Midstate GOP Congressman Patrick Meehan removed from Ethics Committee
- Author: Joey Payne Jan 22, 2018,
Jan 22, 2018, 1:27
Meehan had been a member of the House Ethics Committee, a group charged with investigating several recent sexual harassment allegations against congressmen, but has been asked by Ryan to step down from the committee effective immediately. After filing a complaint a year ago alleging sexual harassment, the woman reached a confidential agreement with Meehan's office.
A spokesman for Meehan told NBC10 Saturday that the congressman "denies the allegations".
Meehan, 62, is a married father of three.
Meehan has served as a congressman since 2011. The 7th district includes most of Delaware County and parts of Chester, Berks and Montgomery counties. The senior employee left the job; not long after, Meehan signaled to the woman that he was attracted to her as well.
The removal follows a report in the New York Times alleging that Meehan used taxpayer money to settle an alleged misconduct complaint made by a former aide.
The aide then filed a formal complaint with the congressional Office of Compliance after her time in the office grew increasingly aggressive and toxic.
Meehan's accuser paid her own lawyers' fees, and the settlement she reached was not enough to cover her legal and living expenses while she was out of work, according to a person with whom she discussed her finances.
The exact amount of the settlement could not be determined because it was paid from the congressional office fund, the Times said.
Meehan's office said he denies the allegations and has requested that all parties be released from confidentiality agreements "to ensure an open airing of all the facts".
Meehan demanded confidentiality, attorney Alexis Ronickher told Philly.com. "We will not allow our client to be victimized twice by this man", Ronicker said. The Times's report is based on interviews with 10 people.
"Claims of sexual abuse should be taken seriously", Meehan continued. "With respect to resolving any allegation made against the office, Congressman Meehan would only act with advice of House Counsel and consistent with House Ethics Committee guidance".
Meehan agreed to be reviewed by the committee. "While we united, it was revealed that Rep. Meehan - a member of the House Ethics Committee - used his position of power to sexually harass a member of his staff and then employed public funds to be used as hush money in a settlement".
Drew McGinty, a Democrat running against Meehan in the 2018 midterm elections, called on the lawmaker to immediately resign over the reported use of taxpayer dollars to settle the complaint.
Meehan's former aide declined multiple requests for comment.