House leaders have added to the team of members on the Ethics Committee in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct allegations against lawmakers and the expectation that there could be more coming, according to a new report.
Both Republican and Democratic leaders have brought on an additional five Democrats and five Republicans to serve on the subcommittees that oversee investigations and issue punishments for ethical issues, including sexual misconduct, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Typically, this team consists of 20 members and has now been boosted to 30.
Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., is the most recent lawmaker to be investigated by the panel for allegations of sexual harassment. Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News reported Kihuen’s former finance director accused him of unwanted sexual advances.
Another woman came forward this week accusing Kihuen of touching her legs or buttocks on three occasions without her consent and claimed he sent hundreds of text messages that were sexually suggestive, the Nevada Independent reported Wednesday.
In response to the initial report, various leaders including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for his resignation. Kihuen denied the charges.
Additionally, the panel is conducting an investigation into Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, who faces allegations of sexual harassment by a former female employee who received an $84,000 payout over her claim. Then, an ex-senior aide Farenthold contacted the House Ethics Committee last week, accusing the Farenthold of promoting a hostile work environment and for making sexually graphic comments.
Several other members of Congress, including Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., have recently resigned from their posts due to allegations of sexual misconduct.