- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2020

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A watchdog group affiliated with Nevada’s former GOP Attorney General Adam Laxalt has filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics calling for an investigation into whether Democratic Congressman Steven Horsford of Nevada violated any laws or ethics rules in the course of an extramarital affair.

The complaint filed Wednesday by the group Americans for Public Trust asks the nonpartisan congressional office to investigate whether Horsford “exploited his official position” in the course of the affair, which he acknowledged over the weekend.

Horsford admitted having an extramarital affair with a woman who said the on-and-off relationship began in 2009 before ending last September. The congressman’s admission followed a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Horsford had an affair with Gabriela Linder.

Linder initially used a pseudonym as she shared her story on podcasts and Twitter posts until she gave an interview to the newspaper Friday.

Linder said their sexual relationship took place between 2009-10 and 2017-2019, though they kept in contact through the decade. She said Horsford offered her financial support and introduced her to political connections during their affair. After their relationship ended, Linder said Horsford filmed a segment about the COVID-19 pandemic for her young son’s YouTube show using Horsford’s congressional staff.

In the complaint, Americans For Public Trust asked for an investigation into the use of staff to film the YouTube segment and Linder’s statements about financial support.

In response to the complaint, Horsford’s spokeswoman Shelbie Bostedt on Wednesday reiterated a statement initially issued Saturday, saying Horsford never used campaign or official funds to provide financial support to Linder and that the “former personal relationship has no bearing on the congressman’s ability to fight for the people of Nevada and he fully intends to serve them in this Congress, and beyond.”

Bostedt did not respond to questions about the source of the financial support Horsford provided to Linder, in what amounts and when.

The Office of Congressional Ethics reviews allegations of misconduct and can refer matters to the House Committee on Ethics. A submission like the group’s complaint against Horsford does not automatically trigger a review.

Bill Beaman, a spokesman for the office, said in a statement Wednesday that the office does not confirm or deny whether someone is under investigation or comment about complaints.

Americans For Public Trust, which launched last year, is officially nonpartisan. But its staff is primarily Republican, including Laxalt as the group’s outside counsel.

In 2018, Horsford won back the 4th Congressional District seat that he first held for one term before losing a reelection bid in 2014. He is running for reelection in the swing district that leans Democratic and extends from Las Vegas through largely rural areas of southern and central Nevada.

Several Republicans who are running for the seat have called for him to resign.

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