ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) — The House Ethics committee is opening an investigation into embattled Nevada Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Kihuen, 37, denies the allegations and pledges to cooperate with the committee’s probe.
“As I’ve said previously, I intend to fully cooperate, and I welcome an opportunity to clear my name,” Kihuen said.
The freshman lawmaker is accused of making repeated unwanted sexual advances towards a campaign aide. Earlier this week, a second woman said Kihuen sexually harassed her during his time in the Nevada State Senate.
Kihuen has told ABC News he will not resign, despite calls from Democratic leaders that he step aside.
Instead, Kihuen has taken aim at the leaders of his own party, who he contends knew last year about a former campaign staffer’s allegations of misconduct and continued to stand by his campaign. Kihuen has questioned why Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan are calling for his resignation now – more than a year later.
“I do find it interesting that the DCCC, Leader Pelosi and Chairman Ben Ray Lujan – they knew about these allegations last year,” Kihuen, D-Nevada, said in an interview with ABC News earlier this month. “They looked into them. They didn’t find anything, and they continued investing millions of dollars in my campaign. They went out and campaigned for me.”
Pelosi and Lujan, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, have both demanded Kihuen step down and have adamantly denied knowing about the allegations before BuzzFeed published an investigation early this month.
A former Kihuen campaign aide, known only as “Samantha,” told a mid-level aide at the DCCC she had quit her job because then-candidate Kihuen made her “uncomfortable,” BuzzFeed reported.
While the DCCC brought the matter to Kihuen’s campaign manager, it did not launch an investigation at the time, sources indicate, because the victim initially did not provide the level of detail exposed in the BuzzFeed investigation.
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