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Upstate retiring Dem faces misconduct allegation

A congressman from upstate New York who cited health reasons in announcing his retirement yesterday is facing allegations of misconduct, a top House Democrat confirmed.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer did not elaborate on the allegation against Democratic Rep. Eric Massa, who said he will not seek a second term after a recurrence of cancer late last year. The allegation involved a male staffer, a House aide told The Associated Press, but the aide wouldn't characterize it further.

Massa, 50, who was stricken with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1996, was elected in 2008, defeating Republican Rep. Randy Kuhl in a district long dominated by Republicans.

"There are blogs who are saying I am leaving because there were charges of harassment against my staff," Massa said during a conference call. "Do I or have I ever used salty language when I am angry . . . Yes, I have, and I have apologized to those where it's appropriate." - AP

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