What is it about politics and sex? The two are nearly inseparable. When I moved to Washington in the 1980’s, I was shocked at the culture around Capitol Hill. There was no need to go to a local pick-up bar. Just go to the Capital Building. They were the same thing. I’ve been gone for a while, but it appears nothing has changed.
In my last column, I published part 1 of the series, covering 28 public scandals during the years 1980-1999. Those are the 28 that made the newspaper. There are a lot more going on even as I write these words.
There has been a lot of scurrilous sexual behavior by those guardians of freedom we send to Washington that never make it to the newspaper. The late Senator Strom Thurmond had the nickname “Spermin Thurmond.” He was another Senator I encouraged the women who worked for me to avoid.
A woman wasn’t safe around Senator Thurmond. I’ve seen him grope and grab women at receptions, remark about their breasts, and caress their backsides. He got away with it because he was Strom Thurmond. Most Members of Congress try to conceal their predatory nature in public. Not Strom, and it was something he admired in other men.
Senator John Tower (R-TX) was another notorious womanizer. I was covering the John Tower confirmation hearings chaired by Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) to consider Tower for the post of Secretary of Defense. The Senate Armed Services Committee held a closed door and open hearings into Senator Tower’s nomination. Before the hearings got underway, Senator Thurmond said into a microphone he did know was turned on, “When Tower dies, they’ll have to cut his dick off and beat it to death and bury it separately. It has a life of its own.” After the laughter in the room died down, a female lobbyist colleague of mine turned to me and said, “Look who’s talking.”
I’ve broken the list down by the decade, and by the party. Readers can count the scandals in the two articles and try to find comfort or scorn for their own or the opposing party. As an old hand from Washington, don’t waste your time. Sexual peccadilloes are maybe the only bipartisan activity in the Nation’s Capital.
The Republicans 2000-2009
Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH) voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the 90s. It was revealed that he had a long-term affair with his female Chief of Staff. He married her after his divorce.
Senator Strom Thurmond fathered a child with a 15-year-old African-American woman who worked for the Thurmond family. The incident happened in 1925 when the future Senator was 23 years-old but was not revealed until near the end of the Senator’s time in Congress. Maybe Roy Moore should adopt this as a defense?
Rep. David Drier (R-CA) earned a spot in the Washington hypocrisy limelight, and ended up being featured in the documentary “Outrage.” The Congressman had voted against gay rights legislation. He was outed for his sexual relationship with his male Chief of Staff.
Senator David Vitter (R-LA) won the House seat vacated by Rep Bob Livingston (R-LA) after revelations of Livingston’s affairs during the Lewinsky scandal. Vitter had said, “I think Livingston stepping down is a powerful message that Clinton should resign as well.” Karma must love Washington, DC. Senator Vitter’s name was discovered in the address book of the Washington, DC Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey.
Rep. Ed Schrock (R-VA) joined David Drier in Washington’s Hypocrisy Hall. The Congressman said he would not run for reelection after a being caught on tape soliciting sex from a male prostitute. He had fought same-sex marriage as well as allowing gays in the military.
Randall Tobias (R), the very first United States Director of Foreign Assistance, and Director of USAID, and “AIDS Czar.” He abruptly resigned for “personal reasons.” Before being appointed by President Bush, Mr. Tobias was the CEO of Eli Lilly and Company. As it turned out, Mr. Tobias’ name was found in the address book of DC Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey. Mr. Tobias had made the notable statement that nations that allowed prostitution should be denied American assistance. Karma at work again.
Rep. Don Sherwood (R-PA) failed to win reelection to his seat when a woman came forward accusing him of physically abusing her during their five-year affair.
Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) was arrested for lewd behavior in a men’s bathroom at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The Senator plead guilty to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct and thought the matter was over. It wasn’t over. When the news broke, Senator Craig announced his resignation, then had a change of heart. Things continued to spiral down for him politically and he decided to not run for reelection.
Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned after it was learned that he sent sexually explicit emails to underage male Congressional pages. He was replaced by Democrat Tim Mahoney, who you will read about a little further down this page. What is it with this Congressional seat that it attracts predators?
Senator John Ensign (R-NV) called for Bill Clinton to resign during the Lewinsky affair. He joins so many others in Hypocrisy Hall. The Senator resigned his own Senate seat after it was revealed he had an affair with the wife of a close friend who was working on his campaign. I wonder, did they remain friends?
Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) The Congressman’s woes began when his wife filed an alienation of affections lawsuit against Pickering’s mistress. The suit alleged the affair ruined the Pickering’s marriage. It also ruined his political career.
Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY) was arrested for drunk driving. If that isn’t bad enough, while being questioned, Rep Fossella admitted to an affair that had produced a child. Some drunks just talk too much.
The Democrats 2000-2009
Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-FL) replaced Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) who had admitted to sending sexually explicit emails to pages. He ran on a platform of making the world safer and more moral. He then put his mistress on his Congressional payroll and fired her. The scandal broke, and he admitted to numerous affairs.
Senator John Edwards (D-NC) had been one of the most prolific legislators from the moment he walked into the Senate. His first year in office he managed to get a staggering 11 pieces of original legislation passed into law. That is more than John Kerry (4) or Bernie Sanders (0) in their entire careers. He was one of the front-runners for the Democratic Nomination for President. That was until it was revealed he had an affair with an actress and film producer that had produced a child.
Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA) had an affair with a 23-year-old. The affair came to light after the young woman disappeared. Condit, who had called for Bill Clinton to come clean about the Lewinsky affair tried to deny it. The young woman’s body was later found in a wooded area of Washington, DC. She had been murdered by a homeless man with no connection to the Congressman. However, the Congressman’s career was over.
The Republicans, 2010-2017
Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) the internet has become the hunting ground for those seeking affairs. Rep. Lee resigned after emails surfaced of his having sent shirtless photos to a woman on Craig’s list. He didn’t attempt to hide his name and used his official House email address. At least he was smart enough to resign.
Herman Cain (R) ran for President in 2012. Many women came forward accusing him of sexual advances. As the scandal unfolded, it was revealed that Mr. Cain had a 13-year affair with a woman. Mr. Cain pulled out of the race.
Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert plead guilty to paying hush-money to a man he had sexually abused when the Speaker was a High School wrestling coach. Other men came forward who had been fondled by Hastert. The former Speaker went to prison for his behavior.
President Donald Trump during his campaign for President was accused by 13 women of sexual assault. A tape surfaced of the Candidate bragging about his sexual conquests. Republicans ignored his accusers and voted for him despite his behavior. He explained his comments on the tape as “locker-room talk.”
Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) resigned his seat to avoid facing an ethics hearing into an affair he admitted to with a female staffer. The Congressman was a strong advocate of abstinence and family values. In the video below, the Congressman is interviewed by his mistress on the importance of abstinence.
Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA) was caught on surveillance video passionately kissing a female staffer. He apologized saying he “fell short.” Many in his party called for him to resign. Rather than resign, he announced he would not run for reelection.
Rep. Scott Jarlais (R-TN) earned his spot in Hypocrisy Hall after admitting under oath to 6 affairs. Some of his affairs were with patients and staffers at the hospital in Tennessee where he was a physician. Here is where he earned his spot in the Hall. He was staunchly pro-life yet forced his ex-wife to have two abortions. He also tried to talk one of his mistresses, who was also his patient into having an abortion.
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) occupies the pedestal in Hypocrisy Hall right next to Rep. Jarlais. Murphy also was a strong pro-life Congressman. He asked his 32-year-old mistress to have an abortion after she became pregnant with his child. The information came from Murphy’s divorce case. A friendly judge had placed the divorce proceedings under seal and out of the eye of the public. The Pittsburg Post-Gazette went to court and had the documents unsealed. Murphy resigned upon their publication.
Judge Roy Moore (R) is a candidate for the US Senate from Alabama. One woman came forward that when she was 15-years-old, the then 32-years-old Moore made sexual advances toward her. Senators Mitch McConnell and John McCain have called for Moore to step aside. The Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (RSCC) has cut off fundraising for Moore. Additional women have come forward. Moore continues to deny allegations.
Conservative Commentator Sean Hannity defended Moore that it was consensual. Others have noted she was “almost legal” as the age of consent in Alabama is 16. A fellow elected Republican from Alabama said Moore’s behavior was OK because it was Biblical, citing Joseph who was much older than Mary the mother of Jesus.
The Democrats, 2010-2017
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) resigned from Congress after shirtless photos of him sent to women were published. He apologized to his family and to his constituents and left Congress in humiliation. He didn’t stop his sexting addiction. In September of 2017, the former Representative was sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting a 17-years-old girl.
Rep. Eric Massa (D-CA) left the Congress rather than face an ethics investigation into his groping and tickling male staffers. He told a reporter he not only groped the male staffer but tickled him until he couldn’t breathe.
Rep. David Wu (D-OR) also left the House to avoid an ethics investigation. The Congressman was accused of making unwanted sexual advances to the daughter of one of his fundraisers.
Over 37 years from 1980 until November 13, 2017, a total of 29 Republicans and 17 Democrats have been involved in sexual controversy. Does it mean Democrats are more moral than Republicans? As a veteran of DC politics, I would have to say no. The Republicans are just better at getting caught.
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