The Louisiana congressman caught on camera kissing a member of his staff is rejecting a prominent Republican's call for him to resign.
Rep. Vance McAllister, who took office in November after winning a special election in Louisiana's fifth district, has already announced that he won’t seek reelection this fall after admitting he had "fallen short" in having a romantic relationship with a woman who was not his wife.
But he said Tuesday that despite House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) personally asking him to step down immediately, he did not want to leave his constituents without representation again.
"He asked me why I would want to put myself through this for the next eight months if I'm not running for reelection. He did ask me to consider resigning, but I respectfully disagree with him and my family is behind my decision," McAllister said in a statement.
Cantor later told reporters that his request to McAllister was in keeping with his pledge when Republicans took control of the House in 2011 that members of Congress should hold themselves to a high ethical standard.
"I told him I thought he should resign because in my mind what happened does not meet that higher standard," he said.
Separately, party leaders have stopped short of calling for the resignation of New York Rep. Michael Grimm, who was indicted Monday for fraudulently underreporting more than $1 million in sales and wages at a Manhattan fast-food restaurant he once co-owned and operated.
Grimm, who returned to work in Washington Monday after pleading not guilty, has given up his seat on the House Financial Services Committee but said he intends to seek another term. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday that Grimm’s decision to give up his committee seat was "appropriate" but declined further comment.
"I think all members should be held to the highest ethical standard," he said.
Cantor said Grimm has to "make his case to his constituents, and he’s going to have to make his case in court."
Explaining the difference in handling the cases involving the two GOP lawmakers, a spokesman for Cantor noted that one has admitted to wrongdoing while the other maintains his innocence. Grimm will meet with Cantor on Tuesday to further discuss the situation, the spokesman added.