Second GOP congressman in 3 weeks resigns to dodge ethics investigation


Republican Rep. Pat Meehan announced his retirement in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal. Now he's decided to abruptly and immediately resign instead.

Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) suddenly announced his resignation Friday, becoming the second Republican in three weeks to abruptly quit as an ethics probe intensified.

In a statement, Meehan said he "did not want to put my staff through the rigors of an Ethics Committee investigation."

Meehan used taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim made by a young aide who said he pursued her romantically, then retaliated when she entered into a relationship with another man.

"I will pay $39,000.00 to the U.S. Treasury to reimburse for the severance payment that was made from my office account," Meehan said in his statement. "That payment will be made within 30 days of my resignation from the House of Representatives. I did not want to leave with any question of violating the trust of taxpayers."

The resignation echoes the announcement made April 6 by Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold.

Farenthold used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle sexual harassment allegations that were made against him. He never paid back the money and was not compelled to do so by Speaker Paul Ryan.

The immediate loss of Meehan adds to the rolling disaster that is the Republican Party's midterm election prospects.

The party has already had trouble holding on to districts in heavily Republican, pro-Trump districts.

Before Meehan's shame-entangled resignation, Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District was already rated as a toss-up. Hillary Clinton won the district in 2016.

Now with this resignation, the party is saddled with a growing sexual harassment payoff scandal and the unpopular Trump administration.

Voters are dying to support a blue wave this fall, and this tainted seat is now up for grabs.