Congressman Who Settled Complaint Won't Seek Re-Election - NBC4 Washington
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Congressman Who Settled Complaint Won't Seek Re-Election

Meehan admitted this week to having feelings for an aide, but denied harassment. He vowed to continue running for a third term

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    Meehan Won't Run for Re-Election

    U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan will not seek re-election for his suburban Philadelphia district, sources tell NBC10. The move comes days after it was revealed Meehan settled a sexual harassment complaint with taxpayer money.

    (Published Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018)

    Pennsylvania congressman Pat Meehan will not seek re-election following revelations that he settled a sexual harassment claim while serving as a member of the House Ethics Committee, three sources familiar with his decision tell NBC10.

    Meehan, a Republican who represents Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district covering communities in the Philadelphia suburbs, admitted on Tuesday that he demonstrated caring and affection with a congressional aide. The woman later filed a sexual harassment claim.

    The congressman, who is in the middle of his fourth term, denied that he harassed the woman, but said he struggled with his emotions about her.

    The 62-year-old married father eventually settled his own case with taxpayer money while serving as a member of the House Ethics Committee. The case was bound by a non-disclosure agreement, which the accuser's attorney claims Meehan violated by speaking publicly.

    Meehan would not say how much money was paid out as part of the settlement.

    This week, House Speaker Paul Ryan removed Meehan from the Ethics Committee and the congressman volunteered undergoing an ethics investigation.

    The race to win his seat for a third term was expected to be tough even before The New York Times first reported the harassment claim over the weekend.

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    In an interview with NBC10 on Tuesday, Meehan maintained he'd continue to run for re-election.

    But just two days later that had changed.

    Pennsylvania GOP Chair Val DiGiorgio said Meehan "made the right decision for the voters" and himself.

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    "Unfortunately, this is a sad ending to what was an otherwise noteworthy career of a dedicated public servant leader. I wish him well and thank him for his service," he said.

    Meehan's decision makes Pa.'s seventh district an open seat. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the district by two points during the 2016 election. The Cook Political Report recently moved the district from leaning Republican to a toss-up.

    Further complicating matters, state lawmakers must re-draw every congressional district ahead of this year's elections following a Pennsylvania supreme court decision on Monday. In that case, state justices declared the current congressional map unconstitutional and a product of partisan gerrymandering.

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    Meehan is the fifth member of Congress to not seek re-election or resign from office in recent months as the nation grapples with sexual misconduct in the workplace.

    Top Pennsylvania Democrats, including Gov. Tom Wolf, have called for Meehan to resign from office immediately. Meehan said Tuesday he doesn't plan to resign.