GOP Rep Believed Sexual Harassment Accuser Was His 'Soul Mate'

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Rep. Patrick Meehan told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday that he is still running for re-election amid a sexual harassment investigation.

Facing midterm elections in November, Meehan (R-7th Dist.) told the Delaware County Daily Times that he was never accused of touching, making "passes" or talking about wanting a relationship with the woman.

Meehan reportedly used taxpayer money to settle a complaint by an aide that he made repeated romantic overtures towards her, and grew hostile when she did not reciprocate. The matter is now being investigated by the House Ethics Committee - which Meehan sat on until House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., recently asked him to step down from the committee after the Times report.

Ryan told Meehan to repay whatever taxpayer funds were used to settle the case, the speaker's spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, said in a statement.

Still, he admitted to the Inquirer that when she started dating another man seriously, he acted "selfishly". "As we travel our paths together, I am comforted that there is more unwritten", writes Meehan.He says that "in hindsight" he should have been more aware of the power dynamic between the two - he as a member of Congress and she as a staffer.

The lawyer representing Meehan's accuser responded, "We will not allow our client to be victimized twice by this man", and sharply criticized Meehan for addressing any details of the settlement at all. "I think that the idea of soul mate is that sort of person that you go through remarkable experiences together".

The woman filed a formal complaint, and after going through Congress' investigative process, she and the representative settled previous year. "You are and have been a complete partner to me and you have brought me much happiness". He continues to deny that he harassed the aide and did not specify how much her settlement was worth.

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"The Committee notes that the mere fact that it is investigating these allegations, and publicly disclosing its review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee", Brooks and Deutch said.

Meehan had been a member of the House ethics panel but was removed by House Speaker Paul Ryan on Saturday.

Meehan, in an interview with the Inquirer, confirmed the Times's report for the most part.

A series of text messages released by Meehan's aides show that he invited her out for ice cream after a telephone town hall.

'Every step of the process was handled ethically and appropriately, ' Meehan's office said.

An attorney for the complainant refuted Meehan's stated reason for payment in an interview with the Times. Information technology consultant Drew McGinty said the settlement "is just another example of Washington's incompetence when handling issues related to sexual misconduct", while attorney Dan Muroff said House leadership should strip Meehan of his committee assignments if he does not resign.

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