Patrick Leo "Pat" Meehan (born October 20, 1955) is a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district since January 3, 2011. The district includes most of Delaware County and parts of Chester and Montgomery Counties. He succeeded Democrat Joe Sestak, who ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate.
Congressman Meehan sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure, Oversight and Government Reform, and Homeland Security Committees. On the Homeland Security Committee, Meehan chairs the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.
A graduate of Bowdoin College and Temple University, Meehan previously served as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (2001–2008) and as district attorney of Delaware County, Pennsylvania (1996–2001).
Early life and education
Born and raised on Cheltenham, Pennsylvania by his parents Leo and Julia, Pat Meehan attended Bowdoin College in Maine and graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor’s of Arts (B.A.). While at Bowdoin, he was a standout hockey player and went on to spend two years in the National Hockey League (NHL) as an official. Meehan attended Temple Law School in Philadelphia, and graduated with his Juris Doctorate (J.D.) in 1986.
Early legal career
After college he went to work as an associate at the law firm Dilworth Paxson LLP.
Meehan’s career in public service and politics began in 1979 with the Philadelphia mayoral race working for Republican candidate David Marston.
A year later he worked on Roy Zimmerman's campaign for Pennsylvania Attorney General. Meehan went on to serve as Special Counsel to Senator Arlen Specter, and later as campaign manager for Senator Rick Santorum, Philadelphia District Attorney Ron Castille, and State Attorney General Ernie Preate.
In 1995 he was elected the District Attorney (D.A.) of Delaware County as a Republican. During Meehan's tenure as DA, his staff prosecuted several high profile cases including the Du Pont Murder Trial, (a case involving the murder of Olympic wrestler David Schultz by his millionaire benefactor John Eleuthère du Pont) and the 1996 murder of a 22 year-old college student named Aimee Willard (who was abducted from Route 476 and found in an abandoned lot in North Philadelphia).
While serving as D.A., Meehan set up the Special Victims Unit for Domestic Violence in Delaware County, allowing prosecutions to place without the victims having to testify in open-court and offering protection from the abusers. As D.A. he also focused on protecting youth by expanding the Youth Aid Panel program for first time offenders and creating a truancy project to limit youth-related crime during the day. Meehan established the United States Department of Justice’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) in Pennsylvania. The ICAC is a special unit of detectives that investigate online predators on the web and bring them to justice; it has become a model across the country.
Pat Meehan became the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on September 17, 2001, six days after the September 11, 2001 attacks. He was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate.
Meehan headed an office of over 200 lawyers and staffed backed up by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Office. As U.S. Attorney, Meehan has made terrorism, gang-crime, child internet-safety, and public-corruption priorities for his criminal division. Public-corruption in Philadelphia in particular was brought to the spotlight in 2003 when a FBI electronic listening device was found in the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office.
In light of the 9-11 Attacks, Meehan formed the Anti-Terrorism Task Force (ATTF), later renamed the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC) in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to evaluate and prevent future terrorist attacks.
This initiative was done in partnership with local, state and federal law-enforcement and emergency responders. The ATAC has led large-scale table-top and field exercises on biological attacks and the poisoning of the food-supply in partnership with Saint Joseph’s University in order to help Eastern Pennsylvania to prepare for terrorist attacks.
Recognizing the expansion of gang-related activity in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, Meehan sought a $2.5 million dollar Department of Justice grant to fight and prevent gang violence for the region. The unique “Route 222 Corridor Anti-Gang Initiative” brought together elected officials, federal, state and local law-enforcement with community groups to fight gangs in a rural area unfamiliar with big-city gang violence. The money was divided among enforcement, prevention and rehabilitation. The program aimed not only to increase arrests, but also to fund school programs and community centers to educate youth about the alternatives to gang life.
Continuing the work he began while he was Delaware County D.A., Meehan continued to make child safety on the Internet a priority, sponsoring Internet safety training seminars with Web Wise Kids and visiting local schools.
Meehan’s office has prosecuted sub-standard nursing homes and elder care facilities, and nefarious lenders who offered ill-advised loans to disadvantaged homeowners. (Bio) The U.S. Attorney’s Office under Meehan has been nationally recognized for its work in the field of health-care fraud. The office has won more than half a billion dollars in settlements against some of the largest pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy benefit managers, ensuring better self-policing and oversight by the industry.
Public corruption cases
Though he has been active in a wide variety of areas, it has been several high-profile public corruption cases that have put Meehan in the headlines. Philadelphia is well known for its “pay to play” culture that rewards patronage rather than merit. Since taking office, Meehan and his office have been actively prosecuting corrupt Philadelphia city officials. Meehan has said, "Pay to play cannot be standard operating procedure in city government.”
This was brought to national attention on October 7, 2003 when Philadelphia Police conducted a sweep of Mayor John F. Street’s office and found an electronic listening device. It was later discovered that the “bug” had been planted by the FBI as part of a city corruption investigation. Street was never charged in the investigation. City officials and the mayor were outraged, especially with the timing coinciding with the Philadelphia Mayoral Election on November 4, 2003. Street’s campaign spokesman went so far as to accuse the federal government of attempting to influence the election (which Street ended up winning anyway). Meehan was applauded in the press and in the city for his handling of the situation, which resulted in twelve indictments including Street confidant Ronald White (who later died before he could stand trial) and city treasurer Corey Kemp who was convicted and sentenced to ten years in federal prison.
Other city officials prosecuted by Meehan’s office included former city councilman Rick Mariano (who was sentenced to six and half years in federal prison for accepting bribes and attempting to influence city contracts), the President of the Independence Seaport Museum John S. Carter (who was sentenced to 15 years for cheating the museum from $1.5 million), Montgomery County accountant Denis Shusterman (for embezzling $10 million, he received a 14 year sentence), and State Senator Vincent Fumo (who has recently been convicted on 139 count indictment including fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges carrying a ten-year sentence).
U.S. House of Representatives
Meehan began his campaign for Pennsylvania governor in 2008. On August 7, 2009, however, he announced that he was ending his exploratory bid and would instead run for Congress. Reports indicated that another candidate, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, was too far ahead of Meehan in fund-raising and endorsements.
Meehan was elected with over 55% of the vote to an open seat in Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district in 2010. The seat was being vacated by Joe Sestak, who defeated U.S. Senator Arlen Specter in 2010 in the Democratic Party primary, but lost to Republican Pat Toomey in the general election. Meehan ran unopposed for the Republican Party nomination in the May 18, 2010 Republican Primary and defeated Democratic State Representative Bryan Lentz and independent American Constitution Party candidate Jim Schneller in the general election.
- Fraudulent nominating petitions investigation
To appear on the primary election ballot a candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania is required to collect valid signatures of 1,000 registered voters in the congressional district. When evidence of fraud in some of Meehan's petitions was discovered by the Meehan campaign, Meehan alerted the Delaware County District Attorney. Michael Green, the District Attorney and Meehan supporter, turned over the matter to the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General. Because the Attorney General, Tom Corbett, is the Republican candidate for governor, Lentz requested that the United States Department of Justice take over the investigation. Paul Summers, a Republican campaign operative and volunteer, was charged with seven counts of forgery and seven counts of making false signatures. He was convicted on seven of the charges after pleading guilty as part of a plea-bargain deal.
Meehan was sworn in on January 5, 2011. He was appointed to serve as one of just three freshman members on the House Republican Steering Committee, and is one of a select few House freshman to chair a subcommittee. He has joined the Republican Main Street Partnership.
As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Meehan chairs the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Chairman Meehan has held hearings to investigate issues such as Iran's ties to terrorism and the risks posed by extremists in Pakistan.
Meehan voted to repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As far as fiscal policy, he voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011, Cut, Cap and Balance Act, and voted to defund NPR. Among bills that became law, he voted for the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and to extend the Patriot Act.
Meehan has introduced the Jump Start for Job Creators Act, legislation that would encourage entrepreneurs to create jobs by increasing the maximum tax deduction for small business start-up expenses. Meehan has led the effort to preserve funding for the the V-22 Osprey, an advanced military aircraft manufactured in Meehan's district.
Meehan, his wife Carolyn and their three sons live in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.
January 26, 2012