Boehner Renews Call for Massa Investigation

Posted April 13, 2010 at 4:38pm

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday renewed his call for the House ethics committee to launch an investigation into how much Democratic leaders knew about allegations of sexual harassment against former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) before the lawmaker resigned last month.

The House voted on March 11 to refer a Republican-sponsored resolution for an inquiry into the Massa case to the ethics committee, formally known as the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

But Boehner said new details about Massa’s alleged inappropriate behavior toward staff, reported by the Washington Post on Tuesday, required an immediate investigation into what leaders knew and when they knew it.

“It is now readily apparent that Congressman Massa’s pattern of troubling behavior continued long after Democrats first became aware of his conduct. Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi’s [D-Calif.] staff has acknowledged they knew about problems in Mr. Massa’s office back in the fall of 2009,” Boehner said in a statement. “It is time for the ethics committee to heed this call and launch an investigation to determine what Democratic Leaders knew about former Rep. Massa’s behavior, and what they did to protect the staff who were being subjected to this predator.”

The ethics committee announced an investigation into Massa in early March and has not announced to date whether that investigation is ongoing.

Massa allegedly sexually harassed several of his Congressional aides. Massa denied any wrongdoing during several television and radio interviews last month but admitted to using “salty language” and engaging in improper physical contact with his staff.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office acknowledged last month that Hoyer aides had been alerted to allegations against Massa in February. Hoyer’s staff directed Massa’s aides to report the matter to the ethics committee or Hoyer would do so himself.

Jennifer Yachnin contributed to this report.