GOP Rep. Patrick Meehan stepping down

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The Pennsylvania Republican Patrick Meehan announced on Friday that he was resigning his seat in the House of Representatives.

The Ethics Committee had been looking into allegations of sexual harassment made by a former employee in Meehan's office.

Meehan admitted to settling a former aide's sexual harassment complaint with taxpayer money.

Meehan says in a resignation letter that his decision is in the best interest of constituents and will avoid the "rigors" and expense of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. "And since I have chosen to resign, the inquiry will not become a burden to taxpayers and committee staff".

Patrick Meehan announced his immediate retirement from the House. Meehan reportedly made romantic overtures toward a female staff member, who was in a relationship. He had already announced he would not run for re-election following the allegations.

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Meehan's statement on Friday said he has no future plans while he also thanked his family for their support. For that reason, when Gov. Tom Wolf (D) schedules the special election, voters will be tasked with choosing someone to represent the old district for the remainder of the year, as well as another lawmaker to represent the new district in 2019.

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared the state's congressional lines unconstitutional. "That special election date must be at least 60 days after the vacancy occurs but could be any date after the 60-day minimum". The resignation took effective immediately.

In contrast with former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Meehan committed to paying back the full amount of his settlement costs within 30 days. It includes portions of Berks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster and Montgomery counties.

Meehan maintained he never was unfaithful to his wife. "We must continue to hold ourselves to a higher standard", National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers said Friday.

He denied, however, that he was involved in any wrongdoing and insisted that he was leaving both for his career and to save taxpayer money.