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.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.