Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Wednesday confirmed that the House ethics committee probe into groping allegations against ex-Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) has ended.


In an appearance on ABC's "Top Line" webcast, Van Hollen, an assistant to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was asked if an independent investigation in the charges will be opened now that Massa has resigned, rendering the ethics probe moot.

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"The question you raise is something we will be looking into," Van Hollen replied. "When he resigned his seat, clearly the complaints filed with the ethics committee went away. But there may be other forums in which those individuals could pursue those complaints."

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (ethics committee) only has jurisdiction over members, officers and employees of the House of Representatives. Since Massa resigned his seat on Monday afternoon, that puts him outside the purview of the ethics panel.



The ethics panel confirmed it was investigating Massa last week and the Washington Post reported Tuesday that the inquiry centered around allegations that the former congressman groped several male staffers.


Van Hollen said that continuing the probe into Massa's alleged groping would ultimately be up to the individuals involved and whether or how they want to proceed.

Those staffers would likely have to file sexual harassment charges in the criminal justice system to continue the investigation.