“Family values” Republicans are dropping like flies, and the latest insect just flew into the bug zapper this morning.
Several months after announcing he would not seek re-election in his southern Pennsylvania district, Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan tendered his resignation to PA Governor Tom Wolf, effective immediately.
The accused sexual harasser made his initial decision after it was discovered he used $39,000 worth of taxpayer money to settle a complaint lodged by a former aide. He has since promised to repay the amount to the treasury, but now he’s mysteriously quit several months early.
A transcript of his letter to the governor was obtained by ABC News, which they tweeted this morning. In it, Meehan maintains his innocence and insists his sudden resignation was to save his staff from the “rigors of an Ethics Committee investigation,” and laughably suggests that his decision means the “inquiry will not become a burden to taxpayers.”
It seems like he’s forgotten why he’s resigning in the first place.
The painfully defensive note may be read via the tweet embedded below:
NEW: Rep. Pat Meehan, Republican from Pennsylvania, announces resignation.
Meehan, who had been facing ethics investigation after purportedly using taxpayer dollars in settlement with aide who alleged sexual harassment, says he will repay U.S. Treasury for $39,000 payment. pic.twitter.com/3cVAOTbRG0
— ABC News (@ABC) April 27, 2018
Meehan joins the litany of Republicans (and handful of Democrats) to step down or be forced from office in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which has helped women across the country stand up and be heard when they speak out about abuse.
It is probably also worth noting that yesterday a Norristown, Pennsylvania jury convicted Bill Cosby of sexual assault after a lengthy battle agains the fallen comedian. This time, thanks to Pennsylvania’s very wide statute of limitations on abuse accusations, the trial was able to go forward and for once, justice was served to the victims.
Norristown is located in Pennsylvania’s 6th district, which is immediately adjacent to the 7th district Meehan oversaw.
It is possible he saw a similar fate for himself as the one which befell Cosby? After all, Hollywood has long-protected sexual abusers, largely because of the wealth and power men like Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein wield.
Perhaps he feared his power, and the power of men like him, was finally beginning to wane.