GOP Rep. blames Obamacare for sexual harassment allegations

Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) denied allegations that he sexually harassed a young female staffer and blamed Obamacare for some of his behavior that she perceived as hostile.

Meehan told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday that he believed the two were “soul mates” but denied that an emotional letter he sent her last year was romantic. Meehan said he sent the letter after learning she was in a serious relationship and was considering quitting her position. 

“You are and have been a complete partner to me and you have brought me much happiness,” he wrote in the May 2017 letter, which is signed “with all my heart.”

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Several women have come forward accusing President Donald Trump of unwanted touching or kissing. Trump has called the sexual harassment claims 'fake news.'

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh was accused by numerous women of sexual assault, including Dr. Christine Blasey Ford who claimed he assaulted her when the two were high school students in Maryland.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Bill Clinton faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct while he was president of the United States, with accusers including Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of rape, Kathleen Willey who said he groped her and Paula Jones who said he exposed himself to her without consent.

(Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Roy Moore faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underaged girls.

(Carlo Allegri / Reuters)

Several women have accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping them during photo ops.

(REUTERS/Donna Carson)

Sen. Al Franken resigned after he was accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent during a United Service Organizations (USO) tour in 2006.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A woman testified that her extra-martial affair with Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was not always consensual. The accuser claimed Greitens took a nude photo of her to use as blackmail and coerced her into having oral sex.

(St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept./Handout via REUTERS)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was accused in May 2018 of physically abusing four women who he had been romantically involved with, according to The New Yorker.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A former aide of Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., says she was fired after she refused his advances.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, resigned after he was accused of asking former female staffers to be surrogate mothers for his child. 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., was accused of making unwanted sexual advances to multiple women.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, was accused of using taxpayer money for a sexual harassment settlement with his former communications director, according to Politico. He announced in December that he wouldn't be seeking reelection. 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has been accused of unwanted sexual advances by former staffers.

(SAUL LOEB via Getty Images)

California Assemblymember Matt Dababneh was accused of masturbating in front of a woman in 2016, according to the Los Angeles Times.

(Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)

In 1992 multiple women came forward against Senator Brock Adams accusing him of sexually harassing, molesting or assaulting them.

(Photo by Gary Payne/Liaison)

The Congressional Office of Compliance reportedly shelled out $100,000 to settle sexual harassment claims against U.S. Rep. Eric Massa, D-New York.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Congressman Mark Foley, R-Florida, resigned in 2006 amid reports that he sent sexually explicit messages to at least one underage male former page. 

(Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., called a young former aide his 'soul mate,' but denied sexually harassing her.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Kentucky, was facing sexual assault accusations and reportedly committed suicide.

(Kentucky Legislative Research Commission via REUTERS)

Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced in 2017 after pleading guilty to one count of sending obscene messages to a minor, ending an investigation into a "sexting" scandal that played a role in the 2016 US presidential election.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Former U.S. Rep. David Wu, D-Oregon, resigned from his position in 2011 after accusations of an 'unwanted sexual encounter' from the 18-year-old daughter of a donor.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain dropped out of the race in December 2011 amid accusations of sexual misconduct.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2016 for attempting to skirt banking regulations in order to conceal hush money payments intended to cover up sex abuse allegations stemming from the time he was a high school wrestling coach at a far west suburban Chicago high school decades ago.

(REUTERS/Frank Polich)

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She didn’t reciprocate his feelings, leading him to grow hostile, the woman said in a complaint. She received a taxpayer-funded settlement in response and left her position.

Meehan denied that he retaliated against her and instead blamed any negative behavior on stress over the Republican effort to dismantle Affordable Care Act. On the day Meehan penned the letter to his aide, the House voted to partially repeal and replace the health care law.

The New York Times first reported news of the settlement on Saturday. Hours later, Meehan was removed from the House Ethics Committee, the body tasked with investigating claims of sexual misconduct among members. An investigation into his conduct was launched Monday.

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Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005, attends a news conference for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
(L-R) Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005, Jessica Leeds and Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina, exit a news conference for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Jessica Leeds attends a news conference for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 18 - Journalist Natasha Stoynoff poses at the Simon & Schuster offices in downtown Toronto, January 18, 2017. Stoynoff, who spoke out during the election campaign about being sexually attacked by Donald Trump when she was a writer at People magazine. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Jessica Drake and Temple Taggart during the Accusers of President Donald Trump Hold Press Conference With Attorney Gloria Allred At The Women's March In Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina, speaks at a news conference for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, leaves New York State Supreme Court with attorney Gloria Allred (R) after a hearing on the defamation case against U.S. President Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, appears in New York State Supreme Court during a hearing on a defamation case against U.S. President Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Barry Williams/Pool
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, leaves New York State Supreme Court with attorney Gloria Allred (L) after a hearing on the defamation case against U.S. President Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
(L-R) Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005, Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina and Brave New Films founder Robert Greenwald, attend a news conferences for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
(L-R) Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005, Jessica Leeds and Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina, attend a news conference for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 26: Temple Taggart and Gloria Allred arrive to a press conference at Little America Hotel on October 28, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chad Hurst/Getty Images)
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“I looked at it the way somebody might look at the customary resolution of a matter in which we can allow the parties to move forward,” Meehan said when asked why the settlement remained confidential. He offered to repay the public funds in the event that the Ethics Committee investigation concludes that harassment did in fact occur. 

Meehan said he has no plans to abandon his bid for reelection.

A tidal wave of sexual misconduct allegations prompted a total of five members of Congress ― Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), plus Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.).― to resign or retire late last year. Public funds were used to pay out $115,000 in sexual harassment claims stemming from the House between 2008 and 2012.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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