Updated: 9 p.m.
Staff members for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) alerted him last month to allegations of misconduct by Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.), Hoyer spokeswoman Katie Grant said in a statement.
The House Democrats’ No. 2 responded by instructing staff that if Massa did not bring the matter to the ethics committee within 48 hours, he would do so himself, Grant said.
Hoyer got the heads up the week of Feb. 8, Grant said, and received confirmation in short order from both the ethics committee and Massa’s office that the panel had been alerted and is reviewing the allegations.
“Mr. Hoyer does not know whether the allegations are true or false, but wanted to ensure that the bipartisan committee charged with overseeing conduct of Members was immediately involved to determine the facts,” Grant said.
Hoyer has long been an advocate for internal House ethics investigations. In 2004, the then-Minority Whip was among one of the most vocal Members pressing for an inquiry into whether GOP Members had attempted to bribe Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.) on the House floor during the 2003 Medicare vote.
At that time, Democrats and Republicans were locked in a so-called ethics truce, with neither side willing to file ethics complaints against the other. Since then, Hoyer has regularly called for the ethics committee to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by Members of both parties.