Massa Aide Leaves Hill

The top aide to scandal-plagued former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) left the congressional payroll at the end of May, according to new House disbursement records.

Joe Racalto, one of at least two aides who accused Massa of sexual harassment, continued to work for the office of New York's 29th District after Massa resigned his seat in March amid an investigation into whether he had engaged in inappropriate behavior with male staffers.

Racalto's case and that of another anonymous Massa aide were being handled by the congressional Office of Compliance, which attempts to mediate employment disputes before they go to court. Most cases are settled before they go to court. It is not yet clear whether Racalto's case has been settled and his attorney did not immediately respond to an inquiry from POLITICO.

The Justice Department and the House ethics committee have also launched probes into the Massa scandal.

Between April 1 and May 30, Racalto earned $19,598.90 — a rate of roughly $120,000 per year. That's well below the roughly $153,000 per year rate he made in the first quarter of 2010 when the allegations of harassment were first lodged. In the final quarter of 2009, Racalto earned $32,500, or about $130,000 per year.

POLITICO reported in April that Racalto had been given a $40,000 lump-sum payment from Massa's separate campaign treasury the day before Massa resigned. Through a lawyer, Massa told the AP at the time that that he didn't authorize either that payment or an increase in Racalto's congressional salary of $40,000 per year.

Racalto's lawyer, Camilla McKinney, dismissed Massa's claim at the time as the allegation of a man who was trying to undermine a sexual harassment filing.

The Washington Post reported in late April that the Justice Department had begun investigating the campaign payment to Racalto.

Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) have been interviewed by ethics committee lawyers as part of an investigation into whether House officials appropriately handled sexual harassment allegations against Massa.

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