Rep. Patrick Meehan will not seek re-election

Sean Gale

Sean Gale

Pennsylvania Congressman Pat Meehan says he will not seek reelection this November, after admitting he used taxpayer dollars to pay off a former staffer who accused him of sexual harassment, and the timing couldn't be worse for Republicans.

Mr Meehan, 62, informed House Speaker Paul Ryan of his decision on Thursday, according to a spokesman for Mr Ryan.

The four-term congressman and former U.S. attorney in Philadelphia faced increasing pressure to resign after the New York Times published a report on the settlement he reached last summer with a former aide three decades his junior.

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He is the fifth United States lawmaker to resign or say he will not run again amid a wave of sexual misconduct claims. The report, which cites unnamed sources, alleges Meehan romantically pursued the younger staffer and became angry with her when she entered a romantic relationship with another man. The settlement was secret under confidentiality provisions, and Meehan refuses to say how much taxpayer money was involved.

Alexis Ronickher, the lawyer for Meehan's accuser, told CNN on Thursday that she and her client have no comment regarding Meehan's plans, other than this "does not end the need for the House Ethics Committee to continue its investigation into the matter, which my client will fully cooperate with". On Wednesday night, the comedian Stephen Colbert skewered Meehan in a four-minute monologue on his show.

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.

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Initially, Meehan had said he would run for a fifth term.

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.

"No characterization of the work relationship I shared with a uniquely close colleague could have been more personally harmful than when I described that co-worker as a 'soul-mate, '" Meehan wrote. I think that the idea of soul mate is that sort of person that out go through remarkable experiences together. "I truly didn't even consider or understand the full implications of the use of that term". If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

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