March 5th, 2010
04:30 PM ET
5 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. John D

    Falling like flies. What will Pelosi say about this? How will she say she's running the most open and ethical congress. She the pig with lipstick Obama was talking about.

    March 5, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Despite another Democrat quitting, for anyone who is misinformed, the numbers are still not as high as the Republicans.

    March 5, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. j

    I can understand him wanting to leave over medical concerns but really, it's not that much longer until the elections, why not just see it through a little while longer.

    March 5, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. frostysmom

    Yes, he did just swear. You people don't know Eric Massa. Some of us do. You're so dumb. It's unbelievable. You think we're gullible? No, you're the ones being manipulated by a crazed media system. What you've got here is a person who's worked like a dog for his country and has gotten slapped around because he has an extremely colorful way of speaking and someone got offended. Massa graduated from the Naval Academy nearly 30 years ago. Times have indeed changed since then. I don't think recent graduates are as vulgar as they were 30 years ago. Massa feels bad that his mouth hasn't caught up with the times. But, no, he shouldn't have been abused like this because of it.

    I'm glad he's leaving. He's done enough for this ungrateful mob. He got cancer serving his country in the Gulf War and now it may be back because he threw all his energy into making the USA a better place, to the point where I've seen him so tired that he couldn't walk or talk.

    And this is the thanks he gets...

    March 5, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. D.

    When republicans were in power we got all this abuses, now democrats are in power and the abuse comes from them, including personal abuse. Is this the promised change?

    March 5, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. rob

    .........."denied reports that he had harassed one of his Capitol Hill staffers."

    Why does CNN leave out the two most importand words regarding the charges against this guy....."Sexual" harassement and "Male" staffer?

    That is what he is accused of isn't it? I'd like to go back to to when rep Mark Foley was forced to resign when he was inappropriately emailing those male interns. How much time and print did CNN give to that story and did they hold back at all with any of those details?

    March 5, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Is this guy Larry Craig, oh no, Craig is the Republican bathroom stall foot tapper.

    March 5, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Richie in Mass

    His health concerns are that the American people are sick of the hypocrites that the Democrats are. Culture of corruption seems to be the only thing bipartisan in DC. This guy is plaing Mark Foley role in the sequel I guess.

    March 5, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. ab

    Finally the truth about about Mr. Eric Massa is revealed. He is really resigning due to sexual misconduct rather than Health reasons. I say good riddence. The Democrat Party and its supporters are better off without him.

    March 5, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. MJ

    Deb – So Clinton never had sex with that woman ... They all lie! They have no right to be in a position of power. Don't make this a Republican/Democrat debate. Get rid of them all! I, for one, am fed up with the deals they make, the salary and benefits they do not deserve, the misery they have caused America. Bunch of power-hungry thugs.

    March 5, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Jugglr

    Amazing. A republican gets caught in an airport men's room, denies the obvious (that he was there for gay sex), and many in his party rally around him so he refuses to resign the position he has disgraced. A Republican Gov goes AWOL for several days with his girlfriend, and refuses to resign. A Nevada senator admits an affair, nobody howls, and he refuses to resign.

    A Democratic representative spews some foul language, and he stands up, admits he was wrong, and resigns.

    do you see any difference here in the way members of each of the parties accept responsibility for their actions?

    March 5, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. GB

    To SEEBOFUBAR: You say, "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. "

    Are you serious? Does anyone in your unerstanding of political life even take you seriously? LOL! LOL! ROFL! AHAHAHAHAHAHHA!

    Please. Join life and realize that politicians are all the same. They're spend thrifty when it suits the political atmosphere and free-spending when no one is watching.

    Now go back to your cubbie-hole!

    March 5, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  13. Mike

    Why are so many male politicians peter-puffers? There seem to be many more than population statistics would suggest.

    March 5, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. Justin

    News flash for all you salivating gossip hounds..... to meet the qualifications of sexual harrassment all he would have needed to do was drop the f-bomb and make crude sexual references (about females or males, gay or straight) and make someone feel uncomfortable. There did not have to be a sex scandel so get over it. My question is, did this male staffer address his concern with him or just hold on until an "oppurtune" moment to run to the media??

    March 5, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  15. MatthewDetroit

    Maybe the Dems need to stop grabbing little boys ar ses..

    March 5, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. big chunky 33

    finally have a little bandwagon to ride and sling rocks from after seeing your party embarrass
    itself this whole week......guys we know the drill....we literally seen your plan book
    courtesy of richard steele, give it up already its getting old

    March 5, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    Good. The democrat's are going down in flames!

    March 5, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Richie in Mass

    If he only "swore " then why is he resigning? No he is resigning before a investigation digs in and finds the facts. Quit and they go away. Just like now libs are claiming the NY govenor is being attacked for free world series tickets. Disract us from the fact he not only covered up the abuse of a woman but tried to get her not to report it. When will idiologs realize DC is corrupt, It doesn't lean towards one party. Yes the republicans had their scumbags but the press lambasted them and called for their immediate reignations. Now when The right calls for it they are nitpicking?This is why Americans don't want the healthcare plan being offered. Libs claim they don't know whats in it. We dont. We only know what we are told is in it by both sides and they lie. We don't believe either party. The Libs have been saying " Pass it and people will love it because they don't know the facts". Really? It doesn't kick in till 2013. Yet taxes go up retroactively to Jan1st. How are people going to love something in the coming months when it won't do anything for years.

    I know. We are dumb and you know whats better for us. The only thing bipartisan in DC is corruption

    March 5, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. Another Day Another Lie by Dems R US

    Meg-the SC governnor admitted he was wrong,not like pretty boy Edwards that said he was true to his wife of which had cancer.The dems are just lying crap pure and simple.I quess Pelosi will take up for this one too like Rangel.If this had been a GOP,the dems would have ordered a firing squad.

    March 5, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. Stop Corruption

    Liberal/Obamabots playbook:
    Stop the media from reporting facts (if negative) about dems. Why are the dems for such media control and censorship?

    CAN EVERYONE JUST UNDERSTAND??? THIS IS WHY WE NEED LESS GOVT! THEY CAN'T BE TRUSTED. Rangle, Patterson, Massa, Jefferson (with 80 grand in his freezer)...hmmm who else.
    People bring up the senator who tried to hook up in a bathroom.....it's much worse to sexual harrass a subordianate!

    March 5, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. Stop Corruption

    Snifit I want to see your tax return...oh wait, you just sponge off the government since you are one of the lazy and unwilling!

    Get a job and contribute to society....and leave your parents basement. I'm tired of supporting those who don't try.

    March 5, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  22. Another Day Another Lie by Dems R US

    Sniffitt- Sanford admitted his mistake and takes full responsibility-Rangel blames his staff-pretty boy Edwards denies as his wife battles cancer- why can you not admit the dems are at fault,must be the usual dem blame it on Bush/someone else-a dem never does anything wrong-BS

    March 5, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  23. jake

    Tammy you're wrong there will be plenty of us democrates around in the fall and it might not be as easy as you think.

    March 5, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  24. JLP

    I have no comment.

    March 5, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. Most Republicans - Wrong about everything, Wrong for America (and GW Bush was the worst President ever)

    Unless you we know what he said, how can we form an opinion. These days, people get offended at the drop of a hat.

    March 5, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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