Meehan resigns, will repay costs of employee settlement

U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-7)

U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-7) announced Friday that he would immediately resign from office and repay costs from a severance agreement to a former staffer of his who claimed that Meehan had attempted to initiate a romantic relationship with her, and then, when rebuffed, mistreated her.

Meehan — who was facing a House Ethics Committee investigation over the incident — had announced earlier this year he would not seek reelection is his district — which looked to be a toss up. But with the new Congressional map, the old 7th District morphed into the new 5th, which looks to be a heavily Democratic District.

The resignation was announced by a statement issued by his office.

“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 maintained that he had done nothing wrong, but felt a continued fight against charges would hurt his current staff and constituent.

“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,” he said. “And since I have chosen to resign, the inquiry will not become a burden to taxpayers and committee staff.

“I will pay $39,000.00 to the U.S. Treasury to reimburse for the severance payment that was made from my office account. That payment will be made within 30 days of my resignation from the House of Representatives. I did not want to leave with any question of violating the trust of taxpayers.

While residents of the 7th — including a large swath of Chester County which will be part of the new 6th District — will be left with no sitting Congress member until a new one can be elected, Meehan said that constituent services will continue.

“My resignation will trigger the transition of operations of my offices at the Capitol and in the District to the Clerk of the House. Constituents will continue be served until my successor takes office,” he said.

Meehan thanked his family for their support.

“I am deeply grateful to my wife who is so supportive, and who has made many sacrifices in her own career so that I could pursue mine in public service,” he said.  “I am equally thankful for the unwavering support of my children.”

According to the statement, Meehan has no future plans to discuss at this time.

On a national level, Republicans appeared to be glad that the issue would be resolved.

“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,” said National Republican Campaign Chairman Steve Stivers.

Pennsylvania state law mandates a special election be held within 60 days of Meehan’s resignation.

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