House Ethics Committee Launches Probe Into Sexual Harassment Claims Against Dem Rep. Ruben Kihuen

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Posted: Dec 15, 2017 2:30 PM
House Ethics Committee Launches Probe Into Sexual Harassment Claims Against Dem Rep. Ruben Kihuen

The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it is launching an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV). He faces allegations of sexual harassment from his campaign's former finance director and a lobbyist who both allege inappropriate touching and advances from Kihuen.

"The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Ruben Kihuen may have engaged in sexual harassment," according to an Ethics Committee statement. "The Committee has begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding the allegations."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called on Kihuen to step down after Buzzfeed initially reported the allegations.

"I've asked him to resign from the start," Pelosi said. She wrote after the first accuser came forward that "the young woman's documented account is convincing, and I commend her for the courage it took to come forward. In light of these upsetting allegations, Congressman Kihuen should resign."

Kihuen issued an apology to his former finance director, Samantha, saying that she had been a "valued member" of his campaign. He did not deny her allegations in his apology. 

In response to the lobbyist’s claims, Kihuen said "during my 10 years in the legislature, I dated several different women. Out of respect for their privacy, I won't discuss my communications or any other details of those relationships."

Three lawmakers, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), have stepped down recently after allegations of improper conduct surfaced against them.

Rep. Conyers and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) have both used taxpayer funds to settle harassment claims. Conyers used $27,000 in taxpayer money from his office’s budget to settle a complaint and Farenthold used $84,000 in taxpayer funds from a little-known congressional account for harassment and discrimination lawsuits. Farenthold recently said he would repay the funds and announced that he will be retiring. His current term ends in January 2019. 

The Ethics Committee announced last week that it will be establishing an investigative subcommittee to look into the allegations against Farenthold.