PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A sexual harassment accusation by a former junior staffer lodged against Congressman Pat Meehan, and the settlement paid to her out of taxpayer money, is causing a stir in his suburban district. Some political operatives believe that his seat could be in play this spring.
While the Republican Congressman denies the harassment claim, the House Ethics Committee will look into the matter. House Speaker Paul Ryan has directed the Congressman to reimburse any taxpayer funds used in the settlement, which reportedly was funded from Meehan’s office budget.
Delaware County Democratic Committee Chair David Landau is calling on Meehan to end his re-election campaign immediately.
Brian McGinnis, who chairs the Chester County Democratic Committee, notes at least six challengers have announced their intentions to run.
“I believe Pat Meehan should resign,” McGinnis said. “These allegations are troubling. He’s using taxpayer funds as hush money.”
Andy Reilly, the chairman of the Republican Party in Delaware County, the heart of Meehan’s seat, says while Meehan has had a distinguished career, Meehan and his team will have to determine whether he seeks reelection.
“Our endorsement process will be the same as it has been and always is,” Reilly said, “an open and transparent process for all of those who have an interest in serving.”
Reilly expects an endorsement by February, ahead of candidates filing papers by March for the May primary.