Meehan resigns from congress in wake of sex harassment scandal electricity nightcore lyrics

U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan resigned from Congress Friday, short-circuiting a House Ethics Committee investigation into his use of public funds to settle a sexual harassment claim from a former staff member. He said he will repay the $39,000 in taxpayer funds used to settle the complaint.

“Though I wish my time in Congress would have finished in a more satisfying manner, I am proud of our accomplishments and thank the residents of my district for their confidence in me over the last eight years,” Meehan said in a statement. “I recognize that there are constituents who are disappointed in the manner in which I handled the situation that led to my decision not to seek re-election and wish I had done better by them.”

Wolf now has 10 days to set a special election to fill the remainder of Meehan’s term, although the election cannot be held for 60 days, which would mean it cannot be aligned with the spring primary. A spokesman for Wolf said the governot plans to take action on the special election in “short order.”

The 7th District includes parts of Berks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Lebanon counties but it will be eliminated under the new Congressional maps approved by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Whoever wins the special election will only serve until the end of the year.

“While I do believe I would be exonerated of any wrongdoing, I also did not want to put my staff through the rigors of an Ethics Committee investigation and believed it was best for them to have a head start on new employment rather than being caught up in an inquiry. And since I have chosen to resign, the inquiry will not become a burden to taxpayers and committee staff,” Meehan’s statement read.

“With the knowledge I would not be standing for another term, I have decided that stepping down now is in the interest of the constituents I have been honored to serve,” Meehan said. “I have stayed to fight for important priorities like fully funding our troops, increasing support for medical research and preserving promising clean energy solutions. And now that work is accomplished.”

Meehan, 62, a married father of three sons, was a longtime political operative for Republican officials like former state Attorney General Ernie Preate, and U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum when he was elected Delaware County District Attorney in 1995. In 2001 George W. Bush named him U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where he gained a reputation as a crusading prosecutor after high-profile public corruption cases in Philadelphia. He was elected to Congress in 2010 after incumbent Democrat Joe Sestak decided to run for U.S. Senate.

Meehan’s downfall began earlier this year with reports about the complaint filed by his much-younger staffer, with whom he had worked for years. He admitted taking her out for ice cream and expressed “affection” for her. He also wrote her a letter and she allegedly responded with a text thanking him. She contended that after Meehan learned she was in a relationship with another male staff member, the workplace became hostile and she filed a complaint with the Congressional Office of Compliance. Meehan settled the complaint for $39,000 in public funds, terming it a “severance” package.

When news of the case broke in January, Meehan gave a series of interviews denying a sexual relationship with the woman but calling her his “soul mate,” which drew national ridicule. Two days later he announced he would not run for re-election.

“I’m surprised,” Delaware County Republican Party Chairman Andrew Reilly said, adding that a replacement would be filled through a special election set by Wolf. “I would hope that Gov. Wolf would not waste taxpayers’ money for a district that no longer exists.”

He said it would be a waste of money considering the 7th District will be replaced by the 5th District after a redistricting ordered this year by the state Supreme Court. Ten Democrats and one Republican are vying for their party’s nominations in the May 15 primary election.

“Pennsylvania law requires the governor to call a special election within 10 days of a formal vacancy occurring by issuing a writ of election,” Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott said. “That special election date must be at least 60 days after the vacancy occurs but could be any date after the 60-day minimum. Gov. Wolf will make a final decision regarding the timing of a special election given Rep. Meehan’s immediate resignation in short order.”

“I am pleased Pat Meehan will be repaying the full amount of the settlement back to the taxpayers and it is disappointing to see his career come to an end in this fashion after all his years of service,” she said. “This situation presents an opportunity for a fresh voice to represent the hardworking taxpayers of the 5th Congressional District in Congress. I look forward to making the case to Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia families that I’ll be a relentless fighter for them and our region.”

“As I have previously said,” stated state Republican Party Chairman Val DiGiorgio, “this is a sad and regrettable ending to an otherwise noteworthy career of public service. We respect Congressman Meehan’s decision to resign and, as we wait for the governor to announce whether there will be a special election, we will continue to fight to ensure Pennsylvania maintains a Republican majority in its congressional delegation.”

Steve Stivers, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said, “I fully respect Congressman Meehan’s decision to resign. I’m pleased to hear he will pay back the taxpayer money used for his office’s severance payment. We must continue to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”