House officials say the House Ethics Committee staff has initiated a preliminary inquiry into Rep. Anthony Weiner's sexually charged online relationships with several women.
House officials told The Associated Press on Monday that the inquiry is not yet extensive, and that committee leaders have not indicated whether they will order a more intensive staff investigation. The officials requested anonymity because the committee has yet to make a formal statement.
The New York Democrat could face an ethics investigation that could take many months, even longer if he mounts a full defense.
The committee leaders can decide to appoint a four-member subcommittee to investigate Weiner, including whether he used government resources to send lewd photos of himself online.
The ethics committee determines whether a House member violated standards of conduct.