A New York Republican Congressman has resigned from Congress with seven months remaining in his term after vowing last year that he would not seek re-election due to accusations of sexual misconduct. Representative Tom Reed (R-NY) was alleged to have rubbed the back and unhooked the bra of a female lobbyist without her content at a networking event held at a Minneapolis pub back in 2017.
Reed’s behavior didn’t come to light until March of 2021, and he apologized soon after his actions were revealed, offering the excuse that he was “struggling” at that point in his life. He soon sought rehab treatment, saying that he realized that he was “powerless over alcohol.”
The New York lawmaker did not cite the sexual misconduct as the reason for his decision to retire from Congress, instead saying that he had more to do to put “people before politics.”
“After almost 12 years in Congress, today is my last day,” Reed told his congressional colleagues in a speech from the House floor announcing his decision. “It has been an honor to serve with you all from both parties. I love this institution, as it still exemplifies what is best about our government. We are the people’s House.”
“I am leaving to continue that work and hope to have a greater impact on our country,” he added later. “I believe the current focus on extremism demands us to heed the words of Abraham Lincoln, uttered years ago as we face a similar threat to our existence today. A house divided cannot stand, but I add, a house united will not fail,” Reed declared.
According to Punchbowl News, which broke the story of Reed’s resignation, Reed will be joining Prime Policy Group, a bipartisan government relations and public affairs firm in Washington, D.C., in effect using the revolving door that Washington lobbyists frequently utilize as they shuffle between the public and private sectors.
It is a long fall from the heights of Reed’s career, in which he was once considered a contender for the Republican nomination for Governor of New York.
A former mayor of Corning, New York, and co-chair of the House of Representatives’ bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, Republican Congressman Reed voted against Donald Trump’s second impeachment but did vote to certify the 2020 election in favor of Joe Biden.
So far there is no word on when New York Governor Kathy Hochul may schedule a special election to fill Reed’s seat until the November midterms determine a longer-term replacement. With New York’s redistricting plan recently rejected by state courts, it’s unclear exactly what the outlines of the new district will be.
Original reporting by Mychael Schnell at The Hill.