Harassment allegations force out yet another lawmaker in Congress

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For the second time in three weeks, a Republican member of the U.S. House resigned while under an ethics investigation over charges of sexual harassment, as Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) on Friday pledged to repay taxpayers within 30 days for the money that was used to fund a legal settlement with a former employee.

“I will pay $39,000 to the U.S. Treasury to reimburse for the severance payments that was made from my office account,” Meehan said in a statement.

Like ex-Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), who resigned earlier this month, Meehan had already announced he would not run for re-election, after allegations surfaced about sexual harassment involving a woman who worked in his office.

But with the House Ethics Committee reviewing the matters, both men decided to leave before their term ended, effectively ending those investigations.

While Meehan has pledged to repay the money from his harassment settlement, that promise had previously been made as well by Farenthold – but there is no indication that he will follow through, and pay the $84,000 to Uncle Sam.

In fact, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said earlier in the week that the $84,000 tab for Farenthold should be pay off the cost of a special election to fill his seat in Congress.

“I am urging you to give those funds back to the counties in your district to cover the costs of the June 30, 2018 special election,” Gov. Abbott wrote in a letter to Farenthold earlier this week.

Meehan and Farenthold aren’t the only members to be forced out under these circumstances in the 115th Congress:

“I fully respect Congressman Meehan’s decision to resign,” said Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), the head of the campaign arm of House Republicans.

“We must continue to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” Stivers said in a statement.


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