Dec 5, 2017, 6:21 PM ET

Nevada Democrat accused of sexual misconduct says he won't resign

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Amid allegations of sexual harassment, embattled freshman Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen vowed he will not resign from his post, despite calls from Democratic leaders that he step aside.

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Instead, Kihuen is digging in with a shocking allegation of his own, taking aim at the leaders of his own party. In an interview with ABC News, Kihuen, D-Nev., said party leaders knew last year about a former campaign staffer’s allegations of misconduct but stood by his campaign nonetheless. Kihuen questioned why they are calling for his resignation now, more than a year later.

“I do find it interesting that the DCCC, Leader [Nancy] Pelosi and Chairman Ben Ray Lujan -- they knew about these allegations last year,” Kihuen said. “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.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who are both demanding Kihuen’s resignation, adamantly deny knowing about the allegations against Kihuen before BuzzFeed published a report last week.

“Sadly, this is not the case. Leader Pelosi first learned of these allegations from BuzzFeed last week,” Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said.

“Congressman Kihuen’s statement is not true,” Meredith Kelly, DCCC communications director, said. “We were presented with these disturbing facts for the first time last week, and the chair immediately called for his resignation.”

“I've been abundantly clear that anyone that is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, that they don't deserve to hold public office at any level, and I continue to hold that position,” Lujan, D-N.M., said.

A former Kihuen campaign aide, known only as “Samantha,” told a mid-level aide at the DCCC she had quit her job because then-candidate Kihuen made her “uncomfortable,” BuzzFeed reported last week. Another DCCC aide later brought the matter to Kihuen campaign manager Dave Chase, who confronted Kihuen about the complaint, though Kihuen denied it, according to BuzzFeed. Chase told BuzzFeed that he thinks Kihuen lied to him and he believes the victim, who alleges Kihuen propositioned her for dates and sex.

The DCCC did not launch an investigation at the time, sources indicate, because the victim initially did not provide the level of detail exposed in the BuzzFeed investigation.

Campaign records show the DCCC spent at least $3.15 million in the race. Sources insist the campaign committee would not have proceeded with its financial support of Kihuen’s general election campaign if they had known the scope of the allegations, first detailed by BuzzFeed on Friday.

“I'm not resigning,” Kihuen, 37, said outside his office on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. “I plan on continuing the job that I was elected to do by the people of the 4th congressional district.”

A Kihuen spokesman did not respond to a request for documentation supporting Kihuen’s claims about the DCCC, Pelosi and Lujan.

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  • Ross Barnett Rez Good'Ole Boy

    Now am an ardent Trump supporter and conservative nationalist and I love when liberals lose, BUT this Democrat Sen. is right not to resign. If people all of a sudden start resigning and getting fired over just pure accusations, how would that be any different from them being tried with evidence. The only difference is there is NO evidence to prove either way. Did the Salem Witch Trials not teach us anything or are we still just cannibalistic mob rule morons.

  • SpankyHamm

    For those asking - why don't Republicans go after Trump for his sexual harassment claims? The answer is very simple. Trump supporters.

    GOP members all have many Trump supporters in their district. If they go after Trump, they will likely lose a good portion of those voters. This will either lead to them being challenged in GOP primaries or face strong opposition in their general elections. Either way - they put their political seat at risk by going after Trump.

    And who are the Republicans going after Trump the hardest? Corker, McCain and Flake - all who will not be seeking re-election. They all have the "freedom" to speak out against Trump because they don't have to win re-election.

    Sometimes there is no complex issue. This is a very simple answer - political self preservation.

  • peterknight

    Why is no one calling for the chief to resign? Hypocrites.

  • netxtown

    How ridiculously stupid can people be when 'sex' is now either R or D - and who did it first and who did it best. These witch trials are gonna hurt more people than it helps - and for all those who have not come forward within the statute of limitations - TOO BAD! It's your life - and if you were able to swallow your dignity and pride for all these years for a paycheck or a position - THAT was the trade. An accusation 10-20 years after the fact should NEVER be sufficient to ruin someone's life. THAT is why we have laws and processes. Deal with it. Pay your shrink - and kick your own butt for not standing up for yourself.

    Oh, and it's all about sex. (not every body does it but every body should) And nothing sells better or faster in the US than some good old fashioned sex scandals. We got it TV. We got it in the workplace, on a boat, on a train, on a plane. Heck some people even do it at home! And then, well of course, there are those who found out they did it in divorce court. Sex - it's the best human way to hit the highs and lows.

    BUT! The one exception to ALL is child molestation. What goes on between adults - goes on between adults. But when a child under the age of consent is molested in any way - then throw the book at 'em. I would even go for seeing parents of molested kids - who knew their child was molested and did nothing - get slapped into the pokey house as well.

  • Mikhail

    Why don't these guys use Ashley Madison, or Craigslist personals when they want to act out?

  • Johnny Kay

    This latest victim felt “uncomfortable” . . . uh-huh.

    Let’s step back and look at the current mania of sexual harassment accusations objectively.

    The government and the corporate media are encouraging women to "empower" themselves by embracing weakness. Compare two scenarios:

    In the first, a man makes a vulgar suggestion to a woman, and the woman tells him to get lost. In the second, a man makes a vulgar suggestion to a woman, and the woman later proclaims that the man made her feel "bullied, defiled, deflated, degraded, demeaned, diminished, disparaged, disrespected, dominated, humiliated, intimidated, objectified, oppressed, shrunken, talked-over, uncomfortable, and used,” and that she now has “guilt” and “trust” issues. . .

    Which of the two women would the media declare "brave” and “empowered”?

    This “empowerment” of the offended exalts the trivial and devalues the substantial; “unwanted sexual advances” -- i.e., “He asked me out and I didn’t want to go out with him” -- takes a seat next to actual sexual assault.

    Anyone can choose to be offended by anything if they are trying to score points -- and anyone can be a target of these accusations because the accusations require no proof, depending only on the subjective impressions, reactions, interpretations, and perhaps imaginations of the accusers.

    Because the proof of these accusations is the accusation itself, the standard of evidence required for prosecution and conviction is lowered and the range of “offenses” resulting in criminal and employment sanctions are expanded.

    Ben Affleck said, “We must support the people who are coming forward and believe them;” Stephen Colbert said, “All men need to examine their own conscience;” a thousand voices in the media cry, “Believe the women!”

    I disagree. Every time we take seriously one of these vague, long-after-the-alleged-fact accusations of “harassment”, we encourage over-sensitive weaklings, attention-seeking misfits, those seeking revenge, those seeking to immunize themselves from accountability, and those seeking to link themselves to a “celebrity” to jump on the bandwagon of victimhood.

    When women choose to be weak and call that “strength”, and men compete with each other to see who can grovel the most, everyone loses.

  • Puddin' Twain

    The dude is acting like a Republican.

  • Educated

    ....He shouldn't resign until Trump, resigns.

  • j penske

    Uh huh... that's what they all say, that they won't resign (Conyers is a prime example). Oh, wait, Conyers "retired", that's right.

  • Martialis

    Why are these guys so stupid? Simple rule. Don't s*** where you eat. He could have gone out to a bar and hit on all the women he wanted to and no one would care. Now, it jeopardizes his political career. Maybe he should be taken down, just on the principle that someone who lacks intelligence and judgement shouldn't hold elected office.

  • Tommy V

    As a Trump supporter I say good for him! Not every woman needs to be automatically believed. Unless they have PROOF - not just their "version" - that there was some impropriety then ALL of these women should be summarily dismissed.

    Tired of the torch and pitchfork mentality. The people that adhere to that are complete morons.

  • buelly10

    Ohh those crooked perverted Republicans

  • buelly10

    Ohh those crooked perverted democrats..

  • DevilDoc7595

    Personally, I think they are all telling lie after lie after lie to infinity.......

  • Rick Montano

    I think it's funny how we all ignore what people in our own parties do. While only concentrating on what the other party is doing. We need to come together as a country and work for the good of the people, not the party.

  • Blind Spott

    I once knew a lady who kept telling a lie,
    I don't know why she kept telling that lie,
    Perhaps she will fry.

  • Loco

    Sexual harrassment claims are like cockroaches. If you see one there's probably more.

  • Alex

    Why should he resign? We elected a guy with over a dozen accusers who just endorsed a guy with a penchant for underage high schoolers.

  • Educated

    .....Trump won the White vote. If you voted for him, start complaining about him first.

  • Baa

    So it doesn't matter whether you did it or not, it only matters when the DNC knew. This guy needs to go.

  • Siestasis 42

    The Democratic party should fund an alternate candidate in the next election and get rid of this lying low life. I bet his momma is proud.

  • caltenn11

    Thought this was expected and accepted behavior on the left!!

  • Reese Witheredpoon

    Typical predatory Leftist filth. He won't resign because he's just like Saint Hillary - above it all and completely out of touch with the commoners.

  • Pedro Garcia

    Typical Liberal Socialist Democrat (America Haters). He learned from his mentors John Conyers and Bill Clinton.

  • Johnnie Quest

    Now he knows what it means to be a "token", democracks have a plan, they will drag up guys like this, get them to resign to show how "noble" democracks are....."pay no attention to the man behind the curtain"

  • conservative banned again

    Nancy should retire for covering all the sexual predators up for years. I stand behind this man not resigning just because some one accuses him doesn't mean he is guilty of any wrong doing.

  • Steve Fleming

    HMMM someone has lied here probably both. He probably did the despicable things to that poor girl and denied it. A year ago Nancy and the DCCCC followed standard procedure established in the Clinton years, support your candidate, sweep it under the rug and pull out her finger nails if the victim continues to press the issue

  • Darryll Green

    I bet he was also calling for Moore to step down, guess we know which way the wind blows, it's ok for democrats to be accused and keep their job, but a republican with accusations"which haven't been proven or confirmed in any way" must step down, talk about 2 faced

  • Ivan Ivanovitch

    I say let bygones be bygones.

  • Guy Norbury

    At least the dems are trying to get rid of the creeps. The GOP is pushing to seat a suspected pedophile!

  • RobertJohns

    Why now, when the party supported you a year ago? Unless you've been living in a cave and haven't heard any news, you know that party leaders can no longer afford to look the other way like they did a year ago.

  • Eteamer

    Why should he. Trump and Moore haven't resigned and they did much worse.

  • Leonard Haley

    Please do not resign congressman! There is a long tradition of sexually assaulting women in the legislature stretching even beyond Ted Kennedys callous treatment of the woman he left to drown while drunk driving. Democrats declared him "the Lion of The Senate!" Al Franken need not be ostracized and lonely in DC if he has friends like you to talk with, guys who have "been there, done that". Stay strong and remain a beacon of disgust people can point to when women are considering voting democrat in Nevada. America needs you!

  • BLW51

    Why can't we just vote every incumbent out of office and start over with people that aren't entrenched in the DC political environment and might actually represent their constituents?

  • stagerightinthemiddle

    Well, it finally happened.

    A Congressional officeholder accused of sexual harassment crossed over the border from denial to defiance.

    OK, Pelosi and company, go investigate and prove it - the ball is now in your court.