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Tom Reed misconduct accusation could be subject to ethics scrutiny

New York Republican faces allegations of unwanted sexual advances toward a lobbyist

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., attends a news conference in Washington on Dec. 14, 2020.
Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., attends a news conference in Washington on Dec. 14, 2020. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

A commissioned Army officer has accused New York Republican Tom Reed of making unwanted sexual advances toward her at a Minnesota pub in 2017 when she was working as a 25-year-old lobbyist for Aflac — a situation that could potentially subject Reed to scrutiny by the House ethics process.

Nicolette Davis told the Washington Post that a drunk Reed, who is 20 years her senior, rubbed her back, unhooked her bra and placed his hand on her thigh and moved it upwards. When Davis asked the person sitting next to her for help, the man pulled Reed from the table and out of the restaurant.

“This account of my actions is not accurate,” Reed said in an emailed statement. That was the same statement his office provided to the Post.

The House Ethics Committee has previously investigated matters of sexual misconduct when the allegations come from individuals who are not employed by the House.

In 2018, the House Ethics Committee issued a report on former Nevada Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen, which among other findings, revealed he made unwanted verbal and physical advances toward a campaign consultant and a staffer on his congressional campaign. The panel, which reproved Kihuen, also found he made unwanted advances toward a Nevada lobbyist when he was in the state legislature. He chose not to run for reelection.

And back in 1990, the panel concluded that former Illinois Democratic Rep. Gus Savage subjected a Peace Corps volunteer to improper sexual advances.

Tom Rust, a spokesperson for the Ethics Committee, declined comment.

Reed has been vocal against matters of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault and harassment. “I stand by my record,” Reed said.

He wrote a deeply personal account in the Huffington Post of when his niece was sexually assaulted and expressed his commitment to combatting it and increasing awareness.

“Changing how we as a society view sexual assault is the first step to determining ways to end it,” Reed wrote in 2014. “Education is key. Bystanders need to understand how their actions can make a difference in preventing this violence.”

Reed is considering challenging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo has been accused by several women of sexual harassment and is fighting calls to resign and an impeachment inquiry. Cuomo has also been embroiled in a scandal regarding his oversight of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic. Reed has called for the governor to resign.

Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.

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