Patrick Meehan won't run again for Congress amid accusations

Mitchell Layton | NHLI | Getty Images

Mitchell Layton | NHLI | Getty Images

The report comes less than a week after an article in The New York Times said the Republican from Pennsylvania used thousands in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment complaint with a former aide.

The Times report spurred Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan to call for an Ethics Committee investigation and Meehan's removal from the committee.

"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 his retirement letter Thursday, obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

For Meehan, it landed as he already faced a hard reelection bid in the Seventh Congressional District, a moderate suburban district, in a year that has seen a sharp national backlash to sexual harassment.

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.

The former aide made the complaint last summer to the congressional Office of Compliance after Meehan became hostile toward her when she did not reciprocate his romantic interest in her, and she left the job, the Times reported. Asked why he chose to confidentially settle the claim using taxpayer money, Meehan said House attorneys advised him it was a practice that had been used before.

Rep. Trent Franks testifying before a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington DC

He said he reacted "poorly" when he found out she began a serious relationship with another man. "I need to own it because it is my own conduct that fueled the matter".

Jim Lee says the race for Meehan's seat could be one of the most expensive races for this election season.

He told reporters that while he had struggled with his feelings, he also insisted that he had kept their relationship professional.

Feeling he had handled the news of her boyfriend "poorly", Meehan later wrote her the two-page note, which he said was meant to clear the air and encourage her in her new relationship - and which his office shared with the Inquirer Tuesday.

Davis recently told WAND News the House of Representatives is already in the process of making every dime spent by members of Congress accessible to the public.

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