Investigative Ethics Panel Established for Kihuen Allegations, Expansion Into Farenthold Claims

A House Ethics subcommittee will look into sexual misconduct allegations for Democrat and Republican

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., speaks with fellow Democrats at a spring press conference on Trump and Russia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee established Thursday an investigative subcommittee to evaluate separate claims that Reps. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., and Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, engaged in sexual misbehavior, according to a statement from committee leaders. 

The Office of Congressional Ethics had previously investigated sexual harassment allegations from Farenthold’s former communications director. The congressman reached a private settlement with the former employee.

Both Kihuen and Farenthold have announced in recent weeks they will not be running for re-election in the 2018 midterms.

Roll Call reported earlier this month that the Ethics panel had voted to establish such a subcommittee.

Kihuen, a freshman lawmaker largely viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party, was accused by a former campaign staff member of sexual harassment, as well as another woman who claimed he made unwanted sexual advances toward her. Kihuen has denied the claims.

The allegations against Farenthold that the new subcommittee will look into include sexual harassment, discrimination on the basis of gender, inappropriate comments made to staff and retaliation based on those accusations.

The Office of Compliance already paid $84,000 to settle the previous harassment claim tied to Farenthold’s office. 

The congressman later said he would pay the money back to the government

Dean DeChiaro contributed to this report.Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.