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. ed

    another corrupt democrat bites the dust. How many more will follow...

    March 5, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. CHIPS

    Change is coming. When the lights go on the roaches scatter like crazy Reps & Dems.

    March 5, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. JK Ashburn, VA

    Like many members of Congress, this guy is scum. At least he's doing the honorable thing and resigning. He needs to take about 100 of them with him for the "House"cleaning to really start.

    March 5, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. meg

    Republicans going after democrats. How about south carolina gov. and senator from nevada?

    March 5, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Wake Up

    another day, another dem scandel.

    You libs ever understand, why we say less government, now?

    March 5, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. SpecialK

    The next in the long line of men deeply apologizing for their bad behavior. You are an embarrassment to NYS and to your family. Good bye and good riddance, Mr. "salty-sailor."

    March 5, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Hammerer

    The stinch from Washington is getting unbearable. The true light is beginning to expose the decay and corruption.

    March 5, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. Wake Up

    snifit– it's "new" news. I know you only like your when there's reports of people calling anyone opposing obama racists...but this is news. He's now admitting sexually harassing a staffer.

    Snifit, why don't you get a job and contribute to society. I'm tired of supporting the lazy and unwilling.

    March 5, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Bruce

    GOOD!!! He needs to go...about John King. Liz Chaney (I believe or it might have been Carly Fiorina) once told him at the end of a segment that it was great what he was doing for the conservative movement. His answer was...Thanks. CNN are you moving right expecting to get some of the 1.5 million viewers FAUX new is claiming to have?

    March 5, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. Mark

    Why arent all the Democrats screaming about him like they did about Paterson in NY? Guess its because the President has not asked this guy to retire like he did with the NY Governor.

    March 5, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Oh come on CNN, if the guy was a Republican you would be out there spewing all. Hec, the DNC would be running ads on your channel telling it all. Since its a democrat discreet little hints. Let see those blaring headlines like you do when a republican is caught dirty.

    March 5, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. Rob Stumpf

    One less potential vote for Obamacare. Excellent news.

    March 5, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. Obama Victim

    another day...another dem goes down..........I can't wait for tomorrow....and the day after...and the day after...and the day after...you get the idea

    March 5, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. chill

    The reaction sounds extraordinarily overblown. The guy swears or goes off-color and we have decay, corruption, scum, scandal, raoches.. y'all need to get a life. Notice that our brave staffer waited until after his job with the Congressman seemed to be coming to an end after the election to file his complaint. Couldn't have been too unbearable. Maybe there is fire there somewhere, but the reaction to what is known to date is silly.

    March 5, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. frostysmom

    You guys are idiots. Eric did nothing wrong except have a foul mouth which everyone knew going into this. God, I hate Republicans. You are the biggest pieces of crap around. All you can do is accuse, accuse, accuse, accuse, accuse, as if you are perfect. Until you've been there, until you've walked the walk and worked your ass off like Eric Massa has to try to save this sorry ass country from jerks like you, keep your dumb opinions to yourselves. I've got news for you. I know Eric Massa and the people who leave nasty comments about him here are not fit to clean his toilet.

    March 5, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. Stop Corruption

    You dems thinks he just "swore". Come on....he was inappropriate. Why else would he resign? You dems are so gulliable. No wonder we are stuck with the worst president in american history.

    March 5, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. this black liberal hates Obama

    And frostysmom, guess what, America hates you, so shut your pothole Up!

    March 5, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Deb

    Ironic. A Democrat with a potty-mouth resigns, but Republicans who are adulterers continue in office.

    March 5, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. Kevin in Ohio

    @frostysmom March 5th, 2010 4:34 pm ET

    " Eric did nothing wrong except have a foul mouth which everyone knew going into this. "
    _________________

    Right. And sexual harassment is OK if you happen to be a democrat? The hypocrisy you display is amazing. Had this been a republican, you lefties would want him put to death.

    March 5, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. seebofubar

    Hey frostysmom, you sound like a spoiled brat. You know what the diference between Democrats and Republicans is?

    Democrats are like spoiled children who constantly nag their parents “Mommy buy me this, Daddy buy me that” without any regard to the family finances or to the idea that it’s not always proper to get whatever you want. Republicans are the parents who exhibit tough love by saying “ I know that you want this, but right now we just can't afford it. Maybe in the future if you save some money, we can help you buy your new toy.” Good parents know that it’s is important to instill good financial responsibility and provide a good roll model for their children.

    March 5, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. GI Joe

    McCain called his wife the "C" word, which would make me feel uncomfortable being around him or his wife, but that crap goes un-noticed.

    Massa – you didn't crash enough planes, let yourself get captured, or spill secrets to the enemy. THAT was your problem.

    March 5, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Marie MD

    So democrats are corrupt. So are the repugs but at least the democrats don't preach family values and bible teachings.
    We will NEVER have less government. Get over it!

    March 5, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    When Sniffit@ is uncomfortable turn it up. Play up Pelosis old comments about the republican scandals. What was it the libs were saying about Mark Foley? Atter supporting Letterman when he made those horrible comments about Palin's 14 year old daughter, I am so glad to see this stuff biting the libs, real bad. Now if the run as many stories about this as they did Mark Sanford, Sniffit will really go nuttier.

    March 5, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Joe Six

    I guess the world is round, and what goes around comes around. If this guy was a Republican (Sarah Palin, Mark Foley, Tom DeLay), the Democrats would be trashing him. So why are Democrats surprised when Republicans trash this guy. Maybe one day both sides will take a vacation from hyper-sensitivity and the need to trash their opponents rather than simply do the people's business.

    March 5, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. Tammy

    At this rate, there will not be any Democrats left in Congress to vote against in November!!!!

    March 5, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
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