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.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.