Democratic Party leaders are calling for Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D., Nev.) to resign over sexual harassment allegations, but he is refusing to do so—and even making counter accusations.
Kihuen told ABC News that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), as well as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (N.M.), knew about the allegations last year and did nothing.
"I do find it interesting that the DCCC, Leader 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 into my campaign. They went out there and campaigned for me."
"I'm not resigning," Kihuen said outside his office on Capitol Hill Tuesday. "I plan on continuing the job that I was elected to do by the people of the 4th congressional district."
Pelosi and the DCCC contradicted Kihuen’s statement.
"Congressman Kihuen’s statement is not true," DCCC communications director Meredith Kelly said. "We were presented with these disturbing facts for the first time last week, and the chair immediately called for his resignation."
"Sadly, this is not the case. Leader Pelosi first learned of these allegations from BuzzFeed last week," Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, said.
Kihuen repeatedly referred to his Friday statement when he was asked about the accuser. In that statement, he said he does not recall sexually harassing the woman making the accusation, who told her story to BuzzFeed last week.
"I sincerely apologize for anything that I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable. I take this matter seriously as it is not indicative of who I am, but I want to make it clear that I don’t recall any of the circumstances she described," Kihuen said in his statement.
The woman, identified in the BuzzFeed story by the name Samantha, alleges that Kihuen aggressively propositioned her while she worked on his campaign last year. His sexual advances eventually drove her to quit, she said.