Twice now since mid-December, married Republican congressmen who settled credible sexual harassment claims with taxpayer money have announced their retirements (effective at the end of their term) rather than immediate resignations.
The first was Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, who spent $84,000 of taxpayer money to settle with a former staffer who accused him of repeated sexual harassment, like allegedly telling other staffers he had "sexual fantasies" and "wet dreams" about her.
Then came Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., a member of the House Ethics Committee, who also settled with a former staffer for an undisclosed sum of thousands of dollars. Meehan has since mounted the convincing defense that the staffer in question was his "soul mate" and he only expressed his feelings for her to "prevent the situation from becoming inappropriate," as the Philadelphia Inquirer reported (emphasis mine).
So there you have it, two (supposedly) fiscally responsible family men who just want us to keep paying their salaries until the time comes for them to gracefully extract themselves from public life.
Both Farenthold and Meehan deny the specific charges of sexual harassment, though both have also apologized for at least some of the alleged misconduct. But it doesn't really matter. Each man has conceded to enough bad behavior that even another dime of taxpayer money is more than they deserve.
Sexualizing female subordinates in ways we can be all but certain they did is disgusting and beneath the dignity of their offices. Professing to be an enemy of government waste while also using taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment complaints is dishonest, full stop.
Consider Meehan's official biography, wherein he boasts of "working tirelessly to root out wasteful federal spending and hold Washington accountable for poor management and misconduct," or Farenthold's, in which he claims to be "working towards a smaller, more accountable and transparent government."
Neither man is the person voters believed they sent to Washington, and neither man's constituents should not have to settle for their representation while Farenthold and Meehan continue earning and spending their tax dollars.