A Republican representative currently under investigation for using taxpayer money to settle a sexual misconduct complaint from a former aide, Representative Patrick Meehan (Penn.), has some interesting “logic” behind his various attempts to blame the victim.
Meehan claimed on Tuesday that the woman “invited” his intimate communications and that she was “a complete partner” to him. So, finding a soulmate in an aide decades his junior motivated Meehan to initiate what he referred to as a hug with her that lasted “maybe longer that night than needed to be,” among other incidents of inappropriate romantic advances.
He Settled With Taxpayer Money
According to The New York Times, Meehan apparently reacted with hostility when the aide rejected those advances, including a handwritten letter, and began a relationship with someone closer to her age. The former aid left the office after filing a complaint against Meehan.
On Monday, the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into the aide’s accusations and whether Meehan “misused official resources” by using funds from his congressional office to settle her complaint. While Meehan’s story is not unique, the allegations come amidst a national reckoning with sexual assault in the workplace.
In Congress, advocates made clear that current procedure for filing and handling the claims favors abusers and allows them to use government resources to intimidate victims into silence.
An Uphill Battle
Following the backlash, Meehan’s spokesperson said that he was fully prepared to repay the American taxpayers for the settlement amount, but only if he’s found guilty. Because Meehan, like many other men accused of sexual assault, is so unaware of the power dynamics at play in his interactions with the former aide that he cannot see how he’s done anything wrong.
Meehan notably faces an uphill battle in his district in suburban Philadelphia, which the Times reports is one of the most severely gerrymandered in the country.
Harassed By Handwritten Letter
One of Meehan’s alleged musings from the letter he penned to the aide, in which he claims that he voted against a Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act for her:
“As I walked this evening and glanced over at the White House I smiled at the irony that on day that I had to say ‘no’ to the President and to the Speaker of the House, I got to say ‘yes’ to you. I hope that the former will be judged as a vote of conscience and the latter as an expression of care.”
Romantic? Sure. Delusional? Arguably. Appropriate? Nope! Let’s hope voters say goodbye to Meehan and his romantic musings when his seat comes up for grabs later this year.
Featured Image via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast/Flickr