ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A powerful New York state senator accused of forcibly kissing a former staffer says a state ethics agency has launched an investigation into the allegation.

Sen. Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat, said Tuesday in Albany that he had been told by his lawyers that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics is investigating Erica Vladimer’s accusations.

The 30-year-old Vladimer claimed last week that Klein gave her an unwanted kiss while the two smoked cigarettes outside an Albany bar in 2015.

Klein’s attorney, Michael Zweig, told Newsday on Tuesday that JCOPE officials have requested information and Klein is cooperating fully.

Klein denies the allegation and has said he welcomes an investigation into Vladimer’s accusation.

Vladimer in a statement released by her attorney insists she’s telling the truth, adding she hopes the investigation won’t be a white wash like the one conducted by Klein and backed by his powerful Independent Democratic Conference.

The 57-year-old Klein is leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, which shares power in the Senate with Republicans.

The senator told the Times Albany Union that he supports the governor’s newly proposed package of anti sexual harassment provisions and that he intends to push to make it happen.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)