Sunday, 27 May, 2018

Rep. Meehan removed from ethics committee over sexual harassment settlement

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
Melody Ballard | 23 January, 2018, 02:06

Congressman Patrick Meehan has been removed from the committee investigating claims of sexual harassment inside the U.S. Capitol, because he allegedly used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle his own sexual harassment complaint.

A former aide accused Meehan past year of making unwanted romantic advances toward her, according to the report.

After filing the complaint, Rep. Meehan was represented in the investigative process by two staffers from his congressional office and two lawyers for the House's office of employment counsel. According to the Times she started the complaint process, but that complaint was met with an aggressive pushback by representatives of Meehan's office and lawyers, and the aide paid legal costs even after her job and ended up moving back with her parents before starting a new life overseas.

The aide then filed a formal complaint with the congressional Office of Compliance after her time in the office grew increasingly aggressive and toxic.

"The new reforms going into place bar the use of taxpayer money to pay settlements, and so the speaker has also told Mr. Meehan that he should repay whatever taxpayer funds were used to settle this case", Strong said on Ryan's behalf.

"Throughout his career he has always treated his colleagues male and female with the utmost respect and professionalism", the spokesman wrote.

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A spokesman for Meehan told NBC10 Saturday that the congressman "denies the allegations". She ended up leaving her role, and later reached the confidential agreement with Meehan's office, the report said.

Although Meehan, a former U.S. Attorney, was seen as facing a challenge in the 2018 race, his large cash reserves would likely have made him a tough incumbent to beat.

Meehan and his former aide eventually reached a settlement and nondisclosure agreement after mandatory counseling and mediation sessions, according to the Times.

In removing Meehan from the House Ethics Committee, Ryan said the allegations against Meehan must be fully and immediately investigated by the committee, according to a Roll Call report. Meehan reportedly became "hostile" toward her when she denied his advances. Every step of the process was handled ethically and appropriately. "That is wrong and unacceptable", Wolf said in a statement.

"As I expressed repeatedly to fellow board members during our discussion Friday, I don't believe president Simon can survive the public outcry that has been generated by this tragedy and even less so after hearing the testimony of these fearless survivors of Larry Nassar's abuse, " Lyons said.

Democratic candidate McGinty also issued a comment, "Patrick Meehan's secretive settlement is just another example of Washington's incompetence when handling issues related to sexual misconduct".

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