WASHINGTON -- The House ethics committee has voted to expand its inquiry into sexual misconduct charges against Rep. Donald E. "Buz" Lukens, R-Ohio.
Officials close to the committee said they were investigating allegations that the lawmaker fondled and propositioned a young woman who was operating a congressional elevator. The officials also said that Lukens gave the employee his business card.
"The committee has received additional evidence indicating that Representative Lukens may have made unwanted and unsolicited sexual advances to a congressional employee," the committee said in a statement yesterday.
Lukens, who lost a Republican primary last year and will leave Congress at the end of this year, would not respond directly to the charges.
"My attorneys have advised me that since little or nothing is known about the new allegations there will be no comment until we have more information," he said in a statement.
The 59-year-old lawmaker was convicted last year on a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the unruliness of a minor. He was accused of paying a 16-year-old girl $40 to have sex with him at his Columbus apartment in November 1988. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $500 but has been free on appeal.
Lukens subsequently apologized for "a dumb mistake" and announced his candidacy for re-election in May. He finished a distant third in the primary.