House ethics panel opens probe into Meehan harassment allegations

House ethics panel opens probe into Meehan harassment allegations
© Keren Carrion

The House Ethics Committee on Tuesday voted to open an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) and his former chief of staff.

The committee voted unanimously to create the investigative subcommittee, which will address allegations against Meehan and Brian Schubert.

Meehan previously sat on the committee, but was removed after The New York Times reported he used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint with a former staffer. He has since announced he will not seek reelection this year.

The Times reported that Meehan professed romantic desires to a staffer after she initiated a relationship with a man outside the congressman’s office. Meehan then allegedly grew hostile toward the woman when she did not accept his overtures.

Meehan later acknowledged much of what the Times reported, including that he expressed his affection to the woman over ice cream and that he was upset when told of her relationship with another man.

“Sometimes I have the tendency to lash out to others on the staff,” Meehan told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “You go hardest on the ones that you care the most about.”

However, he denied he harassed the woman and argued the payment was "severance."

Meehan is among the many politicians nationwide who have faced accusations of sexual misconduct in recent months. Several other federal lawmakers have announced their resignation or retirement in the face of such allegations, including Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenAcademy president accused of sexual harassment: report Top Nike executive resigns amid workplace complaints: report Met opera fires conductor after sexual misconduct probe MORE (D-Minn.), Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersMet opera fires conductor after sexual misconduct probe Keith Ellison calls for Dems to support medicare for all Overnight Health Care: Conservatives brace for ObamaCare payments in funding bill | FDA chief blames 'rigged' system for drug costs | Ellison replaces Conyers on Dem single-payer bill MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) and Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdFive things to watch for in Texas primaries Congressional interns required to sign nondisclosure agreements House ethics panel opens probe into Meehan harassment allegations MORE (R-Texas).