Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan instructed the Ethics Committee on Saturday to launch an investigation after The New York Times published that Congressman Patrick Meehan used money from the treasury to settle an accusation extra judicially derived from his hostility towards an ex-worker who rejected his sexual advances.
The article, published on Saturday in the online edition of the newspaper, cited unidentified sources according to which the Republican representative of Pennsylvania spent thousands of dollars from the fund of his congressional office to solve a complaint of sexual harassment that the former assistant presented the summer passed before the Congress Compliance Office.
In a statement, Ryan’s spokeswoman said the House Ethics Commission should investigate the allegations “thoroughly and immediately” and demanded that he submit to the commission’s investigation without delay. Meehan will be removed from his position on the commission and Ryan stressed that the legislator must reimburse all public funds he used to settle the case extra-judicially, added Ryan spokeswoman.
The newspaper did not identify the accuser and pointed out that she did not make statements to him.
In a statement, the legislator’s office – which has been in office for four terms – denied that he sexually harassed or mistreated the former collaborator.He also asserted that Meehan, a former federal prosecutor in Philadelphia, had asked congressional lawmakers who handled the case to ask the lawyer of the former collaborator to nullify the confidentiality requirements of the out-of-court settlement “to ensure full and open disclosure of all facts.” “
“Throughout his career, he has always treated his colleagues, men and women, with the utmost respect and professionalism,” Meehan’s office said.
Counsel for the accuser, Alexis Ronicker, said the accusations were “well-founded” and rejected the proposal to have confidentiality cancelled. He attempts to victimise the victim twice by revealing the identity of the woman and litigating the case in the press, Ronicker said.
Ronicker described the request as a “dirty political move” by this man and an attempt to save his political career by presenting himself as a transparent person.