Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) has announced he will not seek re-election after the House Ethics Committee launched a probe into his alleged sexual misconduct, reports the Washington Examiner.
Christine reported on December 1st that Rep. Ruben Kihuen had been accused of sexual harassment by his campaign finance director. The harassment was allegedly so bad that the woman was forced to quit. Details obtained by Buzzfeed allege that Rep. Kihuen touched her leg, hinted at sexual escapades, and asked her to spend the night on several occasions.
At the time, Rep. Kihuen issued a public apology and vowed to continue “fighting for women’s equality.”
“The staff member in question was a valued member of my team. I sincerely apologize for anything that I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable. I take this matter seriously as it is not indicative of who I am. I was raised in a strong family that taught me to treat women with the utmost dignity and respect. I have spent my fifteen years in public service fighting for women’s equality, and I will continue to do so.”
But another woman, a DC lobbyist, stepped forward accusing Ruben of inaprorpiate advances as well. Ruben categorically denied these claims from the lobbyist.
As reported yesterday 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."
On Friday, Leah reported that the House Ethics Committee announced an investigation into these allegations.
"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."
Today, however, Ruben announced he will end his career in Congress once his term is over.
“I want to state clearly again that I deny the allegations in question,” Kihuen said in a statement. “I am committed to fully cooperating with the House Ethics Committee and look forward to clearing my name.”
While he repeated his denial of the allegations, the freshman congressman said that they would detract from his ability to focus on the issues during a re-election campaign.
“Therefore, it is in the best interests of my family and my constituents to complete my term in Congress and not seek re-election,” he explained.
Rep Ruben now joins Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) among others as elected officials who have recently stepped down due to sexual misconduct allegations.