This is the first of two articles chronicling Washington sex scandals. I was going to write it in one article, but those lusty folks we sent to DC to think great thoughts and apparently to have sex, just have given too much material to write about it in one article.
I lived in Washington, DC for 26 years. One of my early impressions of our Nation’s Capital was that everyone seemed to be having affairs. The 1980s is when the Washington press corps started extensive coverage of sex scandals. Prior to the 80s, there had been sex scandals but often the press helped to sweep them under the rug instead of reporting them.
There were a few notable sex scandals in the 70s that made headlines. Like Wilbur Mills and his affair with a Washington stripper. He was reelected by his constituents. His departure from public office came after he gave a press conference drunk from the stripper’s dressing room where she was appearing in DC.
Then things started to change. The Women’s Movement and the empowerment of women started to take hold in the Nation’s Capital. Women were not going to allow themselves to be sex objects or merely used for male gratification. That is when the press really started paying attention.
Some say the media figured out what Madison Avenue knew all along, sex sells. They knew it before the 1980s when coverage boomed. Newspapers aren’t the same as the advertising business. The newspapers were riding a rising tide in American attitudes.
My list covers sex scandals from 1980 through 2017. They are of scandals that became public. I knew of several affairs by Senators and Congressman that didn’t become public. Some of the participants have passed on. I won’t reveal those.
To what purpose would it serve? They are no longer with us to defend themselves, and it may cause anguish to their widows and children. I just view that as an unnecessary hurt.
I’ve organized the scandals by decade and by the party. This article is being written as the Judge Roy Moore sex scandal in Alabama is unfolding. I’ve read on social media that it’s always the Republicans.
My dear fellow Democrats, let me break the news to you gently. We’re splitting hairs when we try to give ourselves some moral high ground. Whether consensual or not, whether pedophilia or between adults, the illicit behavior is what makes it a sex scandal.
The 1980-1989 Republicans
Congressman Buzz Lukens (R-OH) was arrested and convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He had sex with a 16-year-old girl. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $500.
Congressman Jon Hinson (R-MS) resigned from the House of Representatives after being charged with attempted sodomy. He performed oral sex on a male employee of the Library of Congress. I’m not sure how that is sodomy.
Congressman John Schmitz (R-CA) admitted that he had a second family. He refused to acknowledge, or support two children conceived in that relationship. He was also a National Director of the extremist right-wing John Birch Society.
Robert Bauman (R-MD) lost his seat after being charged with soliciting sex from a 16-years-old male prostitute. I knew Bob and he was a heavy drinker. “I was drunk,” was his defense. He went into alcohol rehab and charges were dropped. His constituents were done with him.
Congressman Tom Evans (R-DE) went on a golf trip with a nude model and lobbyist who implied her lobbying techniques were out of the ordinary. The Congressman quickly apologized for any untoward appearances. His constituents were not buying any part of that story. He was voted out next election. The future VP Dan Quayle was on the same trip but wasn’t implicated in the scandal.
Congressman Dan Crane (R-IL) was caught up in the notorious Congressional page scandal in 1983. His punishment was censure by the House for having sex with a young page. His punishment from his conservative Danville, IL constituents was to be shown the door.
Congressman Ernie Konnyu (R-CA) was accused of sexual harassment. He asked an aide to move her name tag on her dress because it called attention to her breasts. He also was accused of touching a female lobbyists knee at a lunch, which caused a scene. Konnyu was despised by the GOP so the party found Tom Campbell to run against Konnyu and oust him. Unlike today, there was no forgiveness from the GOP for breast ogling and knee touching.
The 1980’s Democrats
Senator Gary Hart (D-CO) During his run for the Presidency in 1987 questions about his fooling around with women came up in the campaign. He taunted the press and dared them to follow him around. He claimed he was always proper. Reporters took him up on the challenge. A photo emerged of him in a sexy photo of the Senator on the yacht “Monkey Business” with a woman named Donna Rice. His popularity dropped like a stone, and he dropped out of the race.
Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) didn’t bother to conceal his affairs. They were the subject of tabloids and Washington gossip throughout the 80s. Twice he was accused of having sex in public at La Brasserie Restaurant on Capitol Hill. The first La Brasserie incident was in 1985. The second was in 1987. My wife and I were in the restaurant during the 1987 incident. Although we were not in the same room, we saw the flummoxed restaurant manager as he led the Senator out, as Ted was trying to tuck his shirt in. It was not your average night out.
Congressman Gerry Studds (D-MA) was caught in the same page scandal as Dan Crane. Congressman Studds also was censured. Unlike Congressman Crane, Studds constituents returned him to office.
Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) was reprimanded by the House for fixing 33 parking tickets for a male prostitute who lived with the Congressman in Washington. The young man ran his outcall service from the Congressman’s home. Rep Frank claimed he didn’t know his lover’s daytime activities. In the scandal, reports came out that Frank and his lover used to go to the House gym locker room and masturbate on President GHW Bush’s locker door. Nobody ever accused Barney of being classy.
Congressman Gus Savage (D-IL) was accused of trying to force his intentions on a young Peace Corps worker in Africa during a Congressional junket to Zaire. The House took no action after the Congressman apologized.
Congressman Jim Bates (D-CA) was accused of making sexual advances to staffers.
The 1990-1999 Republicans
Congressman Buz Lukens (R-OH) didn’t learn his lesson in the 80’s. He was back in the 90’s with a new scandal. He resigned from the House before having to face an investigation that he fondled a Washington, DC elevator operator.
Senator Robert Packwood (R-OR) resigned after 29 women came forward and stated the Senator harassed or assaulted them. He denied the allegations until his diaries came to light where he bragged of his sexual conquests with his accusers and other women. Packwood was notorious. I strongly cautioned female lobbyists about the dangers of walking into his office.
Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage had been one of the vocal critics of President Bill Clinton in his affairs. It came out, and she admitted that she had a 6- year affair with a married rancher before she entered government. Something about stones and glass houses comes to mind.
Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) was another vocal critic of President Clinton’s affairs. In 2013 it was revealed the Senator had fathered a son outside of his marriage. The mother of the child is the daughter of former Senator Paul Laxalt (R-NV) and a prominent Washington Lobbyist. At least he stayed within his own party.
Congressman Alan Strangeland (R-MN) lost his seat over disclosures he made hundreds of long distance phone calls on his House credit card to a female lobbyist in Virginia.
Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA) was caught with a prostitute. He claimed no money was involved. <eye roll goes here> He apologized and said it went against the person he tries to be. I think “not caught” was the person he was striving to be.
Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) worked to impeach Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky. The Speaker was forced out of office when it was revealed that he had an affair with a staffer while leading the impeachment charge and married to his second wife. Karma, there is no escaping it.
Representative and almost-Speaker, Bob Livingston (R-LA) on the eve of becoming Speaker to replace Newt Gingrich fell victim to a scandal reported by NBC’s Brian Williams. Williams reported news leaks about Livingston’s extramarital affairs. Livingston’s wife urged him to resign.
Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL) was heading up the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Salon.com reported that Hyde had an affair with a married woman in the late 60s before he entered the House. Rep Hyde admitted that he had the affair which he referred to as a “youthful indiscretion.” Sorry, Henry, age 41 is outside the envelope of “youthful.”
Rep Dan Burton (R-IN) was another GOP Congressman to fall victim to hypocrisy during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Burton, filled with the fire of indignation stated: “No one, regardless of what party they serve, should be allowed to get away with these alleged sexual improprieties.” In 1983, Burton had an affair with a state employee and he fathered a son. Just before publication of the affair, Burton admitted to the affair.
Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) was the first Member of the House to call for Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Barr had an affair while married to his second wife. Three years after the impeachment, Barr lost his seat in a primary challenge.
The 1990-1999 Democrats
The Granddaddy of all DC sex scandals, President Bill Clinton (D) had oral sex with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern. It led to his impeachment. The impeachment failed in the Senate. Bill Clinton made the now famous statement, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” That led to the national debate: “is a fellatio sex?” Believe me, there’s been a lot of research into that question.
Congressman Mel Reynolds (D-IL) resigned from Congress after a conviction for statutory rape of a 16-year old campaign worker. He was also convicted of solicitation, possession of child pornography, and 12 counts of sexual assault.
Rep Austin J. Murphy (D-PA) admitted to fathering a child outside of his marriage after his opponent produced a video of Murphy leaving the residence of his mistress.
Senator Brock Adams (D-WA) denied charges by 8 women that he engaged in sexual assault and rape. No charges were filed, and the Senator retired rather than run for reelection.
Senator Charles Robb (D-VA) married Linda Bird Johnson in a White House wedding that was nationally broadcast. A scandal broke that Robb had a nude massage with a Miss Virginia. He denied an affair and that it was just an inappropriate massage. Exactly zero people believed his story.
That is 20 years of public official fooling around. Tomorrow, I’ll publish the remaining 17 years. With all these scandals, Washington appears to have become lustier and not less.
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