Yet another Republican in Congress is facing calls to resign after a sexual misconduct scandal, this time it's Republican Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania, who actually is on the House Ethics Committee looking into sexual harassment scandals.
Representative Patrick Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican who has taken a leading role in fighting sexual harassment in Congress, used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle his own misconduct complaint after a former aide accused him last year of making unwanted romantic overtures to her, according to several people familiar with the settlement.
A married father of three, Mr. Meehan, 62, had long expressed interest in the personal life of the aide, who was decades younger and had regarded the congressman as a father figure, according to three people who worked with the office and four others with whom she discussed her tenure there.
But after the woman became involved in a serious relationship with someone outside the office last year, Mr. Meehan professed his romantic desires for her — first in person, and then in a handwritten letter — and he grew hostile when she did not reciprocate, the people familiar with her time in the office said.
Life in the office became untenable, so she initiated the complaint process, started working from home and ultimately left the job. She later reached a confidential agreement with Mr. Meehan’s office that included a settlement for an undisclosed amount to be paid from Mr. Meehan’s congressional office fund.
Sexual misconduct accusations against powerful men across a range of industries in recent months have prompted a national conversation about gender dynamics in the workplace, and the inadequacy of support systems for victims. In Congress, several lawmakers have left office or announced their retirements in recent months over sexual harassment claims.
Still, Congress remains a workplace where victims say they have few effective avenues for recourse.
Mr. Meehan’s case sheds new light on secretive congressional processes for handling such complaints, which advocates say are slanted to favor abusers, allowing them to use the vast resources of the federal government to intimidate, isolate and silence their victims.
Meehan has to go, of course. But the bigger political picture means this was a disctrict the GOP definitely wanted to keep, one where Meehan won handily in 2016 but Clinton carried his district. It's exactly the kind of race the Democrats need to win in order to take the House back.
And now Meehan just handed it to them. Nice.