Congressman faces sexual harassment probe, candidate quits race
Brendan Smialowski (AFP/File)
The US House Ethics Committee announced Friday it had opened an investigation into a Democratic representative accused of sexually harassing two women, while a female congressional candidate who was accused of harassment dropped out of a race.
The committee said in a statement it was aware of "public allegations" against Ruben Kihuen, a 37-year-old representative from Nevada, who was only elected last year.
The first woman to come forward with allegations, published by BuzzFeed, said Kihuen made repeated sexual advances and touched her thigh twice without consent while she was working on his campaign team in 2016.
Another woman -- a Nevada lobbyist -- also said she was subjected to Kihuen's repeated advances when he was a member of the local assembly.
Kihuen has denied the allegations, and has so far refused to resign -- despite House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging him to do so.
On Friday, Andrea Ramsey, who was running for Congress in Kansas's Third District, announced that she was dropping out of the race after the Democratic party decided not to support her campaign over harassment allegations.
Ramsey wrote in a post on Facebook that after eliminating a man's position 12 years earlier, he sued the company and falsely claimed that he was fired "because he refused to have sex with me."
She said that the suit was later dropped, but that the allegations were enough for the "Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign."
Two Democratic members of Congress have so far this year resigned or announced their intention to do so following accusations of sexual misconduct: Michigan Representative John Coyers and Minnesota Senator Al Franken.
The House Ethics Committee is also carrying out other investigations into two Republican politicians: Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold, accused of sexual harassment, and Trent Franks, who asked a female staff member to act as a surrogate for him and his wife. Franks resigned last week.
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