against him for an undisclosed amount.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., removed Meehan from the Ethics Committee on Saturday after the New York Times published allegations that he made unwanted romantic advances toward a female employee then paid her a settlement from his congressional office account to keep her silent. She added that Ryan believes Meehan should reimburse taxpayers for the settlement payment.

Meehan said he told the aide that he was "happily married" and "not interested in a relationship, particularly not any sexual relationship".

He calls her a soulmate but denies any sexual harassment.

Still, he admitted to the Inquirer that when she started dating another man seriously, he acted "selfishly".


Meehan claimed that he remained loyal to his wife throughout and said that "in hindsight" he should have considered his position of power over the aide, but claimed "there is no hierarchy" in his office.

Strong said the Ethics Committee, which investigates harassment claims, will investigate the allegations against Meehan. After the two resolved the situation, according to Meehan, he chose to write her a two-page letter expressing how his staffer was a "complete partner to me and you have brought me much happiness". "I think that the idea of soul mate is that sort of person" with whom you can "go through remarkable experiences together".

The woman filed a formal complaint, and after going through Congress' investigative process, she and the representative settled previous year. The district's boundaries could change too after the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court recently struck down the state's congressional district map as a violation of state law and ordered new districts to be drawn before February 15.

Republicans, however, have taken a more hands-off approach, citing Meehan's denials and saying they hope more facts will come out.

"The Committee notes that the mere fact that it is investigating these allegations, and publicly disclosing its review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee", Brooks and Deutch said.

'Every step of the process was handled ethically and appropriately, ' Meehan's office said.

Meehan also instructed the congressional attorneys handling his case to ask the complainant's counsel to release all parties from the confidentiality requirements of the pact. The attorney also dismissed Meehan's request that the nondisclosure provision of the settlement be waived.

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