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Rep. Ruben Kihuen won't seek reelection amid sexual harassment allegations

Rep. Ruben Kihuen won't seek reelection amid sexual harassment allegations

Ruben Kihuen announced Saturday that he would not seek reelection amid sexual harassment allegations from his former campaign finance director.

In Saturday's statement, Kihuen continued to deny the allegations.

"However, the allegations that have surfaced would be a distraction from a fair and thorough discussion of the issues in a reelection campaign", he said.

"Therefore, it is in the best interests of my family and my constituents to complete my term in Congress and not seek re-election", Kihuen said.

The story notes that the Ethics Committee has traditionally avoided investigating incidents prior to being sworn into Congress. Kihuen has denied the allegations and says he intends to "fully cooperate" with the investigation.

Kihuen has been accused of making unwanted advances toward multiple women, including an employee on his 2016 congressional campaign and a lobbyist during his time as a state legislator. She told BuzzFeed that she complained to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee about Kihuen's behavior, and Buzzfeed reported that a DCCC staffer approached Kihuen's campaign manager about the complaint.

The former campaign aide reportedly did not feel comfortable bringing it up to the campaign's leadership and quit the campaign according to the online news outlet.

The news website Buzzfeed has reported that Kihuen, now finishing his first year in Congress, harassed a staff member on his 2016 political campaign, and on Thursday there were multiple reports of an anonymous lobbyist's description of his unwanted advances. This Wednesday a second accuser, a lobbyist in Nevada, came forward and alleged Kihuen had made similar persistent, unwanted advances toward her. She said Kihuen touched her thighs and buttocks without consent and sent her hundreds of suggestive text messages, which the Independent reviewed.

Dozens who have been around Kihuen over the years described to BuzzFeed News a pattern of behavior from him that was teetering on the brink of misconduct.

Democratic Party leaders have called for Kihuen to step down over the charges. Doesn't he realize he's messing up the Democrats' messaging on sexual harassment at a time when they're trying to turn the issue back on President Trump?

Democratic leaders, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, had been calling for Kihuen to resign since the initial harassment allegations against him were reported by BuzzFeed News on December 1. "I've asked for him to resign right from the start", Pelosi said Thursday at a news conference. When she wouldn't tell him, he said it "Makes me sad " and that "My day can't go on without knowing".

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