WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- The House Committee on Ethics sanctioned Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) Friday, following months of investigation into sexual assault allegations. The Investigative Subcommittee (ISC) found that Kihuen violated parts of the Code of Official Conduct.
"The Committee found that Representative Kihuen violated clause 1 by failing to behave in a manner that reflected creditably on the House, and violated clause 2 by violating the spirit of sexual harassment laws," the report stated.
The Committee says the sanctioning of Kihuen is "intended to be a clear public statement of rebuke of a Member’s conduct issued by a body of that Member’s peers acting...on behalf of the House of Representatives.”
The investigation stemmed from allegations from three women -- a 2016 campaign staffer, a Nevada lobbyist, and an employee from a firm working on Kihuen's re-election. The women claimed that Kihuen made unwanted physical and verbal advances toward them between 2013 and 2017. The allegations ranged from unwanted kisses on the cheek, unwanted touching of thighs, personal questions, and making comments on their looks.
Kihuen consistently denied these allegations. But in its report, the Committee writes, "Despite Representative Kihuen’s denials, each of the complainant’s allegations were supported by documentary evidence and some of the alleged incidents were corroborated by third party witnesses."
In conversations with investigators, the Committee says Kihuen downplayed his actions, but apologized to his accusers, acknowledging that his behavior may have been perceived in ways other than he intended.
The report closes by saying, "Representative Kihuen now appears to better understand the effects that a power imbalance can have and the Committee joins Representative Kihuen in his hope that the 'ISC investigation will make other Members of Congress cognizant of possible unintended consequences of their actions and will improve the working environment for all who interact with Members, whether as employees or not.'”
When the allegations broke in December 2017, the freshman congressman announced he would not seek re-election. His term ends in January.
Kihuen's office has not responded to a request for comment. The full link to the report can be found here.