The House Ethics Committee has begun a preliminary inquiry into Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), the Associated Press reported Monday, citing House officials.
A preliminary inquiry is the first step in any formal Ethics Committee investigation. Inquiries are undertaken to determine whether the matter is serious enough to warrant the formation of an investigative subcommittee, which would then have the ability to formally discipline Weiner. Even if the inquiry does not progress to that stage, committee leaders could issue an informal report admonishing Weiner for his behavior, which could be politically damaging.
Weiner has entered treatment and asked for a leave of absence from the House. A statement Saturday from Weiner spokeswoman Risa Heller made no mention of resignation. She said he “takes the views of his colleagues very seriously and has determined that he needs this time to get healthy and make the best decision” for everyone.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.