House Ethics Committee chides Meadows, Kihuen over sexual harassment allegations

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

Posted: Nov 17, 2018 10:06 AM
Updated: Nov 17, 2018 10:06 AM

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."

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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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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