House Ethics committee to investigate Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) —
It was something Rep. Ruben Kihuen initially said he would welcome after the first allegations surfaced. Now, a House Ethics Committee is actually investigating whether the Nevada congressman did engage in sexual harassment.
"I think from his perspective, I think it at least gives him an open forum to have the evidence come out, and then if he's exonerated he can say he went through the process," said Dr. Sondra Cosgrove, a History Professor with College of Southern Nevada.
She says there's also negative risk potential for Kihuen, including that more allegations could surface and all of it would become public.
For his part, the congressman, who is 37 years old and single, reiterated Friday in a comment to News 3, "I intend to fully cooperate, and I welcome an opportunity to clear my name."
“If you look historically, people who have been cited by the ethics commission and then expelled, it's usually for conduct for while they're an elected official in that body," said Cosgrove.
At this point, two women have come forward: a campaign staffer while he was running for Congress and a lobbyist who claims Kihuen touched her and made unwanted advances while he was a state senator.
Some in the party, including leading Democrat Nancy Pelosi, have asked him to step down.
"What she's doing is she's signaling as a party leader, that within the party he probably doesn't have much of a future, that the party should he decided to run out his term, more than likely would not run him for reelection," said Cosgrove.
Kihuen, for now, says he'll stay put. The ethics investigation will likely last through the end of his term.