GOP lawmaker calls for investigation into allegations of sexual harassment
Republican Rep. Brad Sherman (Calif.) called on the House Ethics Committee to investigate allegations of misconduct against Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), a member of the House Democratic leadership.
The Ethics Committee will investigate allegations that Edwards engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with a female staffer and asked the Ethics Committee’s leadership to investigate those allegations.
“The Ethics Committee must investigate allegations involving the inappropriate behavior of Donna Edwards and I believe that they should conduct a thorough investigation,” Sherman said in a statement Wednesday.
“I believe that the Ethics Committees investigation will uncover evidence that will be very damaging to the reputations of Rep. Edwards and the House.”
Sherman has accused Edwards of inappropriately touching him inappropriately in a private office in 2016, which he alleged he was trying to protect.
Edwards has denied the allegation and said Sherman’s allegations are false.
The California Republican’s statement comes after the Ethics panel released its investigation into the allegations against Edwards last month.
The House Ethics committee announced the findings in a letter Wednesday to the Ethics Commission.
Sherman is the chairman of the committee.
“Rep. Edwards’ conduct should have been immediately investigated, and we commend her for her swift and transparent response to the ethics complaints,” Sherman wrote.
“It is imperative that the House ethics committee, and the entire House leadership, take the necessary steps to ensure that such conduct never happens again.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, called the report a “major step forward” in investigating the allegations.
Wasserman Schultz said that while she believes the Ethics committee should investigate the allegations, it should also look into whether Edwards had any role in making the allegations or if the Ethics Office was in the right place at the right time.
“We must also hold members of Congress accountable to their oaths of office, including those who are the face of the party,” Wasserman Schultz wrote in a blog post.
“A credible allegation that a member is not honest with Congress, or is dishonest with their constituents, or that a politician’s conduct in office is improper is extremely serious.
These kinds of allegations are not tolerated and the Ethics Bureau must conduct a full and thorough investigation to determine if there was a cover-up and if any violations occurred.”
Sherman’s statement came hours after the chairwoman’s office released a statement saying the ethics investigation into Edwards had concluded.
“Ms. Edwards did not violate House rules or any law or ethics law, and she continues to be a member and a colleague of the United States Congress,” the statement read.
“Her conduct was fully appropriate and did not threaten the well-being of the members of the Congress who served them or their constituents.”
The Ethics Commission announced its decision to investigate the matter in a memo obtained by The Hill, in which it wrote that it was “satisfied” with the report’s findings.
“Our review of the record, as well as the record of all parties involved, shows that Ms. Edwards acted in good faith in seeking advice and support from a professional and was able to work effectively in a safe and professional manner,” the memo read.
The statement said the Ethics office did not provide any additional information about the allegations made against Edwards.
“This is not the time to speculate on any possible consequences of our findings,” the ethics commission said.
“Rather, we must determine if the allegations are true, and, if so, how to proceed with a thorough, independent investigation.”