House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called on the House Ethics Committee to "immediately and thoroughly" investigate a report by ABC News today that Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney secretly paid his former alleged mistress and campaign staffer to prevent a sexual harassment lawsuit from going forward.
"I just learned today about the serious allegations concerning Congressman Tim Mahoney," Pelosi said in a statement. "These charges must be immediately and thoroughly investigated by the House Ethics Committee."
The announcement came just as the advertising company used by Mahoney's campaign said that it had "permanently" ended its relationship with the West Palm Beach congressmen based on the report by ABC News that he had promised his former alleged mistress a job at the firm as part of a secret legal deal.
A press release sent out by Fletcher Rowley Chao Riddle said the Nashville-based political advertising firm had "resigned" from Mahoney's campaign.
The statement continued: "Tim Mahoney apparently included our company in a secret legal settlement without the knowledge of our firm. Our firm did not agree to any legal settlement. If these allegations are true Tim Mahoney's actions are unacceptable and not in line with FRCR's business ethics."
As part of the March settlement between Mahoney and his alleged mistress, former campaign staffer Patricia Allen, the congressman paid Allen $61,000 and another $60,000 to her lawyer, according to people familiar with the settlement. The agreement also promised Patricia Allen a $50,000 a year at Fletcher Rowley or another company for two years, the sources said.