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New York Rep. Tom Reed won’t seek another term

Cites alcoholism in response to allegation of drunken groping

After a Washington Post report Friday of a lobbyist's accusation he drunkenly groped her,  Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., said he will not seek reelection and has received treatment for alcoholism.
After a Washington Post report Friday of a lobbyist's accusation he drunkenly groped her, Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., said he will not seek reelection and has received treatment for alcoholism. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the wake of a Washington Post story in which a woman accused him of drunkenly groping her on a fundraising trip in 2017, New York Republican Rep. Tom Reed said Sunday he has received treatment for alcoholism and will not seek reelection next year.

Reed, 49, had been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in New York, where Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has faced numerous calls from members of the congressional delegation, including Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, to resign over allegations of sexual harassment.

Reed, who won his sixth term in November by 16 percentage points, said in a statement that while he first learned from The Post of the allegations from Nicolette Davis, now a second lieutenant in the Army, “I hear her voice and I will not dismiss her.”

Reed said he recognized his behavior “caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility.”

He said the trip in question, which involved ice fishing in Minnesota followed by drinks at an Irish bar where he allegedly grabbed Davis’ thigh and unhooked her bra while seated next to her, “occurred at a time in my life in which I was struggling.” He said he underwent treatment in 2017 and recognized that he is “powerless over alcohol.”

“This is in no way an excuse for anything I’ve done. Consistent with my recovery, I publicly take ownership of my past actions, offer this amends and humbly apologize again to Ms. Davis, my wife and kids, loved ones, and to all of you,” Reed said.

Reed is co-chairman of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group that has pledged to try to break partisan gridlock and had been hoping to play a pivotal role in the narrowly divided Congress after some success on a COVID-19 relief bill in December.

Reed’s 23rd District, which straddles the New York-Pennsylvania border south of Buffalo, is strongly Republican. Republican Donald Trump carried the district by 11 points against Democratic nominee Joe Biden in November and by 15 points against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. Reed is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

Davis, now a commissioned Army officer, told the Post she was 25 at the time and had been excited to have the chance as a lobbyist for the Aflac insurance company to go on a trip with members of Congress. But she said she was stunned by Reed’s behavior and asked the person sitting on her other side for help. That person seated next to her convinced Reed to leave the bar.

“This account of my actions is not accurate,” Reed said Friday in an emailed statement to CQ Roll Call, the same statement his office had provided to the Post.

Reed could be subject to House ethics scrutiny for his action. The House Ethics Committee has previously investigated matters of sexual misconduct when the allegations come from individuals who are not employed by the House.

In his statement Sunday, Reed said he planned to “dedicate my time and attention to making amends for my past actions. In addition to apologizing to those I have impacted, including Ms. Davis, I will be seeking to help those wrestling with addiction in any way I can.”

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