Tales from the Trail

Massa public resignation letter: scar tissue, ethics complaint, car rides

March 5, 2010

USA-HEALTHCARE/PELOSICongressman Eric Massa (you would be forgiven for asking who?) posted on his web site one of the more “interesting” public resignation letters seen from a government official in some time.

The first-term Democrat from upstate New York starts by talking about a CAT scan that may or may not show scar tissue. In the next breath of his “open letter,” Massa mentions an ethics complaint in which a male staff member had felt “uncomfortable” due to statements made by the congressman.

Massa readily agrees that the ethics issue is “my fault and mine alone” because after 24 years in the Navy he did use language in his home and inner office that “might make a Chief Petty Officer feel uncomfortable.” (Defies the imagination because we have it on good authority that there is no language that would make most Navy Chief Petty Officers uncomfortable).

Then he blames the “toxic atmosphere” in Washington and the fate that befalls those who stand apart from political parties (he did vote against his fellow Democrats on healthcare reform).

“My difficulties are of my own making. Period,” Massa writes. “God knows that I am a deeply flawed and imperfect person.”

And then comes the apparently salty car rides.

“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,” he said.

Given the recent bout of other New York Democrats with issues — Governor David Paterson and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel — and the overriding factor of this being an election year, Democratic Party officials probably wish that Massa had just simply used the usual standby “leaving for family reasons” and left it at that.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Capitol dome)

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