Nancy Pelosi reportedly knew all about sexual harassment allegations against a first term Democratic congressman but campaigned for him anyway.
Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen was accused by his campaign finance director of making unwanted sexual propositions and touching her thighs, causing the female staffer to resign during his primary campaign. Pelosi quickly called for Kihuen to resign amid the allegations prompting the freshman Democrat congressman to fire back at the House Minority Leader with accusations of his own.
“I do find it interesting that the DCCC, Leader [Nancy] Pelosi and Chairman Ben Ray Lujan — they knew about these allegations last year,” Kihuen told ABC News Tuesday.
“They looked into them. They didn’t find anything, and they continued investing millions of dollars in my campaign. They went out there and campaigned for me,” he added, speaking outside of his office on Capitol Hill.
Pelosi called the former staffer’s account of what happened “convincing,” in a statement last week. “I commend her for the courage it took to come forward.”
A spokesman for the California Democrat denied that she knew about the allegations before the report last week.
“Sadly, this is not the case. Leader Pelosi first learned of these allegations from BuzzFeed last week,” Drew Hammill told ABC News.
Kihuen claimed Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Ben Ray Luján, who also called for his resignation, fully supported his campaign despite knowing about the allegations, which Kihuen has denied.
“Congressman Kihuen’s statement is not true,” DCCC communications director, Meredith Kelly, told ABC News. “We were presented with these disturbing facts for the first time last week, and the chair immediately called for his resignation.”
The DCCC spent at least $3.15 million in the 2016 race, according to campaign records, and sources insisted to ABC News that they would not have done so if the allegations were known at the time. Kihuen claimed otherwise, and said he does not plan to give in to demands to step down.
“I’m not resigning,” the 37-year-old Democrat said. “I plan on continuing the job that I was elected to do by the people of the 4th congressional district.”
Another Democrat congressman is calling on a resignation as well – Pelosi’s.
Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton slammed Pelosi’s response to sexual harassment allegations against Rep. John Conyers and called for her to step down. The House Minority Leader praised the Michigan Democrat and Congress’s longest-serving member as an “icon,” despite accusations from several women.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) says Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi “didn’t respect the women” she should “step down” from leadership pic.twitter.com/UbY85mQdfG
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) December 5, 2017
Moulton argued that Pelosi “did not say the right things” and “didn’t respect the women who have brought forward these allegations” against Conyers during a “Meet the Press” interview.
“I’ve been calling for our leader to step down and allow a new generation of leaders to step up and lead our party forward for a long time. But what I don’t want to do is distract from the fact that this is a very serious issue,” the Massachusetts Democrat told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki.