Midstate GOP congressman denies misconduct claim

Rep. Patrick Meehan R-Pa. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin  AP

Rep. Patrick Meehan R-Pa. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin AP

The New York Times published a report on the morning of January 20 alleging that Meehan used "thousands of dollars in taxpayer money" to settle a misconduct complaint after a former female aide accused him of making unwanted romantic propositions.

Meehan, 62, had reportedly expressed an interest in the young woman's life and the aide had regarded the congressman as a sort of "father figure", according to those close to the office and those who the woman had discussed her time in the office with.

According to the Times's report, Meehan's aide initially went to the congressman in 2016 to report that a senior male member of his staff had professed his attraction to her.

The woman filed a complaint with the Office of Compliance alleging sexual harassment.

Meehan's office and the woman eventually reached a confidential agreement and Meehan used thousands of taxpayer dollars to settle the claim, sources told The New York Times.

A spokesman for Meehan told NBC10 Saturday that the congressman "denies the allegations". A former US attorney, he has served on the Ethics Committee since 2013.

As the Times notes, Meehan has been pushing for protections for domestic violence victims since his time as a local prosecutor and in Congress has sponsored legislation mandating the reporting of sexual violence. However, his office said Meehan would only act with advice of House lawyers and in line with House Ethics Committee guidance to resolve any allegation. Ryan is also removing Meehan from the committee.

The employee's accusations were investigated, Elizandro said, without giving further details.

"Every step of the process was handled ethically and appropriately", Meehan's spokesman continued.

Meehan requested that the congressional attorneys handling the case ask the complainant's counsel to release all parties from their confidentiality requirements to ensure a full and open airing of all the facts, Elizandro said. Strong said the House will soon pass major reforms to how the House handles sexual harassment cases, "and the speaker will apply these new standards to the allegations made against Mr. Meehan".

Ronicker described the request as a "dirty political move" by this man and an attempt to save his political career by presenting himself as a transparent person.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Meehan should resign. "That is wrong and unacceptable", Wolf said in a statement. Several of the Democrats, including Dan Muroff, Drew McGinty and Molly Sheehan, Saturday called on him to get out of the race and resign office after the report first broke Saturday. "I'm just stunned", he said in a tweet. "Meehan was voted in to advocate for the best interests of the 7th district, but instead used his power to personally and financially attack a staffer".

Latest News