Kihuen Won’t Resign, Says Dem Leaders Knew Of Allegations During Campaign

Bill Clark/CQPHO

Despite calls from Democratic leaders to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment, Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) told ABC Tuesday that he is “not resigning” and claimed Democratic leaders knew about the allegations against him during the campaign, but never said anything.

“I do find it interesting that the DCCC, Leader (Nancy) Pelosi (D-CA) and Chairman Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)— they knew about these allegations last year,” he told ABC outside his office Tuesday. “They looked into them. They didn’t find anything, and they continued investing millions of dollars in my campaign. They were out there and campaigned for me.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as well as Pelosi’s and Lujan’s offices denied having any knowledge of the allegations before Buzzfeed published them Friday. A woman who worked for Kihuen’s campaign last year has accused the congressman of asking her for dates and sex “despite her repeated rejections.” She said he also touched her thighs twice without her consent.

According to Buzzfeed, the woman, who they identified as Samantha, told the DCCC that she had quit her job working for Kihuen’s campaign because he made her uncomfortable. A DCCC aide brought that information to Kihuen’s campaign manager, Dave Chase, who told Buzzfeed he confronted the then-candidate about the complaint and he denied it. Chase told Buzzfeed that he thinks the congressman lied. 

The DCCC spent at least $3 million on Kihuen’s campaign, and Pelosi’s campaign made a $2,000 contribution to his election committee, according to FEC filings. A source associated with the DCCC told ABC that the committee wouldn’t have financially supported Kihuen if they’d known about the allegations.

News that Kihuen doesn’t plan to resign comes amid reports that the congressman’s chief of staff was trying to find new jobs for all of Kihuen’s D.C. office staffers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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