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Fossella Will Retire, Not Resign

UPDATE 8:45 AM: Fossella's full statement is now available online, as it has essentially replaced the home page on his official House Web site. In it, a letter to the people of the 13th district, he recalls his various career accomplishments in helping his constituents, including coping with the aftermath of 9/11. "I am extremely proud of these and other achievements and that our work has made a positive difference in the lives of so many people," Fossella says. "It is for this reason that I will continue to serve you and our community for the duration of my term, which will expire on January 3, 2009."

Scandal-plagued Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) is expected to announce Tuesday that he will not run for re-election in November in the wake of a drunk-driving arrest and revelations that he fathered a daughter with a woman who is not his wife.

The Staten Island Advance reports that Fossella will make public a statement Tuesday that says: "After a great deal of consideration, I have made the decision not to seek reelection to the United States House of Representatives this November. This choice was an extremely difficult one, balanced between my dedication to service to our great nation and the need to concentrate on healing the wounds that I have caused to my wife and family.

"Despite the personal mistakes I have made, I am touched by the outpouring of support and encouragement I have received from so many people. Their kind words and prayers during this difficult time mean more to me than I can express. And while many have urged me to run for reelection, I believe this course of action is best for my family and our community."

In addition to drunk driving charges and the personal embarassment of his family situation, Fossella faces the possibility of an investigation by the House ethics committee of official congressional trips he took with Laura Fay, a retired Air Force colonel and former military liaison on the Hill who has been revealed to be Fossella's long-running girlfriend.

House Republican leaders and election strategists have been anxiously awaiting a decision from Fossella about his future, with some members expecting or hoping that Fossella would resign from the chamber immediately. His apparent decision to serve out his term may bring more negative attention on him and distract the GOP's legislative efforts, but it also saves the party from the prospect of yet another difficult special election after Republicans have lost three in two months, and a race in New York City would be prohibitively expensive.

But Fossella's downfall still gives the GOP an electoral headache, as his Staten Island-based seat will be targeted by Democrats in the fall.

By Ben Pershing  |  May 20, 2008; 7:20 AM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules  
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Next: Colleagues React to Kennedy's Diagnosis


"...I believe this course of action is best for my family..."
Which one?

It is so hard not to gloat as the GOP self-destructs. I try to remind myself that real people are in real pain because of Fossella's infidelities but then I look at the real people in real pain because of the Republican party's complete detachment from reality. The pain this party has caused is widespread and growing exponentially. Unfortunately, the party's decline has led to the country's decline. I wish I had more faith in the Democrats to fix things, but I know that the fix for the two party system is not a one party system. I also know that the character flaws that have come to define the Republicans are not unique to their party.
I wonder when, if ever, the political parties in this country will begin to prioritize the needs of the United States over the desires of the Republicans and Democrats? I'm anxious about what damage will be done while we wait for an answer.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | May 20, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I have become a hardened Democrat after the 1998 impeachment of President Clinton.
What great hypocrites these Republicans are. Henry Hyde who lead the impeachment hearings dismissed his adulterous affair with a married woman with three small children as "youthful indicretion"...he was 43 at the time. Newt Gingrich was also having an adulterous affair with "his aide" while he was condemning Bill Clinton.
Dan Burton was discovered to have a hidden love child from an adulterous affair. Old Strom Thurmond also had a hidden love child. Bob Livingston confessed to numerous adulterous affairs...and all these characters were standing at podiums passing judgment on the President. Since then we have a much longer list of pedophiles, adulterers, and closet gays to add to the Republican list of hypocites! Fossella is just the latest. And let's not forget John McCain who cheated on his first wife Carol chasing a young, rich woman from Arizona who now aspires to be our next First Lady. Shouldn't that be ..First Homewrecker?

Posted by: A.Lincoln | May 20, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

So Fossella is retiring in order to spend more time with his families?

Posted by: William Saunders | May 20, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm not surprise that these sleaze balls are getting exposed. The entire Republican Party is full of hypocrites. These are the same guys and gals that loves to preach moral and values to all of us, yet, their actions speak louder than their words. Yet, this is the Party that has a tremendous support amongst to Christian Conservatives Evangelist. It make me wonder, because a lot of those Christian Conservatives are also racist and bigots. I wonder what bible are they reaidng from.

Posted by: Gusto | May 20, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Why resign when retirement insures we'll be paying good tax money to this dirtbag the rest of his worthless life...

Posted by: braultrl | May 20, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Why didn't the junior Kennedy resign when he was driving around drunk and drugged? How about his uncle, the Cape Cod Orca? Get a grip.

Posted by: margincall | May 20, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

bye scum...

Posted by: Family values, indeed... | May 20, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

All of you who bring up Ted Kennedy and his family when those in the GOP are shown to be human just don't quite get the point. We're not saying that the Democrats are saints, just that the Republican Party has to get away from being hypocritical. The Bible calls this being "double-minded".

There's no way this guy could win his seat back, so he's making the best of a bad situation. He's doing no worse than Sen. Larry "Wide-Stance" Craig or Sen. Vetter. Vetter was not allowed to resign, as the next appointee to that position would be most likely a Democrat. It all comes down to who will be next in that office? Republicans will not give up any more seats than they have to.

Posted by: Michelle | May 20, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Goodbye and gooooood riddance to another Washington NEO-CON hypocrite.

Church on sunday, crimes allllll week long!

I wanna know when the evangelical leadership community is going to start ranting about hypocrisy and shaming politicians into behaving like ordinay people... oh wait...

The money they pay into the evangelical leadership community will have to run out first, huh?

Posted by: JBE | May 20, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

And another one down and another bites the dust, Hey! Hey! So the Repubatards were suppose to bring Morality back to the White house after Clinton. Hum-mm looks like that is just not going to happen!

Posted by: nallcando | May 20, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

What's so difficult about retirement, especially when you get to receive a nice pension for all those years you're been screwing the public? He should be brought up on charges and stripped of his pension, only there's no one in the House who has the balls and the clean record to accuse him. This is what has become of our politics. The rats will not squeal on the rats, as our politics sink ever deeper into the sewer. We desperately need a goddam REVOLUTION!

Posted by: Doubtom | May 20, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Fossella, the family values republican, is just another Sonny Corleone. He just cannot keep his pants zippered.

Posted by: truth1 | May 20, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Why should he resign? Bush had a DUI, and he's President of the United States!

Posted by: Lee | May 20, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I meant retire, not resign.

Posted by: Lee | May 20, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Maybe "Mr. Family Values" will knock up a few of his female constituents before he leaves office permanently. What a disgrace you are to every hard-working diligent politician in the country. No wonder the Republican Party is on the way out-all a bunch of self serving hypocrites.

Posted by: Mike Steele | May 20, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the family values crowd strikes again. So now we see once more, when the GOP says we should be moral, they mean everyone but themselves.

Posted by: Greg in LA | May 20, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

I've got news for you folks, they are all hypocrites. How you people can point the finger at one political party is ridiculous. And how is the Republican party on the way out? Spitzer? Hmm....

Glass houses....

I think you should all keep your mouths shut and your posts to yourselves.

Posted by: Keri | May 22, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

And truth1, I really think your anti Italian comment was uncalled for. Did you criticize Spitzer because he's Jewish? And, by the way, Sonny Corleone did not cheat on his wife. If you are going to use literary references, I suggest using them correctly.

Posted by: Keri | May 22, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

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