Ethics Committee Launches Sexual Harassment Investigation Into Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen

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Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee following allegations of sexual misconduct from two women.

Rep. Ruben Kihuen speaks after winning his race against incumbent Cresent Hardy at the Nevada Democratic Party's election results watch party in Las Vegas on Nov. 8, 2016. (Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen speaks after winning his race against incumbent Cresent Hardy at the Nevada Democratic Party’s election results watch party in Las Vegas on Nov. 8, 2016. (Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

A letter released Friday by the committee noted that it has opened an investigation into the Nevada congressman after members were made “aware of public allegations” that Kihuen “may have engaged in sexual harassment.”

The committee added that while it is opening the investigation, the investigation itself does not “indicate” that Kihuen is responsible for any violation.

Earlier this week the number two House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, called for an ethics investigation to be opened into Kihuen.

Additionally, the chairman of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, and the top House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi, urged Kihuen to resign shortly after BuzzFeed News reported allegations from a former campaign staffer who said Kihuen made multiple unwanted advances last year, prompting her to quit his campaign.

Another woman, a lobbyist, told the Nevada Independent Wednesday that Kihuen had touched her thighs or buttocks on multiple occasions

Kihuen has repeatedly denied the allegations and earlier this month said that he has no plans to resign but wouldn’t say whether he plans to run for re-election in 2018.

“I’m not resigning,” he said recently in an interview outside his Washington office.

The Ethics Committee announced last week it was reviewing allegations of harassment against Texas GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold from his former communications director. The panel had previously reviewed the case but dropped it after a settlement was reached and the key witness refused to be interviewed.

But with more public reports about the nature of the charges the committee said it would move forward with a probe. Farenthold denied some of the allegations against him but has since apologized for language he admitted to using that he characterized as not appropriate. He’s announced he will not seek re-election.

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