Western North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows has been officially sanctioned by the House Ethics Committee. The punishment comes following an investigation into harassement allegations against the Republican's former chief of staff Kenny West.
The committee ruled that Meadows broke House rules when he failed to 'take prompt and decisive action' when confronted by harrassment allegations against West from female staffers. Investigators found that Meadows was first notified of West's conduct in October 2014. The comittee further ruled that Meadows' solution to the issue, 'to cut off all contact between Mr. West and most of his female employees', risked unequal treatment of employees. As part of the sanctions against him, Meadows will reimburse the government just over $40-thousand for West's salary. That money was paid to West following his demotion from chief of staff in April 2015. He resigned the following month, but Meadows continued to pay West until August of that year.
Among the allegations made against West by female staffers include unwanted touching, inappropriate staring, and unprofessional comments about female employees' appearances. West 'vigorously denied' the allegations when first confronted by Meadows according to the report, telling the Congressman that staff in the office did not like having an 'older guy' around. Meadows defeated West in the 2012 Republican primary in North Carolina's 11th district, en route to winning his first term in office that fall. He won re-election to a fourth term earlier this month, garnering 59% of the vote.