WASHINGTON -- The senior Democrat on the House Ethics Committee said yesterday that he will not step down from his post, contending there is no truth to allegations by a conservative group that he violated financial disclosure laws.
Representative Alan Mollohan of West Virginia accused Republicans of orchestrating the complaint by the congressional watchdog group and using it to call for him to leave the committee.
The National Legal and Policy Center said yesterday that it filed a complaint in February with federal prosecutors, alleging that Mollohan consistently undervalued assets on congressional financial reports and also omitted assets. Mollohan denied any wrongdoing.
Channing Phillips, principal assistant US attorney in Washington, said yesterday that he could not confirm receipt of the complaint or comment on any pending criminal investigation.
The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Representative Thomas M. Reynolds, Republican of New York, said the allegations should lead Mollohan to resign from the Ethics Committee.
Democrats this year have accused Republicans of allowing ''a culture of corruption" that included a scandal involving former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Republicans have blamed Democrats for partisan battles that have kept the divided Ethics Committee from opening any major investigations since January 2005.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois, said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California must decide whether Mollohan should step down, but indicated she should take that course. Pelosi said she would not ask Mollohan to step down.