Pelosi's Office Heard Concerns about Eric Massa in October

Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y.
Eric Massa
Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office had heard concerns about former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) as far back as October, according to reports.

The official House ethics committee investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Massa is over, now that he has resigned. Republicans, however, may press for more inquiry into how Democratic leadership handled reports of Massa's alleged misconduct.

There is no indication that Pelosi's office knew of allegations that Massa had improper physical contact with staffers before February, when House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer took the charges to the ethics committee, Politico reports. However, an aide to Pelosi acknowledged yesterday that Massa's chief of staff, Joe Racalto, told a member of Pelosi's staff in October that Massa had hired too many staff members, was living with several of them and used foul language around them.

Racalto was prompted to call Pelosi's office after he learned Massa made a lunch date with a young male staffer from Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)'s office, the Washington Post reports, citing an unnamed source. Racalto was reportedly concerned Massa had a habit of "trying to spend time alone with young, gay men with no ostensible work purpose," according to the Post.

House GOP leaders met yesterday to discuss what actions to take with respect to the Massa allegations. The party may ask for the ethics committee to restart its investigation. In 2006, the committee decided to investigate the sexual harassment charges against former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) even after he had resigned from Congress, Republicans point out.

"If things were being equally treated, of course the probe would go on," Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said, according to the Post.

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