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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.

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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 FrankenTina Smith and Jason Lewis tied in Minnesota Ted Cruz mocks Al Franken over 'I Hate Ted Cruz Pint Glass' GOP Senate candidate says Trump, Republicans will surprise in Minnesota MORE (D-Minn.), Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersBiden's immigration plan has serious problems Tlaib wins Michigan Democratic primary Tlaib holds lead in early vote count against primary challenger MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) and Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdThe biggest political upsets of the decade Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE (R-Texas).