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Player of the Week: Vito Fossella

The scandal-plagued members of the 110th Congress have been something of a motley crew. They've come from north, south, east and west, the House and Senate, red states and blue. They've -- allegedly, of course -- inserted shady earmarks into bills, shaken down land developers, engaged in "very serious sin" with a call girl, hidden cash in a freezer (wait, that was the 109th Congress), bought Nicaraguan real estate and taken a "wide stance" in an airport restroom. Some are quitting, others are trying to keep their jobs and all, in some form or another, have professed their innocence.

Comes now Vito John Fossella, Jr., New York City's only Republican lawmaker, son of a long-entrenched Staten Island political family and - as we've learned in the last week - an alleged drunk driver who has a 3-year-old daughter with a woman who is not his wife.

Mug shot of Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.), who was arrested last week on drunk driving charges.

After being charged with drunken driving last week in Alexandria, Fossella admitted Thursday to fathering the child, along with a long-running extramarital affair and, at risk of being redundant, "personal failings and imperfections [that] have caused enormous pain to the people I love."

Fossella presumably was referring to his family in that quote, though he could just as easily have been talking about his House GOP colleagues, who had gone at least a few hours without a new electoral headache and were probably less than eager to have yet another Republican-held seat put in peril.

Fossella hasn't said yet what his plans are, but it's hard to imagine at this point that he will run for reelection. The more realistic question is whether he stays in Congress through the end of the year or simply decides to resign. For the record, if Fossella does choose to retire, he would be at least the fourth scandal-tarred Republican to do so, following Reps. John Doolittle (Calif.) and Rick Renzi (Ariz.) and Sen. Larry Craig (Idaho). Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) could also be a candidate for that list, though his motives for retiring aren't quite as clear as the others.

Weller's district is in danger of flipping to the Democrats, as is Renzi's. The prospects of Fossella's seat turning over are more murky. New York's 13th district is largely Catholic and socially conservative, and it gave President Bush 55 percent of the vote in 2004. But New York state and the Northeast as a whole have not been enamored of the Republican brand in recent years, so Staten Island could end up with the rest of the city in the blue column.

As for Fossella, he appears to have larger and more personal issues to worry about than whether his party can hold his seat. And Republicans are just hoping that their scandal blotter doesn't get any longer.

By Ben Pershing  |  May 9, 2008; 4:06 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules , Player of the Week  
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Next: The Week Ahead: War and Politics


Last week all of the commentary arising from the vox populi concerned (appropriately) the escape of the ruling class from any consequences in the matter of the DC Madam. She paid the ultimate price, while power brokers on the Hill barely had to fleck dandruff from their well-tailored shoulders.

And so it continues this week: why has the fact that the mother of Fossella's love child, a Lt. Col in the Air Force, escaped any notice and consequence for her indiscretions?

She is an officer in the Air Force, fraternizing with a member of Congress to the point of producing a child!

Air Force Officers at the Lieutenant Colonel rank command taxpayer program dollars, and acquire munitions for the military, starting at around the $100 Million level and escalating to the $1 Billion dollar level. That is our money, and shepherding it wisely is in her job description.

And she is sleeping with a member of Congress, who can grant her any largesse needed to advance her career with the stroke of a pen!

Soon she will be a one-star General, and at that level she can determine the course of $10 Billion in US Taxpayer money.

And the only thing she had to do for her next promotion was to sleep with a member of Congress.

Fraternization is a crime in the military. And producing a love child is a pretty concrete example of fraternization. Why have we heard nothing about the consequences for her?

The reason is that the Air Force is doing everything it can to bury their service's responsibility in this matter, and cover up the fact that this is at least one sly way they know about to obtain Congressional approval for their gold-plated weapons programs, at the expense of our hard earned tax dollars.

How many children, with how many members of Congress, will this particular Air Force Lt. Colonel need to produce in order to get that vacation condo in Maui she wants? Is this a game show?

Will she be reprimanded for this "indiscretion"? Of course not! The Air Force knows how to take care of its own when it comes to contract fraud and corruption, and how best to cover up its practices. Just ask General Moseley, who two weeks ago was caught giving away $70 Million in taxpayer funds to one of his buddies.

Posted by: Che in Great Falls | May 9, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Fossella was reported to be conferring with the House chaplain--would this be the same Father Coughlin who blessed the adultery of Newt Gingrich in exchange for Newt voting to keep the world's women (except his own mistreses) in incubating slavery for PEDOPHILE PRIESTS? Playboy Fossella should be BOBBITTED AND JAILED FOR LIFE for GYNOCIDING a half-million women every year by voting against their access to birth control. And how about the abortions he treats HIS OTHER mistresses to?!

Posted by: Mary Mueller | May 9, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

In your blog, you misstate that Sen. Larry Craig comes from Wyoming. He actually represents Idaho.

Wyomingites have enough to answer for by sending Dick Cheney to Congress 25 years ago. Don't saddle them with Larry Craig as well.

Posted by: Che from Great Falls | May 9, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

To "Che in Great Falls"

You are aware that she is a RETIRED Lt. Colonel in the Air Force? She didn't commit a crime as despicable as the act was.

Posted by: Dorian | May 11, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

To "Che in Great Falls"

You are aware that she is a RETIRED Lt. Colonel in the Air Force? She didn't commit a crime as despicable as the act was.

Posted by: Dorian | May 11, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

You stated in the blog that Larry Craig (R-Idaho) resigned. He didn't - even though he had promised to do so.

Posted by: Pam | May 11, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

You stated in the blog that Larry Craig (R-Idaho) resigned. He didn't - even though he had promised to do so.

Posted by: Pam | May 11, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

So speaking of earmarks and shady deals here,that reminds me,to ask why hasn't WAPO
and the other newsmedia really investigated
the one,that Barack Hussein Obama used to
get a multi-million tax dollar grant for the hospital where Obama's wife that hateful Michelle Obama, works at and how
suddenly it raised Michelle Obama's salary
up into the high six figures now then?
Face it Barack Hussein Obama is as sleazy,
shady dealing and corrupt as they come.

Posted by: Sherry Kay | May 12, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Fossella.. just another republican greasebag who will have to endure not going to his favorite spots for a week or so until his story cycles out of the news..

Posted by: H | May 13, 2008 2:29 AM | Report abuse

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