Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) has helped advance the fight against sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, but the New York Times reported Saturday that he had to settle his own misconduct complaint involving a former aide last year.
Meehan reportedly expressed his romantic interest in a decades-younger aide, and retaliated against her professionally after she became involved in a serious relationship outside the office and rejected his overtures.
The aide, whose name has not been made public, left Meehan’s office are the situation became unsustainable. Several people familiar with the situation told the Times she ultimately reached a confidential agreement with the lawmaker that included a settlement for an undisclosed amount, totaling thousands of dollars, that was paid out from a congressional office fund.
Those sources, which include friends and former colleagues of the former aide, told the newspaper that she struggled to find work and pay legal bills stemming from the complaint.
Meehan declined to offer comment to the Times. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong told the newspaper that the settlement was “new information to us.”
The Pennsylvania Republican is the latest in a series of lawmakers who have settled misconduct complaints or been forced out of office over sexual harassment allegations. Of the four congressmen who faced investigations from the House Ethics Committee, Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and John Conyers (D-MI) resigned late last year, while Reps. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) have said they won’t run seek reelection in 2018.
Meehan, who sits on the House Ethics Committee and has spoken out against domestic and sexual violence, was already facing a tough road in the midterms. Hillary Clinton almost won his swing district in 2016.