New York

Eric Massa To Retire Due to Health Reasons, Not Because of Harrassment Allegations

Massa Early reports today hinted that Eric Mass, a freshman Democrat Congressman from New York who announced he was retiring at the end of his term in office, wasn't seeking re-election because "according to several House aides – on both sides of the aisle – the the House Ethics Committee has been informed of allegations that Massa, who is married with two children, sexually harassed a male staffer."

Massa held a very brief teleconference this afternoon and announced that his early retirement was not due to any inappropriate behavior on his part, but strictly for health reasons. From the NYT:

"Addressing a report that he had been accused of sexual harassment by a male aide, Mr. Massa denied it, though he acknowledged having “used salty language” and said he had apologized for it. In a defiant tone, he added, “Those kinds of articles are a symptom of what is wrong with this city,” saying that it was why other politicians had “decided like I, ‘I do not have the life energy to fight all the battles all the time.’ ”

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  1. Am I the only one shocked he is a Democrat?

    Posted by: Demdude | Mar 3, 2010 7:03:56 PM

  2. You better believe it's for health reasons - because once his wife finds out, she's going to kill him.

    Posted by: taodon | Mar 3, 2010 7:04:29 PM

  3. And Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant at appomattox because he wanted to spend more time with his family, and go fishing.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 3, 2010 7:05:48 PM

  4. Luke Russert from NBC News reports that several sources on capital hill say that the sexual harassment allegations are just the tip of the ice berg. Wait for the other show to drop.


    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Mar 3, 2010 7:55:25 PM

  5. Firedoglake says that he has terminal cancer. I think that is a pretty good reason to leave politics. As far as the sexual harassment is concerned, I'm reading right wing blogs going after him as a closet case and a poster boy for keeping DADT. What they don't get is that since gay men aren't protected by an employment nondisrimination act, many times the only recourse gay employees who are being harassed because they are gay have is to claim sexual harassment. If the allegations are true, I would find that scenario much more likely than Massa hitting on a staffer. But once again the media uses rumors of being gay to stir the pot in the so called "culture wars". It is disgusting.

    Posted by: gaylib | Mar 3, 2010 8:21:40 PM

  6. Actually I find his comments pretty disgusting. If he does have terminal cancer, I forgive him. If not, he never should have entered public service, because he sounds like an excuse-making jerk.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 3, 2010 8:31:44 PM

  7. Terminal cancer is no excuse! That's a lift up, if anything--to do as much as you can with the time you have left. Wittgenstein was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, and he replied to the doctor what diagnosed him, "I don't want to live anymore," and he wrote mind blowing philosophy that changed (and, more importantly, is continuing to change) the course of western though right up until the hour of his death.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 3, 2010 9:23:41 PM

  8. i agree with tank: terminal cancer is no excuse.

    HOWEVER, i am of two minds about the sexual harassment charges. on the one hand, i want to know what he said and whether this is a case of overreacting. on the other hand, i think it's fantastic that the man who complained is treated the same as a woman is: no questions asked, complaint taken seriously.

    after thinking about it, i think both sexes need to calm down with the sexual harassment claims. but we live in the now, not in fantasy. Massa is making excuses instead of denying. Guilty.

    Posted by: zeta | Mar 3, 2010 10:01:56 PM

  9. I should have clarified: I meant that I forgave him if his cancer means he has fewer than 3-6 months to live. In that case, he should do whatever the hell he likes.

    But I suspect he's just an arse.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 4, 2010 12:20:10 AM

  10. The NYS Democratic party is now operating in the full hardball mode, with all the do-what-we-say-or-else rumor-mongering that putting several careers on ice.

    Congressmen are not bound by sexual harassment laws AFAIK. Only the full Congress can pass judgment on a member. This would be an ethics complaint, not a civil complaint.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 4, 2010 10:30:44 AM

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