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Patrick Meehan will not seek re-election in Pennsylvania

In an interview on Tuesday with The Times, Mr. Meehan denied harassing the aide. Instead, she claimed that she "specifically invited" her intimate communications, which included conversations and a letter in which she professed her affection, calling her "a complete partner for me."

Mr. Meehan, who had assumed a leading role in the fight against sexual harassment in Congress, had become politically isolated since the agreement was revealed.

Mr. Ryan removed his position on the House Ethics Committee, and also said that Meehan should return the agreement amount.

And on Monday, the committee announced that it had begun an investigation into the counselor's allegations and the possibility that Mr. Meehan "misused official resources" by using funds from his office in Congress. to resolve your complaint If Mr. Meehan remains in Congress until the end of his term, the committee would retain jurisdiction to continue his investigation.

Debra Katz, attorney for Mr. Meehan's former aide, urged the Ethics Committee to accelerate its investigation "to ensure full accountability before leaving office."

The woman, whom The Times does not mention , is "fully cooperating" with the investigation, said Katz, asking the committee to penalize Mr. Meehan for violating a nondisclosure agreement contained in the agreement. Ms. Katz said that Mr. Meehan "traumatized" the woman again to "blame her for what the public now knows by her own explanations was highly inappropriate behavior."

The Republicans, who were already facing an uphill battle to retain the district moderates, welcomed the news of Mr. Meehan's imminent retirement headed for an election year in which sexual misconduct has become in a powerful subject.

Val DiGiorgio, the president of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, said in a statement that Mr. Meehan "made the right decision for the voters of the Seventh District and for himself." DiGiorgio called it "a sad ending to what was a worthy race for a dedicated public servant."

Representative Steve Stivers, Republican of Ohio and chairman of the Republican National Congressional Committee, issued a statement in which he said he was "disappointed by the circumstances" that led to Mr. Meehan's retirement, and stating that "we should always stay at the highest possible level, especially when we serve in Congress. "

The news could trigger a fight for Republicans before a primary in May. The deadline for candidates to submit petitions to appear on the ballot is March 6.

And Mr. Meehan's decision restores the calculation for a field of at least three Democrats competing for the nomination of his party in the expanding district, which is considered among the most severely manipulated in the country and that Hillary Clinton He received narrowly in the 2016 presidential election.

In addition to the uncertainty, the Supreme Court of the state of Pennsylvania ruled on Monday that the congressional district map drawn up by the Republicans violates the state Constitution. He ordered the 18 districts to be redesigned in the coming weeks.

Republicans of Pennsylvania have pledged to try to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States. If the ruling is maintained, it is expected to further tilt the state's electoral battlefield in the Democratic direction.

Mr. Meehan's announcement makes him the latest in a series of lawmakers to resign or announce their retirements after being accused of sexual misconduct.

Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota; Representative Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona; and Representative John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan, have resigned. Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Republican from Texas, and Ruben Kihuen, a Nevada Democrat, remain in office but have said they will not seek re-election.

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