March 5th, 2010
04:30 PM ET
4 years ago

Massa to resign Monday – 'deeply flawed,' he says

Rep. Eric Massa said Friday that he would resign next week.
Rep. Eric Massa said Friday that he would resign next week.

Washington (CNN) - Embattled Rep. Eric Massa, D-New York, said Friday that he will resign from the House on Monday afternoon.

"I [resign] with a profound sense of failure and a deep apology to all those whom, for the past year, I tried to represent as our nation struggles with problems far greater than anyone can possibly imagine," Massa wrote in a statement posted on his House Web site.

On Wednesday, Massa had said he would not seek re-election because of health concerns and denied reports that he had harassed one of his Capitol Hill staffers.

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it was "investigating and gathering additional information" on allegations against Massa.

Massa, in the statement Friday, said he had already decided to quit because of concerns about cancer before he learned that a staffer had complained to the Ethics panel.

"After I decided not to run again I was told, for the first time, that a member of my staff believed I had made statements that made him feel 'uncomfortable,'" Massa wrote.

"I own this reality," he continued. "There is no doubt in my mind that I did in fact, use language in the privacy of my own home and in my inner office that, after 24 years in the Navy, might make a Chief Petty Officer feel uncomfortable. In fact, there is no doubt that this Ethics issue is my fault and mine alone."

He goes on to lament the "incredibly toxic atmosphere" in Washington and says that an ethics probe "would tear my family and my staff apart." Investigators, he said, would "be free to ask anything about me going back to my birth."

"I simply cannot rise to that level of perfection," Massa wrote. "God knows that I am a deeply flawed and imperfect person."

Massa defeated an incumbent Republican with 51 percent of the vote in 2008. But John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, also carried the same congressional district by 51 percent, which gives the GOP hope of taking back the seat.

CNN's Evan Glass, Dana Bash contributed to this report

Read Massa's full statement below:

An open letter from Rep. Massa

Two days ago as I sat reading my new annual CAT scan, having been told that the anomalies in the films may or may not be scar tissue, I decided to finally take the advice that my doctors have repeatedly given me, and that is to take care of my family and myself before my profession. After I decided not to run again I was told, for the first time, that a member of my staff believed I had made statements that made him feel “uncomfortable.” I was told that a report had been filed with the Congressional Ethics Committee. At no point prior to this had any member of the Ethics Committee communicated with me directly – if fact I first read it on the internet.

I own this reality. There is no doubt in my mind that I did in fact, use language in the privacy of my own home and in my inner office that, after 24 years in the Navy, might make a Chief Petty Officer feel uncomfortable. In fact, there is no doubt that this Ethics issue is my fault and mine alone. But in the incredibly toxic atmosphere that is Washington D.C., with the destruction of our elected leaders having become a blood sport, especially in talk radio and on the internet, there is also no doubt that an Ethics investigation would tear my family and my staff apart. Some would say that this is what happens when you stand apart from political parties, which I have done. Others will say that this is what happens to a non politician when they go to Washington DC. I want to make something perfectly clear. My difficulties are of my own making. Period. I am also aware that blogs and radio will have a field day with this in today's destructive and unforgiving political environment. In that investigators would be free to ask anything about me going back to my birth, I simply cannot rise to that level of perfection. God knows that I am a deeply flawed and imperfect person.

During long car rides, in the early hours of the evening, late at night and always in private, I know that my own language failed to meet the standards that I set for all around me and myself. I fell short and I believe now, as I have always believed, that it is not enough to simply talk the talk, but rather I must take action to hold myself accountable.

Therefore, effective at 5 PM on Monday the 8th of March I will resign my position as the Federal Representative of New York's 29th Congressional District in the 111th Congress. I do so with a profound sense of failure and a deep apology to all those whom, for the past year, I tried to represent as our Nation struggles with problems far greater than anyone can possibly imagine. I hope that my family, constituents, and fellow Members of Congress can accept this apology as being both genuine and heartfelt and I wish for them and all Americans only the best. I will take all actions possible to ensure that my personal health is secured in that I know that mine is a far more fragile lifeline than most. For the millions of fellow cancer survivors with whom I share this experience, they, more than anyone else, will understand the honesty and openness in this statement.

I ask that members of the press respect the privacy of my family, my staff, and me at this time.

-Congressman Eric Massa


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soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Objective Thinking

    I wonder what it's like to be Sniffit... only seeing one side of everything.

    March 5, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. Allen in Hartwell GA

    If we could just get the rest of Congress to resign maybe we could get someone new in there to represent us. Republicans keep yelling and shouting about changing Congress, but I'll bet they pull the GOP lever when they vote and not even look to see if they are voting for an incumbent.
    Hypocrites!

    March 5, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. Gary, Sacramento

    Wow. From the looks of these comments, I'd say that Congress is a pretty good reflection of the general public – hopelessly ideologically divided, and not very nice.

    March 5, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  4. jim

    It's sad. I don't mean the politician doing whatever he did. If you don't expect too much from politicians – you'll rarely be disappointed. What's really sad – are the comments – you all – left & right – are the problem. It's really pretty disgusting.

    March 5, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. Paul

    Representative Massa was thrown under the bus as an example to other Democrats. You either toe the Obama / Pelosi line on health-care, or you're next. Chicago politics in the White House.

    March 5, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  6. San

    Sounds like we need women to be the Congressional leaders. Haven't heard any sex scandals about the women in Washington...
    Republican or Democrat ~ unless I missed something.

    How soon the Republicans forget about their sex scandals... Too numerous to mention ~ I would say the Republicans and Dems are equal in sex scandals.

    March 5, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. blite

    It is not about dems or rep.s its about the truth.

    March 5, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  8. MatthewDetroit

    VOTE ALL corrupt politicians out and start demanding that they be

    honest and have integrity.

    If they cheat on their wives then they will cheat on us. A cheat is a cheat. Period.

    March 5, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  9. Ken in NC

    What do all these people have in common with eachother that makes them feel it's OK to harrass people, have love affairs and openly misuse Gov. money and then act as if nothing has happened?

    March 5, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
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