Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) To Retire Amid Male Sexual Harassment Rumors

First term Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) will not seek a second term in 2010. Although Massa cites a recent cancer diagnosis as part of the reason for his retirement, as yet unsubstantiated rumors in the U.S. House are flying that opposite-married Massa is being investigated by the Ethics Committee for sexually harassing a male staffer.

Massa, whose departure endangers Democrats’ hold on a competitive seat, told POLITICO Wednesday afternoon that no one has brought allegations of misconduct to him. Asked about the sexual harassment allegations, Massa said: “When someone makes a decision to leave Congress, everybody says everything. I have health issues. I’ll talk about it [later].” Massa recently suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and he has said that his experience with cancer drove his interest in running for office so he could help reform the health care system. A 20-year Navy veteran, Massa was elected to office last November. He serves on the Agriculture, Armed Services and Homeland Security committees. Massa is scheduled to hold a conference call at 3:30 this afternoon to announce his decision, which came as a complete surprise to several of his freshman Democratic colleagues in the New York delegation. Massa has played a gadfly-like role in the House, calling for a single-payer health care system at a conference of liberal activists last year despite representing a Republican-leaning district. He was one of 39 House Democrats to vote against health care legislation; he said it didn’t do enough to control costs.

Massa has made a lot of noise in his one term. Massa, Paterson, Rangel…who’s the next New York Democrat to self-implode? This all sucks.

(Tipped by JMG reader Rob)