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House panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations

The House Ethics Committee on Friday said it has opened an investigation into Rep. Tom ReedTom ReedLawmakers brace for battles with colleagues as redistricting kicks off Hundreds of businesses sign on to support LGBTQ rights legislation House panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations MORE (R-N.Y.) over allegations of sexual misconduct.

Reed said last month that he would not seek reelection or pursue a gubernatorial campaign following a Washington Post report detailing former lobbyist Nicolette Davis's allegations that he sexually harassed her in 2017.

House Ethics Committee Chairman Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchDemocrats fume over silence from DeSantis on Florida election Republican, Democratic lawmakers urge fully funding US assistance to Israel For a win on climate, let's put our best player in the game MORE (D-Fla.) and the panel's top Republican, Rep. Jackie WalorskiJacqueline (Jackie) R. WalorskiLoyalty trumps policy in Stefanik's rise, Cheney's fall Trump backs Stefanik to replace Cheney The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - House GOP drama intensifies; BIden sets new vax goal MORE (Ind.), said in a joint statement that the panel has launched an investigation "and will gather additional information regarding the allegations."

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Davis told the Post that Reed drunkenly rubbed her body and unhooked her bra while they were seated next to each other at a pub after a day of ice fishing. She was working as a junior insurance lobbyist at the time during a weekend trip to benefit the campaign committee of then-Rep. Erik PaulsenErik Philip PaulsenHouse panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations GOP Rep. Tom Reed accused of sexual misconduct Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips wins primary MORE (R-Minn.). 

Reed initially said that Davis's account was "not accurate." Days later, he issued an apology to Davis and said the incident happened while he was struggling with alcoholism.

"Even though I am only hearing of this matter as stated by Ms. Davis in the article now, I hear her voice and will not dismiss her. In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility," Reed said in a statement.

Reed has stepped down as co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which he had been co-leading with Rep. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerHouse moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill Police reform talks ramp up amid pressure from Biden, families The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to take stock, revive push for big government MORE (D-N.J.). The caucus announced this week that Rep. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickAmerica's Jewish communities are under attack — Here are 3 things Congress can do Biden visits local Mexican restaurant to highlight relief program Police reform talks ramp up amid pressure from Biden, families MORE (Pa.) will serve as the GOP co-chair instead.

The House Ethics Committee further announced Friday that it has opened an investigation into another lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct: Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzBuckingham Palace requests 'Trump Train' remove image of queen from bus Kinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote Federal investigators seeking cooperation from former Gaetz girlfriend, second key witness: CNN MORE (R-Fla.).

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"The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Matt Gaetz may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct," Deutch and Walorski said in a statement.

Gaetz has denied the allegations and is refusing to resign.

The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that Gaetz sent money via Venmo to an accused sex trafficker who then paid the same amount of cash to teenage girls. Gaetz labeled the first transaction as "test" and the second "hit up ___," with the alleged nickname of one of the young women.

CNN also reported that Gaetz showed other lawmakers on the House floor nude photos and videos of women he claimed to have had sex with.