After the House Ethics Committee announced that they were officially investigating New York congressman Eric Massa last night, word emerged from Massa’s office that he plans to resign on Monday. He’d initially announced that he would retire after the expiration of his first and only term in the House. It’s unclear whether the resignation has to do with a cancer scare from this past December, or with reports (which Massa dismisses as “unsubstantiated”) that the ethics investigation centers around sexual harassment of a male junior aide. Either way, Massa’s exit is going to be another serious loss for the Democratic caucus in the House — his district of Corning, New York, is right-leaning and already has Republican candidates waiting in the wings.
Rep. Eric Massa to resign [Politico]
Massa now has a statement up on his website, part of which we’ve reproduced here:
After I decided not to run again I was told, for the first time, that a member of my staff believed I had made statements that made him feel “uncomfortable.” I was told that a report had been filed with the Congressional Ethics Committee. At no point prior to this had any member of the Ethics Committee communicated with me directly - if fact I first read it on the internet. I own this reality. There is no doubt in my mind that I did in fact, use language in the privacy of my own home and in my inner office that, after 24 years in the Navy, might make a Chief Petty Officer feel uncomfortable. In fact, there is no doubt that this Ethics issue is my fault and mine alone. But in the incredibly toxic atmosphere that is Washington D.C., with the destruction of our elected leaders having become a blood sport, especially in talk radio and on the internet, there is also no doubt that an Ethics investigation would tear my family and my staff apart. Some would say that this is what happens when you stand apart from political parties, which I have done. Others will say that this is what happens to a non politician when they go to Washington DC. I want to make something perfectly clear. My difficulties are of my own making. Period.
What on earth could he have said?