House Ethics Committee Launches Fourth Investigation Into Misconduct

The committee is now investigating Reps. Ruben Kihuen, John Conyers, Trent Franks and Blake Farenthold.
Posted at 5:52 PM, Dec 15, 2017

The House Committee on Ethics is investigating sexual misconduct accusations against Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen. Two women have accused the congressman of unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate touching.

It's the committee's fourth sexual misconduct-related investigation launched in recent weeks. In the Senate, the Select Committee on Ethics is investigating Sen. Al Franken.

In regard to the allegations and investigations, some, like House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, have called for a faster, transparent process to resolve misconduct-related issues. 

In their current states, neither the House nor Senate ethics committees are answerable to the Freedom of Information Act, nor do they work under set timelines. This means investigations can take months. When they do finish, the committees only have the power to recommend sanctions — not impose them.

Beyond those two committees, there also exists the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Unlike the congressional committees, the office's voting members comprise of private citizens who work under set deadlines.

A key figure in that office, however, is facing his own accusations of misconduct. Foreign Policy reported Thursday the staff director and chief counsel for the OCE was accused in a federal lawsuit of verbally and physically assaulting women.