Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) has been removed from his position on the House Ethics Committee after it was revealed that he had used taxpayer funds to settle a harassment complaint by one of his staffers.
In addition, he has been ordered by House Speaker Paul Ryan to immediately pay back the thousands of dollars he used to cover up his appalling behavior and silence his victim.
A statement from the Speaker’s office made it very clear that Ryan was not going to carry water for his colleague.
“Speaker Ryan takes the allegations against Mr. Meehan very seriously. The speaker is committed to rooting out sexual misconduct in the House and providing victims the resources they need. The House is set to pass major bipartisan reform to the way the House handles claims of sexual harassment, and the speaker will apply these new standards to the allegations made against Mr. Meehan.
“Following a conversation with the Speaker today, Mr. Meehan will immediately submit himself to the Ethics Committee for reviewThe new reforms going into place bar the use of taxpayer money to pay settlements, and so the speaker has also told Mr. Meehan that he should repay whatever taxpayer funds were used to settle this case.”
The New York Times recently revealed that Meehan had fallen in love with one of his staffers and began a disturbing harassment campaign against her once she rejected his advances, which was so cruel and relentless she ended up moving to another country to escape:
It led to her estrangement from her colleagues, and isolation from friends, family and her boyfriend, according to the people in whom she confided. It set her back financially and professionally, as she continued to pay legal costs associated with the complaint even after leaving her job in Mr. Meehan’s office and struggling to find a new one. She moved back in with her parents and ultimately decided to start a new life abroad.
While there is very little to commend House Speaker Ryan for, credit is due for acting decisively and making it clear that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated in the United States Congress.
Now Ryan needs to support the calls from Meehan’s Democratic opponent for his resignation. If this poor woman lost her job due to Meehan’s predations, then he certainly should as well.