WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Ruben Kihuen announced on Saturday that he will not seek re-election, becoming the latest member of Congress to end his legislative career in the face of sexual harassment allegations.
The first-term Nevada Democrat, who is the subject of an ethics investigation in the House of Representatives, denied the allegations against him but concluded that the charges would distract from “a fair and thorough discussion of the issues” on the campaign trail.
“It is in the best interests of my family and my constituents to complete my term in Congress and not seek reelection,” Kihuen, 37, said in a statement issued by his campaign committee.
The news website BuzzFeed has reported allegations that Kihuen sexually harassed a staff member of his 2016 political campaign. This week, there were also multiple reports of an anonymous lobbyist’s description of his unwanted advances. Reuters has not independently confirmed the reports.
Kihuen is the latest in a growing roster of male lawmakers in Congress who have been accused of sexual misconduct amid a wave of such allegations against powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media.
Lawmakers are working on legislation to update the body’s rules on sexual harassment.
On Friday, Democratic Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia was accused of touching a former aide without permission and offering to advance her career in exchange for sex. The aide also said she was wrongfully dismissed from her job. Scott denied the charges.
Republican Representative Blake Farenthold also said this week that he would not seek re-election after accounts surfaced that he created a hostile work environment. He denied allegations of sexual harassment but admitted allowing an unprofessional culture in his Capitol Hill office.
Last week, Democratic Representative John Conyers and Republican Representative Trent Franks resigned, while Democratic Senator Al Franken said he would step down in the coming weeks.
Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Alistair Bell