On March 28 and again on April 4, Democracy 21, joined by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, requested the Office of Congressional Ethics to conduct an inquiry into whether House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes had disclosed classified information in violation of House Ethics rules.

House Rule 23, clause 13 requires a member to swear that he or she “will not disclose any classified information received in the course of my service with the House of Representatives, except as authorized by the House of Representatives or in accordance with its Rules.”

Today, Chairman Nunes issued the statement enclosed below in temporarily stepping down from leading the Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation.

Nunes’ statement said:

Several leftwing activist groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics. The charges are entirely false and politically motivated, and are being leveled just as the American people are beginning to learn the truth about the improper unmasking of the identities of U.S. citizens and other abuses of power. Despite the baselessness of the charges, I believe it is in the best interests of the House Intelligence Committee and the Congress for me to have Representative Mike Conaway, with assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, temporarily take charge of the Committee’s Russia investigation while the House Ethics Committee looks into this matter. I will continue to fulfill all my other responsibilities as Committee Chairman, and I am requesting to speak to the Ethics Committee at the earliest possible opportunity in order to expedite the dismissal of these false claims.