Ethics Panel Opens Probe Into Sexual Harassment Claim Against Dem Rep.

Bill Clark/CQPHO

The House Ethics Committee announced Friday afternoon that it would investigate allegations that Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) sexually harassed a campaign staffer during the 2016 election cycle.

A former campaign staffer came forward earlier this month and told BuzzFeed News that she left her job on the Kihuen campaign because Kihuen asked her on dates and to have sex despite her repeated rejections and touched her legs without consent twice. She told BuzzFeed that she complained to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee about Kihuen’s behavior, and Buzzfeed reported that a DCCC staffer approached Kihuen’s campaign manager about the complaint. A DCCC employee spoke to Kihuen’s campaign manager, who confronted Kihuen.

Kihuen denied wrongdoing at the time, per BuzzFeed News, and he has refused to step down now that the allegation has been made public.

In refusing to step down, he said this month that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), the chair of the DCCC, both knew about the allegation during the campaign. He claimed that the DCCC investigated the matter and found nothing.

Pelosi and Lujan both denied that they knew about the allegation before it was made public by Buzzfeed News. Pelosi has since called on Kihuen to resign.

Read the House Ethics Committee’s memo: