House ethics panel reprimands 2 lawmakers

The House Ethics Committee issued a judgment against two members of Congress involving investigations related to alleged sexual harassment. CNN's MJ Lee has the details.

Posted: Nov 17, 2018 6:27 PM
Updated: Nov 17, 2018 6:37 PM

The House Ethics Committee admonished two male lawmakers Friday related to investigations of alleged sexual harassment.

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina was cited for "failure to take prompt and decisive action to deal with the alleged sexual harassment in his congressional office" and Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen of Nevada for making "persistent and unwanted advances towards women who were required to interact with him as part of their professional responsibilities."

The committee said that its unanimous vote to issue Friday's report serves as "reproval" of Meadows' conduct, and it is requiring the congressman to reimburse the Treasury Department for "overpayment" made made to the congressman's former chief of staff, Kenny West, of around $40,000. The committee says the matter will be considered closed once Meadows pays back the money.

The panel investigated allegations of sexual harassment involving West. According to its review, the committee said West's behavior toward female staff was "inappropriate in every sense of the word."

"There is no place in any congressional office for looking up skirts, or down shirts; staring at a woman's chest; unwanted touching; or making sexual comments, even if subtle or in jest," the report said. "The fact that Mr. West supervised the women he did these things to makes his behavior even more unacceptable. Just as between Members and their staff, a power imbalance exists between senior staff and junior staff in congressional offices."

Meadows' failure to take prompt action refers to the congressman not terminating West, but instead, making him a senior adviser and continuing to give him congressional salary. To make matters worse, the committee said it found "little evidence of official work that (West) completed during that time" and that his duties "were not commensurate with his pay."

Meadows said in a statement that he was thankful the review into his case was concluded.

"I appreciate the Committee's acknowledgment of the immediate, appropriate, and good faith steps I did take after learning of my staff's concerns — including immediately separating the chief from the accusers so they never had to interact with him personally during the independent investigation," Meadows said in a statement that made no mention of the criticism directed at him.

Meadows continued, "Making sure my team feels safe and secure in our office is the highest priority for me and I'm truly sorry for any stress this situation caused them. I thank the Ethics Committee for their work in resolving this, and my office will remain committed to serving western North Carolinians every day to the best of our ability."

The ethics committee has issued its final report on Kihuen, who did not seeking re-election, and who has been accused by three women of "unwanted physical and verbal advances towards them between 2013 and 2017," according to the report.

"Specifically, the Committee found that Representative Kihuen made persistent and unwanted advances towards women who were required to interact with him as part of their professional responsibilities," the report states.

The report says "Kihuen generally denied the allegations," but found "each of the complainant's allegations were supported by documentary evidence and some of the alleged incidents were corroborated by third party witnesses."

In response to the report, Kihuen extended an apology to the women he offended.

"After much reflection and introspection, I recognize that regardless of the fact that I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable or disrespected, what matters is how my actions were perceived by the women who came forward. It saddens me greatly to think I made any woman feel that way due to my own immaturity and overconfidence," Kihuen said. "I extend my sincere apologies to each of these women. Though I do not agree with aspects of the Report, I am thankful the Committee afforded everyone an opportunity to be heard and appreciate the Committee's acknowledgment that I fully cooperated with the investigation."

Huntsville
Few Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 79°
Florence
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 79°
Fayetteville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 79°
Scottsboro
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 80°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 22566

Reported Deaths: 364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson504062
Shelby4943111
Trousdale13924
Rutherford119623
Sumner88145
Hamilton79415
Bledsoe6071
Williamson55210
Putnam4795
Robertson4653
Tipton4423
Out of TN4184
Lake4140
Wilson4078
Knox3755
Bedford2834
Montgomery2693
Rhea2100
Hardeman1960
Madison1752
Loudon1430
McMinn14114
Macon1363
Cheatham1230
Bradley1221
Fayette1152
Cumberland1121
Dickson1090
Unassigned920
Blount913
Maury890
Sevier812
Washington750
Coffee730
Wayne640
Gibson631
Monroe622
Sullivan602
Hickman580
Lauderdale561
Franklin531
Greene502
Dyer500
Marion401
Anderson401
DeKalb370
Hamblen362
Smith341
White330
Hawkins332
Lawrence310
Grundy311
Haywood312
Marshall311
Obion301
Henry300
Jefferson280
Carroll271
Overton260
Meigs260
Weakley260
Lincoln250
Warren230
Cannon210
Perry210
Cocke200
Carter191
Campbell181
Morgan170
Jackson170
Crockett162
Roane160
Polk160
Johnson160
Henderson150
Hardin152
Sequatchie150
Humphreys131
Fentress120
McNairy120
Chester120
Giles120
Scott120
Stewart110
Claiborne90
Houston80
Grainger80
Clay70
Benton71
Decatur50
Unicoi40
Union40
Van Buren40
Lewis30
Pickett30
Moore30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events