Just days after he revealed that he would not seek a second term in 2010, freshman Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) announced today he will resign on Monday. According to reports, Massa was pressured to resign by fellow Democrats who are alarmed over an ethics committee investigation into charges that Massa sexually harassed a male staffer.
In a statement posted on his website, Massa maintained his medical issues were his reason for stepping down, but for the first time he acknowledged the ethics committee investigation. “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 [sic] fact I first read it on the internet,” Massa said in the statement. “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,” Massa said. “My difficulties are of my own making. Period.”
New York Gov. David Paterson, should he last longer than Massa (and right now, that’s iffy), will have to decide whether to call a special election to temporarily fill Massa’s House seat between now and November. The winner of that special election would have to re-run for the seat again in the fall.