Pa. congressman Patrick Meehan used taxpayer money to settle misconduct complaint

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Patrick Meehan R-Pa. during a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday Jan. 3 2017

Report: Congressman leading charge against assault settles own misconduct case

The aide then became involved in a serious relationship with someone outside of the office, which prompted Meehan to profess his romantic desires to her in person and in a handwritten letter, according to the report. After filing a complaint previous year alleging sexual harassment, the woman reached a confidential agreement with Meehan's office. "Though Mr. Meehan has denied the allegations, they must be fully and immediately investigated by the House Ethics Committee".

Meehan, 62, is a married father of three.

Meehan represents the 7th district of Pennsylvania.

Meehan has served as a congressman since 2011.

Rep. Pat Meehan's (R-Pa.) office on Saturday denied allegations that he harassed the former aide who received the settlement, which came from his congressional office budget.

The woman eventually started working from home and then left the job, The New York Times reported.

The exact amount of the settlement could not be determined, partly because Meehan's office paid it from a congressional office fund that allows such payments to be disguised as salary and reported months after they were made.

"No matter their party, members and candidates must all be held to the highest standard", said a statement from Meredith Kelly, a spokeswoman for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

"Every step of the process was handled ethically and appropriately", he said.

He added: "At Congressman Meehan's request, the congressional attorneys handling the case have asked the complainant's counsel to release all parties from the confidentiality requirements of the agreement to ensure a full and open airing of all the facts".

Alexis Ronickher, the former aide's attorney, pushed back, saying Meehan's statement was "a desperate effort to preserve his career" because he is the one who "demanded" confidentiality and is only speaking out now that it has become public. The Times's report is based on interviews with 10 people.

Meehan was a member of the House Ethics Committee until Saturday, when Ryan removed him in response to the Times report.

Meehan's alleged behavior comes as several other congressmen and a senator resigned or said they would not seek-reelection amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Ryan spoke with Meehan Saturday and the Pennsylvania Republican agreed to submit himself to the Ethics Committee for review.

He also issued a statement that read, "The New York Times has outlined a deeply disturbing case of sexual harassment, a conspiracy of silence and intimidation, and the abuse of power and taxpayer dollars initiated by (U.S.) Rep".

Meehan's former aide declined multiple requests for comment. "His actions are appalling and today I am calling on Meehan to immediately resign from Congress", McGinty said in a statement.

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