Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee resigns as chairwoman of caucus foundation, reports say

HOUSTON – U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee resigned Wednesday as chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, according to reports.

Both The New York Times and The Hill reported that the Democratic congresswoman representing Texas’ 18th District had stepped down from her role at the CBCF.

Jackson Lee has faced scrutiny over allegations made by a former staffer, who said she was fired after reporting that she had been sexually assaulted by a caucus supervisor years ago.

The congresswoman has denied the allegations.

“For the congresswoman, it’s bad news,” Rice University political science professor Mark Jones said.

Jones added the woman’s claims could diminish Jackson Lee’s power in Washington and hurt her efforts to support women’s rights.

One group reportedly said it no longer wants Jackson Lee leading the charge on the Violence Against Women Act.

“To have influence and power in Congress, she needs the support of her party, as well has all these activists' groups. If they consider her a pariah, she is going to be much less influential and much less powerful than she otherwise would be,” Jones said.

Jackson Lee released a statement last week, which she posted to her Facebook page, denying the allegations. It reads, in part, "Congresswoman Jackson Lee has an outstanding record of supporting civil rights and non-discrimination, both in legislation and her own office."

The Times also reported that Jackson Lee has decided to temporarily step aside from her position on the House Judiciary subcommittee.

KPRC2 has reached out to Jackson Lee’s office for comment.

The Harris County Democratic Party released this statement:

“The Harris County Democratic Party stands in solidarity with all survivors of sexual violence and harassment. We strongly condemn any attempt by anyone to intimidate or silence anyone from coming forward, having their story heard and justice being served. We support Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s decision to step down from her committee appointment and we await the outcome of the investigation.”

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