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Pennsylvania Congressman Who Settled Harassment Case Resigns Amid Ethics Inquiry

“I did not want to leave with any question of violating the trust of taxpayers,” Mr. Meehan said.

But Debra S. Katz, a lawyer for the former aide he had settled with, criticized Mr. Meehan for resigning in the midst of the Ethics Committee investigation.

“My client cooperated fully with the ethics probe, testifying for hours and providing documentary evidence to the committee,” Ms. Katz said. “Instead of facing the music, Representative Meehan resigned today to halt the Ethics Committee’s work. This is the coward’s way out, and he has denied my client the legal vindication she deserves.”

Mr. Meehan faced pressure to step down after The Times reported in January that the former aide had filed a complaint against him last year, and that Mr. Meehan had used funds from his congressional office to pay her thousands of dollars to settle it.

The former aide had accused Mr. Meehan of making unwanted romantic overtures to her after she became involved in a serious relationship. Mr. Meehan grew hostile after she rebuffed him, the former aide said, according to people familiar with her claim.

In an interview with The Times in January, Mr. Meehan denied harassing the aide and said she had “specifically invited” his intimate communications.

Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania will schedule a special election for Mr. Meehan’s seat, with the winning candidate serving the balance of his term.

Regardless, there is little expectation that a Republican will occupy Mr. Meehan’s seat this time next year. A new congressional map has been put in place in Pennsylvania and will be used in November’s midterm elections, and the seat is solidly Democratic under the new district boundaries.

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News credit : Nytimes