Former White House ethics chief Norm Eisen on Monday said he has filed a formal ethics complaint against GOP Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) amid accusations that the lawmaker ignored sexual abuse allegations while serving as an assistant coach for the Ohio State University wrestling program.
Eisen, who served as former President Obama’s ethics chief, said he and Fred Wertheimer of the nonprofit watchdog group Democracy 21 filed the complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).
Jordan has denied the allegations, saying that if he had known about the alleged abuse, he would have acted to stop it.
Seven former wrestlers have contradicted Jordan’s claims, saying that the former assistant coach knew about alleged sexual abuse by athletic doctor Richard Strauss. Strauss killed himself in 2005.
Eisen and Wertheimer’s complaint seeks an OCE investigation into whether Jordan is lying about his knowledge of alleged abuse.
“There is a direct and irreconcilable conflict between the public statements made by seven former Ohio State student wrestlers that Rep. Jordan knew wrestling team members were being sexually abused by the team doctor, and Rep. Jordan’s denial that he had any knowledge of the abuses,” the complaint alleges. “This is a very serious matter that directly reflects on the integrity of the House of Representatives as an institution and on the credibility of its Members.”
Eisen and Wertheimer argue that if Jordan is “publicly lying about his knowledge of the matter,” he is violating House Rules and should be held accountable.
Jordan has said that no one ever reported abuse to him when he was the assistant coach.
He has also accused two of the former wrestlers of having a “vendetta” against him and the university, and called the timing of the claims “suspect.”
Jordan is making a bid to replace Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House when Ryan retires at the end of this term.
Two former wrestlers have come to Jordan’s defense, saying it was more likely that he did not know about the alleged abuse.
–Updated at 9:43 a.m.