Now Murphy's career appears to be completely over, ending in his resignation from Congress and rumors of campaign finance violations, abuse of staffers, and more.
Rep. Tim Murphy, a staunch anti-abortion advocate, thought he could withstand the media furor that engulfed him after reports that he’d encouraged his extramarital lover to end her apparent pregnancy.
He was wrong.
Just one day after announcing he would retire after the 2018 election, Murphy reversed course and told Speaker Paul Ryan he was resigning effective Oct. 21. Murphy’s abrupt decision ended a 15-year career on Capitol Hill in a shocking manner. The 65-year-old Pennsylvania Republican was so safe in his conservative district that Democrats hadn’t even fielded an opponent against him during the past two election cycles.
Ironically, Murphy’s swift collapse came not because of text messages he sent to a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair, encouraging her to have an abortion as first reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday. In fact, fears among senior Republicans about a potential wave of negative stories on how Murphy ran his congressional office were what ultimately pushed him out the door.
Multiple top House Republicans during the past 24 hours pressured Murphy to resign once it became clear that the House Ethics Committee might have to investigate allegations tied to his reported mistreatment of staffers. Numerous GOP sources were aware of systemic problems in Murphy’s office, including high staff turnover, which had been the topic of gossip and speculation for years.
The Post-Gazette had reported on a June 2017 memo in which Murphy’s longtime chief of staff, Susan Mosychuk, warned the Pennsylvania Republican that he was mistreating and “harassing” staff, causing 100 percent turnover.
But Mosychuk is a source of controversy herself.
A number of former Murphy staffers told POLITICO that it was Mosychuk’s behavior that drove them to leave Murphy's office. And these ex-aides said the combination of Murphy and Mosychuk — who had a close personal relationship, according to GOP lawmakers and staffers — made the situation intolerable. Mosychuk was promoted to Murphy’s chief of staff in 2004, just a year after becoming his legislative director.
This story is a mess: both Mosychuk and Murphy were apparently awful to their employees and staffers left in droves only to be replaced and the new people leaving as well.
Ex-staffers said Mosychuk kept white noise machines throughout Murphy’s congressional office so constituents waiting in the front room couldn’t hear her screaming. If Mosychuk was angry at staffers, she would make them take the stairs instead of the elevator, so they couldn’t ride with her, according to one former employee who witnessed it.
Mosychuk would even call staffers out of their bathroom breaks to demand they return to the office, or yell at them for taking too long to use the restroom. Many younger aides did not take lunch breaks, eating at their desks because they were scolded for leaving. One new employee quit after just a couple days because he was dressed down for using a paper clip instead of a staple on a briefing packet, multiple sources said.
“It was one of the worst places I have ever worked in my life. There was screaming. Intimidation. Nothing you ever did was right,” Nick Rodondo, Murphy’s former district director, told Pittsburgh radio station KDKA’s “Marty Griffin Show.”
Rodondo said the two of them were fond of each other — he said he saw them feed each other at events — but terrible to many others.
“Susan Mosychuk was no better than [Murphy]. She wrote that memo to cover her butt," he continued. "I know, Marty. I know what these people are like. To call them creeps is an affront to creeps.”
This went from normal Republican hypocrisy to full-blown meltdown in just a couple of days, and believe me, I'm glad to see Murphy gone. Democrats absolutely need to find a way to get this seat back in the Age of Trump if they're ever going to take back the House.