Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas will donate money his campaign received from fellow GOP congressman Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania to charity. Meehan announced his retirement last week amid allegations of sexual harassment.
A Democratic opponent had called on Yoder to return $5,000 he received from Meehan’s campaign committee and political action committee in 2016. Yoder’s campaign initially declined to comment on the matter. After The Kansas City Star published an article, his campaign said Yoder had decided to donate Meehan’s contributions to The Faith Always Wins Foundation, which promotes interfaith dialogue.
Kansas Democrat Tom Niermann, a teacher who is hoping to unseat Yoder in November, had said in a statement that Yoder should give the money back, condemn Meehan’s behavior and speak up generally against sexual harassment in Congress and workplaces across the country.
“I’ve had the honor of teaching Kansas students for more than 26 years, and now more than ever, our elected leaders must set the highest example for our children,” Niermann said.
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“Kevin should do the right thing, and donate the campaign contributions from Rep. Pat Meehan, who has broken the trust of his staff and those he’s sworn to represent, and get to work ending the culture of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill.”
Meehan’s confessions of romantic feelings toward a female aide he called his “soul mate” resulted in a taxpayer-funded settlement. He announced on Jan. 25 that he would not seek re-election. Soon after, some vulnerable Republican members of Congress began announcing they would return donations they’d received from him or give the money to charity, including Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock, Colorado Rep. Mike Coffmann and Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine.
Yoder represents Kansas’ 3rd District, in which Democrat Hillary Clinton defeated Republican Donald Trump by one percentage point in 2016. Yoder won by 11 percentage points, but national Democrats are targeting his seat in November.
At least four Democrats, including Niermann, will vie for the chance to go up against Yoder in November. The primary is Aug. 7.
Lindsay Wise: 202-383-6007, @lindsaywise