Embattled GOP Lawmaker Abruptly Resigns Congress

WASHINGTON (CN) – Three months after he announced he would not seek re-election following sexual harassment allegations, Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan announced on Friday he will resign his position immediately.

“With the knowledge I would not be standing for another term, I have decided that stepping down now is in the interest of the constituents I have been honored to serve,” Meehan said in a statement. “I have stayed to fight for important priorities like fully funding our troops, increasing support for medical research and preserving promising clean energy solutions. And now that work is accomplished.”

In January, the New York Times reported Meehan used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by a former staffer and the four-term congressman said on Friday he would repay $39,000 to the federal government to cover a “severance payment” made from his office.

The report led Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to remove Meehan from his spot on the House Ethics Committee.

Meehan said he believes he will be cleared of wrongdoing, but that he wants to allow his staff to get on with their jobs search and spare a costly congressional investigation.

“Though I wish my time in Congress would have finished in a more satisfying manner, I am proud of our accomplishments and thank the residents of my district for their confidence in me over the last eight years,” Meehan said. “I recognize that there are constituents who are disappointed in the manner in which I handled the situation that lead [sic] to my decision not to seek re-election and wish I had done better by them.”

The Cook Political Report labels Pennsylvania’s Seventh District, which Meehan has represented since 2010, as leaning Democratic in the upcoming election.

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