Rep. Pat Meehan admits that he told a much younger aide that he saw her as a "soul mate" and handled it badly when he found out she had a serious boyfriend—but he denies that his actions count as sexual harassment, even though his office secretly settled with her for thousands of taxpayer dollars last summer. The Pennsylvania Republican tells the Philadelphia Inquirer that he developed an "affection" for the longtime aide and confessed his feelings for her when he found out about her new relationship. He says he told her "that I was a happily married man and I was not interested in a relationship, particularly not any sexual relationship, but we were soul mates." Meehan, 62, says he defines "soul mate" as a "sort of person that you go through remarkable experiences together."
Meehan gave the Inquirer a copy of an emotional letter he wrote to the aide. He admits that "in hindsight," he should have realized it could make a subordinate uncomfortable to receive such a letter from a superior—but in his office, they're all "Team Meehan." He says the hostility the former aide complained she experienced was not because she didn't reciprocate his feelings, but because he was stressed out by ObamaCare negotiations. Her lawyer tells CNN that Meehan's comments are a "gross violation" of their confidentiality agreement and she plans to continue protecting her privacy by not breaching it. Meehan has been removed from the House Ethics Committee, which is investigating the allegations. (Read more Patrick Meehan stories.)