Rep. Pat Meehan Nixes Re-Election Bid in Wake of Staff Harassment Settlement

UNITED STATES - APRIL 10: Rep. Pat Meehan, R-Pa., attends a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee markup in Rayburn Building to consider a resolution holding former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for invoking her Fifth Amendment right at two separate hearings on the IRS's alleged targeting …
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Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) announced that he will not seek re-election after news surfaced that he used taxpayer funding to pay a settlement to a former staffer he called his “soul mate.”

Meehan has denied he had sexually harassed the female staffer and, until Thursday, defended his behavior and pledged to run for re-election, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News reported.

“After consultation with my wife, Carolyn, and with my three sons, and after prayerful reflection, I write to inform you that I will not seek re-election to the United States Congress for the Seventh Congressional District in 2018,” Meehan wrote in a letter to his campaign chairman. “Today I communicated the same to the office of Speaker Paul Ryan.”

The New York Times reported on Saturday:

Representative Patrick Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican who has taken a leading role in fighting sexual harassment in Congress, used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle his own misconduct complaint after a former aide accused him last year of making unwanted romantic overtures to her, according to several people familiar with the settlement.

A married father of three, Mr. Meehan, 62, had long expressed interest in the personal life of the aide, who was decades younger and had regarded the congressman as a father figure, according to three people who worked with the office and four others with whom she discussed her tenure there.

But after the woman became involved in a serious relationship with someone outside the office last year, Mr. Meehan professed his romantic desires for her — first in person, and then in a handwritten letter — and he grew hostile when she did not reciprocate, the people familiar with her time in the office said.

The Times reported that the staffer reached a confidential agreement with Meehan that included a settlement in an undisclosed amount.

The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee issued a statement about Meehan’s retirement. “While I’m disappointed by the circumstances leading to Congressman Meehan’s retirement, I thank him for his dedication to his district,” Steve Stivers said. “We must always hold ourselves to the highest possible standard – especially while serving in Congress.”

“I am confident that the voters of Pennsylvania’s 7th District will elect a strong conservative who will represent their values,” Stivers said.

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