The Senate Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it has opened a "preliminary inquiry" into allegations of sexual harassment involving Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenGillibrand defends her call for Franken to resign Gillibrand: Aide who claimed sexual harassment was 'believed' Kirsten Gillibrand officially announces White House run MORE (D-Minn.), after the senator and others urged the committee to look into his past behavior.

"While the Committee does not generally comment on pending matters or matters that may come before it, in this instance, the Committee is publicly confirming that it has opened a preliminary inquiry into Senator Franken's alleged misconduct," the committee said in a statement.

The statement, issued by Chairman Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonThe Hill's 12:30 Report: O'Rourke jumps into 2020 fray Trump vows veto ahead of Senate vote on emergency declaration Senate to rebuke Trump on wall MORE (R-Ga.), Vice Chairman Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate Dem calls on Trump to apologize for attacks on McCain Sixteen years later, let's finally heed the call of the 9/11 Commission  Senate Dems introduce bill demanding report on Khashoggi killing MORE (D-Del.) and a bipartisan group of committee members, comes after Franken apologized after radio host and former sports broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused him of groping her in 2006 after a USO tour.


Tweeden shared a picture of Franken with his hands on her chest while she was asleep on a flight back from overseas, and she said he had forcibly kissed her during a rehearsal for a sketch on the tour.

"I understand why we need to listen to and believe women's experiences," Franken said in his apology. "I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate." 

Several Democratic lawmakers have come under scrutiny for allegations of sexual misconduct, including longtime Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersOvernight Health Care: Pelosi asks how to pay for single-payer | Liberal groups want Dems to go bigger on drug prices | Surprise medical bill legislation could come soon Key Dem chairman voices skepticism on 'Medicare for all' bill Democrats seek cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill MORE Jr. (D-Mich.), whom House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiHistory teaches that Nancy Pelosi is right about impeachment The politics and practicalities of impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday should step down.