(CNN) – A onetime staffer for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid no longer works for the senior a Democrat amid reports the staffer orchestrated a sham marriage in order to provide a Lebanese man with American citizenship, a spokesman for Reid said.
"Our office was not previously aware of these allegations and, following an internal investigation, the staffer at issue is no longer with our office," Jim Manley, Reid's communications director, said in a statement. "The conduct alleged, which took place several years before the staffer worked for Senator Reid, was clearly wrong."
Fox News reported Monday that Diana Tejada, Reid's press secretary for Hispanic media, accepted money for marrying a Lebanese man - Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini - who wanted to become a citizen of the United States. Tejada reportedly misrepresented the marriage to federal officials in 2003 but later admitted to its true nature in 2008.
The Fox report also said Tarhini pleaded guilty in 2009 to entering a fraudulent marriage to for the purpose of citizenship and was deported last March. Tejada did not face charges.
Tejada began working for Reid in 2008 and drew a yearly wage of nearly just over 50,000, according to disclosed congressional salary reports.
In his statement on the matter, Manley suggested the story is "a desperation measure by partisan republicans, who have stooped to slinging mud about junior staffers to score points in the waning days of her campaign."
Reid is locked in a tight reelection race with Nevada Republican Sharron Angle and the issue of illegal immigration has been a prominent one throughout the course of the campaign.
- CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report