After a second woman came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against freshman Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV)., the House Ethics Committee announced Friday it is launching an investigation into Kihuen’s conduct.
On December 1st Buzzfeed published the story of Samantha, a woman who worked on Kihuen’s 2016 congressional race but quit after Kihuen “propositioned her for dates and sex despite her repeated rejections” and touched her thighs without her consent twice. Samantha told a contact at the DCCC why she was quitting, and that staffer alerted Kihuen’s campaign manager, who confronted Kihuen. Kihuen denied any inappropriate behavior, and the matter was dropped.
Kihuen told Buzzfeed Samantha had been a “valued member of my team” and that he apologized “for anything that I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable,” but denied any inappropriate behavior.
This week, a female lobbyist who worked with Kihuen when he was a state senator told the Nevada Independent that Kihuen pursued her over nearly three years, sending her hundreds of sexual text messages and ignoring her repeated requests to leave her alone.
“[She said] that Kihuen touched her thighs or buttocks on three separate occasions without her consent. She also showed the Independent hundreds of suggestive text messages she received from Kihuen — including invitations to come sit on his lap in the middle of a committee hearing and repeated requests to spend the night at her place — over the course of the 2015 legislative session.
Once, he texted her to ask, “What color are your panties?” When she wouldn’t tell him, he said it “Makes me sad ” and that “My day can’t go on without knowing.”
He pursued her over a span of approximately three years. The Independent confirmed that the text messages came from Kihuen’s number.
In at least 12 texts, Kihuen commented on her personal appearance, including, “You’re absolutely beautiful and unbelievably sexy,” “Love your dress ,” “You looked so beautiful tonight…irresistible,” “So beautiful,” “You look fabulous in black ” and “But I’m sure you look even better naked.” He specifically commented on her buttocks in three of those texts.
The woman showed her boyfriend many of the text messages at the time they were sent. She didn’t report it because she was “unsure who to go to or what good it would do.”
In any other field, this Kihuen’s behavior would be labeled assault and stalking and referred to law enforcement.
The ethics probe announced Friday is expected to cover the allegations made regarding Kihuen’s conduct in the 2016 congressional campaign.
When asked about the probe, Kihuen told Reuters:
“As I’ve said previously, I intend to fully cooperate, and I welcome an opportunity to clear my name.”‘
A number of Democrat party officials, including Nancy Pelosi and DCCC chair Ben Ray Lujan have publicly asked for Kihuen’s resignation. (Apparently Kihuen is not yet an icon and hasn’t yet earned a defense from Pelosi.)