The House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into a freshman member from the U.S. territory of Guam – the second probe of a Democratic congressman in two days – alleging he had a sexual relationship with a staff member and misused campaign finance contributions.
"The committee is aware of public allegations that Delegate Michael F. Q. San Nicolas may have engaged in a sexual relationship with an individual on his congressional staff, converted campaign funds to personal use and/or accepted improper or excessive campaign contributions," said a panel statement on Thursday.
The ethics committee said “it has begun and investigation and will gather additional information regarding the allegations,” but has not empaneled an “investigative subcommittee,”– indicating that Congress hasn't brought any official charges against San Nicolas.
The delegate's office responded to Fox News' request for comment saying "The Congressman’s official response: The Congressman welcomes the opportunity for due process.”
Nicholas is a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives from Guam.
Official spending reports posted by Congress in September revealed that San Nicolas had doubled his staff from the 12 to 25 from the first to the second quarter, and spent hefty sums on lodging, food and transportation.
San Nicolas spent $26,719 on lodging in the first two quarters of 2019 — some of his biggest lodging expenditures included $3,971 for six days, $2,720 on Feb. 26 and $8,749 spent on May 7 and 8, according to Congressional documents, KUAM News reported.
He also spent $10,109 on food and beverages in the first two quarters, including $510 at the Capital Grille, a high-end steakhouse in Washington, D.C., $854 at Outback Steakhouse and $309 at the Sheraton. His biggest food and beverage expense was $7,200 on March 18, when he held his district office opening. He billed the event as a town hall meeting, but attendees described it as a reception, which would exclude it from being eligible for reimbursement, KUAM reported. House rules state “members and employees may not be reimbursed for food and beverage expenses related to social activities or social events (e.g., hospitality, receptions, entertainment, holiday or personal celebrations, and swearing-in or Inauguration Day celebrations)."
San Nicolas also spent $69,184 on commercial transportation, the offices' largest expenditures.
The committee's probe into San Nicolas comes a day after it announced it had begun an inquiry into another House Democrat, Rep. Katie Hill of California, over an alleged affair with her legislative director and former campaign finance director Graham Kelly, which she has denied.
Simultaneous with the allegations, naked photos and text messages, said to be connected to Hill, began to surface, involving a female on her campaign staff.