Rep. Eric Massa will not seek reelection

By Chris Cillizza and Ben Pershing
Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) has decided against seeking reelection, creating an open seat in a competitive House district.

Massa, a freshman from western New York, told reporters Wednesday that he is retiring for health reasons. He has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

But House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Massa was also facing an ethics investigation. Hoyer did not detail the allegations of misconduct but said his office became aware of them nearly a month ago.

"Mr. Hoyer instructed his staff that if Mr. Massa or his staff did not bring the matter to the attention of the bipartisan Ethics Committee within 48 hours, Mr. Hoyer would do so," Hoyer spokeswoman Katie Grant said in a statement. "Within 48 hours, Mr. Hoyer received confirmation from both the Ethics Committee staff and Mr. Massa's staff that the Ethics Committee had been contacted and would review the allegations."

Massa did not take any questions from reporters after he addressed them on a conference call. He denied that his decision had anything to do with scandal.

Politico, citing anonymous sources, reported Wednesday that the ethics committee has received allegations that Massa sexually harassed a male staffer.

Massa called the allegations "unsubstantiated, without . . . backing" and "a symptom of what's wrong with this city."

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