Republican axed from ethics body after report on alleged sexual misconduct

A Republican congressman was removed from the House Ethics Committee on Saturday after it was reported he used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle a misconduct complaint by a former staffer. When the young aide did not reciprocate, Meehan "grew hostile".

The congressman denied the allegations through his communications director who said Meehan "has always treated his colleagues, male and female, with the utmost respect and professionalism".

The handling of that complaint - which included an aggressive pushback by representatives from Meehan's office and congressional lawyers, who suggested she had misinterpreted the congressman's behavior - demoralized the aide.

The former aide soon began working from home and eventually left her position, later reaching a confidential agreement with Meehan that includes an undisclosed amount of money.

The statement went on, saying that Meehan continues to call for "real reform to the process for resolving complaints so that those who are truly wronged are given a fair forum to be heard and vindicated, and those accused are provided with an ability to respond to baseless accusations".

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She said that Meehan knows her client is a private person who does not wish to reveal her identity. Those familiar with the payout said it was thousands of dollars.

The Ethics Committee has already launched investigations into sexual misconduct claims against at least four congressman, including Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, John Conyers Jr, Democrat of Michigan, Blake Farenthold, Republican of Texas, and Ruben Kihuen, Democrat of Nevada. The Times's report is based on interviews with 10 people.

In a statement, Ryan's spokesman said the allegations must be investigated "fully and immediately" by the House Ethics Committee and that Meehan would immediately submit himself to the committee's review. Wolf said in a statement. "His actions are appalling and today I am calling on Meehan to immediately resign from Congress". Several of the Democrats, including Dan Muroff, Drew McGinty and Molly Sheehan, Saturday called on him to get out of the race and resign office after the report first broke Saturday.

"Reporting alleged assault will help victims understand their rights, like pursuing an investigation and pressing charges, and the resources available, such as local sexual assault programs", Meehan had said in a press release on the legislation. "I'm just stunned", he said in a tweet. Meehan was voted in to support the best interests of the 7th District, but instead used his power to personally and financially attack a staffer.

  • Adam Floyd