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Senate Aide Busted in Child Sex Sting

A sex sting has claimed another culprit on Capitol Hill. This time, however, it's only a low-level Senate staffer instead of a sitting senator. (Double entendre intended).

In this case, it's a 28-year-old scheduler to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) who has been arrested by the FBI on charges that he arranged to have sex with what he thought was a 13-year-old boy. The staffer, Mike McHaney, was arrested on Friday after he told a cooperating witness for the FBI online that he could take a "long lunch" to have an afternoon tryst with the boy.

According to a federal court document obtained by thesmokinggun, the cooperating witness (CW) asked McHaney if he would like to have anal sex with the child. McHaney replied, "I'll be there."

The document shows that McHaney, whose full name is James Michael McHaney, was arrested an hour later in the "lobby of a predetermined location" and charged with attempted child exploitation. It did not indicate whether McHaney used Senate computers to arrange the meeting.

The cooperating witness and McHaney, court records show, knew one another. The informant told federal authorities that McHaney "had a sexual interest in male children" and that they had "exchanged images of child pornography with each other on previous occasions."

Before working in Cantwell's office, McHaney's experience included doing advance work for the 2004 presidential campaigns of both former Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004.

The nature of the allegations stunned fellow Democratic politicos. One veteran Democratic operative who worked with McHaney in the past told the Sleuth, "Everybody - we're totally shocked. You don't expect anybody to do this."

McHaney was fired from Cantwell's office after the arrest. The senator's chief of staff, Michael Meehan, issued a statement late Monday saying, "Late Friday afternoon the FBI informed our office that a Senate employee was arrested. The employee was immediately fired. Our office has and will continue to fully cooperate with the ongoing federal criminal investigation. Senator Cantwell has zero tolerance for crimes against children."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  December 4, 2007; 11:09 AM ET
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Posted by: Steve | December 4, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if this guy was a page before becoming a staffer?

Posted by: Robin | December 4, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

How many times are they going to allow this to occur under Congress operations? It's ridiculous and frustrating to think the individuals who are suppose to be protecting our children are the ones having sex with them. They ought to initiate some type of screening process for Senators or establish harsher consequences, obviously they aren't learning from the former acquitted.

Posted by: Emerald | December 4, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Kid, that's what you get for screwing up on a slow news day.

Posted by: CTurner | December 4, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

BIG YAWN. A staffer? Umm, maybe you should do a DETALED report on Foley and the 14 others cought doing this. Or did you forget? We didn't!

If America were to die and an autopsy was to be performed the media would be the cause of death.

Has anyone noticed that the corporate media has taken the people out of the issues? When was the last time you saw an average American expressing their concers on the news? Instead they have REDUCED us to POLLS! Spread the word and fight back!

Posted by: Mark | December 4, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Post note: Exchange acquitted with convicted. lol

Posted by: Emerald | December 4, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The crime of which this man is accused is a heinous one. People who exploit children are monsters. But I have to wonder how Ms. Cantwell justifies this firing before McHaney faces trial. I would hope that a U.S. senator would find the concept of innocence until proven guilty to be more important than the immediate distancing of him or herself from the accused. Wouldn't unpaid leave until the status of the accused can be determined be more appropriate? It's a sad time when officials no longer even make an attempt to appear principled. It sounds as though this man is guilty of the crime, and if he is, he should be harshly punished. But not until he has been found guilty in a court of law.

Posted by: Really? | December 4, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Child molestation is so rampant in this country that these incidents shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. The current estimates are 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls. It's little wonder adults are so screwed up.

Why do I suspect that Republicans will attempt to elevate this incident in the media to offset their laundry list of perverts? It's election season, after all.

Posted by: Tim B | December 4, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

This is out of control, enough is enough.
take this pervert out and hang him on the whitehouse lawn. make sure that every congressperson, senator, staffer etc. watches. you say drastic??? drastic crimes require drastic measures. washington is out of control, they fight, preem, party and are infused with criminals,idiots, perverts and socialist, all the while ROME BURNS.
wake up AMERCIA!!!! now get back to work, they need your taxes to give away.

Posted by: richard b | December 4, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

What I appreciated most about this story was the way that the names of some PEOPLE COMPLETELY INNOCENT OF THE CRIME were put into BOLD LETTERS so that a casual reader would see the headline "CHILD SEX STING", drop down a few lines, and see the name of A SENATOR WHO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, followed by the names of OTHER SENATORS WHO ALSO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. That way, I don't have to actually read the article -- which means that I can walk away with a completely erroneous impression of the senators.

Great job, Washington Post!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward | December 4, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Stand back kids and get ready while the good folks and Roger Ailes at Fox make this their story du jour for the next couple of days. In addition, they'll delve into how lax hiring standards and background checks are on the Hill all the while interviewing clean-cut Republican chiefs of staff who will assure everyone that this couldn't possible happen on their staffs. In moments Fox wil assure you that these same lax standards are connected to the importation of defective/toxic Chinese toys and they make another connection to Hillary Clinton's nuanced stand on the war and how all of this came about as a result of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policies of the Clinton administration which will produce troops who want to bugger little boys and not fight the war. This is all designed to make you forget that despite the troop surge this is still the deadliest year in Iraq. I wonder if they'll ask former RNC head Ken Mehlman what he thinks about gay staffers?

And that's the way it wasn't.

Beltway Greg

Posted by: Beltway Greg | December 4, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

This is fox news, we just found out that Bill Orielly is also accused of participating or contributing to the group that has been caught up on the sex sting.

Posted by: Fox News | December 4, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

These type of things happens in Schools, Churches, Even Congress and Senate. If only way to eradicate this is to monitor your own family member's activities. If you are loner, then you must be registered into a main database in a watch list somewhere, then a GPS unit must track you even if you are not a sex offender. If in case you comit a crime, then we know where you were at that time. I think every american and non american in the united states should be located with a GPS or a Tracking device, were we can locate you at any given time. this would really cut down on the amount issues, that's happening with sex offenders and any other crime

We will not be able to solve the crime where, a father might be molesting the son or daughter, atleast we can stop the 3rd degree offence.

Oh Bill might have wanted to have sex with Boys cause like to analyze the behaviorial pattern's of Boy's reaction. So he can then use it in his talking Points Memo.

Posted by: I guess this normal | December 4, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

To Really?: Members of Congress will fire any staffer who gets arrested, regardless of the charge. It's partly about image, and if you're misbehaving enough to get nabbed by the police, then Congress wants nothing to do with you. There are about 30 people out there waiting to take that job - why keep someone sketchy in it?

By the way, I have no idea how this would apply to someone who got arrested for protesting. But then, most protesters are either professionals or college students subsidized by their parents, so...

Posted by: Maritza | December 4, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

this shoes us what kind of people that we put in ofice. we should learn buy are misstakes,ps.i am shure that their are more people up their doing the samething.

Posted by: dee cochran | December 4, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

The sad part is that Ms. Akers minimizes it by equating this alleged attempt to perform sodomy on a minor with the alleged attempt of a senator to hook up with another adult in a restroom.

Posted by: Ted Mahoney | December 4, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Tim B: Where do you get those numbers from? I read that 95% of child molestation was acted by heterosexual male on female children. Your statistics would imply either female adults on male children or male adults on male children?

Posted by: Tom Boston | December 4, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Why does our Congress act like the Roman Senate of old? Male on male. Male on boy. this is jsut getting wierd.

Posted by: A fundi Christian | December 4, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

One in three women have been molested - usually by someone well known to them - not some stranger.
This is the documented number. Most psychologists / psychiatrists will tell you it is more. It has been unacceptable because of slow to change male role model constraints to report being molested if you are male, so we know less about how many boys have been molested. We as a culture are guilty of denial. The sooner we deal with this, the better off we will be as a culture. News reports implying blame of innocent persons certainly don't help the situation.

Posted by: the_piano_man | December 4, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Why should this be a surprise? Legislators act like latent pedophiles, treating the citizenry like children and then looking for any reason to put their hands all over them, even inside them (cavity search, anyone?) because they might be doing something harmful (smoking a joint, perhaps) to themselves. That's why nonviolent drug users are thrown in jail while child-rapists prowl our streets, often serving NO TIME AT ALL. And the politicians who preach the most about "morality" (or should I say, MORONality) are often the worst offenders. The defecate on the U.S. Constitution and then cover their mess up with our flag.

Time to tear down this administration, people. Washington D.C. needs an enema in the worst way.

Posted by: Christopher Largen, Denton, TX | December 4, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

i wish these children would quit hitting on these men

Posted by: reality mex | December 4, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Where is Monica Lewinsky?

Posted by: Vincent Foster | December 4, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Dee Cochran - nice spelling. Did you go to the same school W did?

Posted by: Joe Smith | December 4, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

This is no big deal. I wonder why people are surprised. When the media and half of the country see nothing wrong with all kinds of sexual perversion (including homosexuality) why does it surprise us that some of our senators or their staff will take it one notch lower. Listen to this: Anyone that sticks his organ into a feces filled rectum does not have the decency to respect any law as mundane as age of consent.

oops I just made a politically incorrect statement.

Posted by: truthmonger | December 4, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Ummm...Hillary Clinton is a bad candidate for President.

Posted by: poopsmith | December 4, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Wait... Someone tells the FBI that he/she exchanged child porn with this guy? Just a claim? No proof?

The guy says "long lunch" and "I'll be there" and asks for a photo of the child.

What is the incriminating factor aside from what people 'imagine' that he meant?

There must be more to the story.

Posted by: Confused | December 4, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that when a Republican get's called out on a crime, it's a big deal (as it should be) but when a Democrat gets called out on a crime it's "an opportunity for Republicans to get riled up for something"?

Hillary Clinton "20never"

Posted by: Homestar | December 4, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

The only answer is the one we were given in the very beginning - Trust God. Every sin will be held accountable by Him - Yes, Every Single One. Stop sinning and turn to Him and none of this will ever happen. It is just that simple.

Posted by: Christian | December 4, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Homestar take heart, at least the media bothered to report this one. If this was a Republican staffer the news would now be filled with questions about the senators "judgment"

Posted by: truthmonger | December 4, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed the last paragraph on the "STATEMENT OF FACTS" that can't be right... can they throw out the case if that's wrong?

Posted by: Ms. Gritch | December 4, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

2008 Presidential Election Weekly Poll

The Only Poll That Matters.
Results Posted Every Tuesday Evening.

Posted by: votenic | December 4, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

13 year-old boys are HOT!!!

Posted by: Jebus | December 4, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

are all elected officials corrupt degenerites? that's why they love to get in public office,little work, lot's of children/ voters to exploit. get them all out.

Posted by: america the beautiful | December 4, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

it is very intolerant for cantwell to fire him she must think that because she comes from a BLUE state that her positions on gay rights don't matter

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Tom Boston: my wife works with abused kids at the county children's advocacy center, and those numbers came from her. Sorry I can't provide any better source. You misinterpreted my post though; those numbers don't say anything about the gender of the offenders, only about the gender of the victims.

truthmonger: "oops I just made a politically incorrect statement."

No, you made an idiotic statement. Child molestation is one step below homosexuality? Please. I can't wait until your kind die off, or at least get relegated to crying about the downfall of society in obscure internet chat rooms where no one sees or cares about you.

Homestar: No one is denying that it's also a big deal in this case. It's just that molestation has been a distinctly GOP phenomenon as of late, and the response is fairly predictable.

Posted by: Tim B | December 4, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Aaaaaahhh! Went to college with him!!

Posted by: Heather | December 4, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I would like to point out this man WAS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR PROTECTING CHILDREN, or at least not more so that everyone else is.

Since he doesn't work with any children, I also wonder why he is being let go before he goes to trial. One possible reason that in political jobs if you embarrass your boss, you can get the axe. It doesn't matter if the opposition (I doubt this is the case) set you up, or not, you failed to protect your boss.

Posted by: Muddy | December 4, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Truthmonger - Nicely said! Frankly, I think everybody is to caught up with wether we get a needs Reproofagain (Republican)or a Dummycrap (Democrat). Shouldn't we be worried about what the new President is going to offer our country as far as saneness? America is definatley going down, and it seems to be starting at the top. Now, if the senators and their staff are doing this stuff, then why would a sex offender ever think twice about doing it? Like, hello? I thought leaders were supposed to set examples, but our church pastors preach on Sunday, and commit adultery monday-saturday, the President has affairs whenever he's in the mood, the senators are all either bi-sexual, like little boy, and or like to commit adultery.... wow, and were shocked about all the rapes, murders, sex offenders...

gee, I can't understand why it happens??????????????????????? I'm another confused American .................

Posted by: confused american (sarcasm) | December 4, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

These people are freaks and this is nothing new. It's now getting more attention and I hate to say it but the media can BLOW things way out of proportion so WE have to look into the DETAILS that the so-called media missed or didn't bother to report. The CORPORATE media has sensationalized this story and as one post said put INNOCENT names in bold letters. These so-called reporters are so pathetic. They lie, report in a very unprofessional way. They don't investigate, they simply GOOGLE.

Isn't it amazing that the left wing blogs were reporting on this IRAN thing over a year ago but NOW the media picks it up as a BREAKING story? The media in America is the worst in the world. Think about it, what America stands for and what the media does or doesn't do is how I come to my conclusion.

One thing I will say about this forum that I think is very good is that they allow people to comment without having to jump through hoops..I applaud that.

I URGE everyone bith left and right to do research and never take the media at their word. They are a huge propaganda tool.

Posted by: Mark | December 4, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Ron Paul isn't gay and likes kids to grow up clean and educated about their founding fathers (and mothers I presume.) Hitlers 3rd Reich had some problems, too. It all has to do with no one at the helm...or no one who is doing his real job at the helm.

Note that these are the people who insist we wear seat belts and have safe sex while they can't control their own impulses. It's time to question authority again or loose everything we have.

Posted by: Paul Furlong | December 4, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Cooperating witness means they busted this other guy and made a deal, turn in some other pervs and you walk. I guess we have to take it on faith that the other guy never will graduate from porn to actual buggery of pubescents.

I have to say I don't like these fake crime setup thingies. Didn't this kind of thing used to be entrapment and illegal? I remember well that the narcs had to buy at one point, they couldn't sell, it would be entrapment. Then that changed.


Posted by: Hold On Now | December 5, 2007 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Well, all of you are wondering why these sex-abuse scandals seem to appear more and more frequently, aren't you? Answer to that question is easy: Turn your eye over to Europe... we don't restrict any of our behaviors as harsh as you do. When we would like to have consensual sex with a woman or a man then the only thing of preventing us from having it is said man or woman. Neither archaic church rules nor an overcome morality straight from the middle of the 17th century could do that. In that way to us there seems to be no reason to hit on our children. Of course we have child abusers, seems as if this was at least partly genetic but the circumstances that make these men go from thinking about having sex with children to actually doing it are less present here... So stop babbling about your faith or the oh so praised values of your society and start to behave like free people.

Posted by: DeeJay | December 5, 2007 1:07 AM | Report abuse

2 points:
1. "Really" above is correct -- what about "innocent until proven guilty"? The guy has not been convicted of anything. He should be on leave without pay.

2. Does anyone else sense "entrapment" here? the informer has been exchanging pictures etc with him for some time. what's with that?

Posted by: suzyf | December 5, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

i went to college with mike. while his co-workers might be "totally shocked", most of the people i've talked to are not surprised in the least.

Posted by: so sad... | December 5, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

This type of crime is so common, and it cuts across all levels of our society. It's the rich, the poor, the black, the white, the educated and the uneducated. How would you feel if this person was your husband, brother, life-long friend? Would you be as quick to ask for a public hanging? You can debate the issue of whether these people deserve the terrible price they will pay for the rest of thier lives for such a stupid thing, but the real tragity is toll paid by the family and close friends of this guy. They did nothing wrong but repesent collateral damage that no one wants to talk about. We need to rethink these primative sex offence laws before everyone is turned into an unintended victim. I feel deeply for anyone who is abused sexually, but they are not the only victims. Maybe our goal should be "no more victims" instead of unlimited punishment for those who offend.

Posted by: Willy | December 5, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

To who ever cares about the Senators names being in the article. You appear to be in denial. They're all guilty of something! Furthermore, it is not the responsiblity of the author or the newspaper to instruct people on how to comprehend the article.

Just my 2 cents...

Posted by: Patched Eye | December 5, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

At least the Democrats have the decency to fire the guy, guilty or not "of being gay". (tongue in cheek - as if being gay in itself is a crime).

I do think that there is a dilemma of law enforcement using entrapment to "convict" these sick people. They need help. Anyone can download porn to anyone else's computer and doctor instant messages or email correspondence (after the fact) to incriminate anyone - ANYONE..

So don't be surprised if the men in black were to show up at your doorstep one day, arresting you for something you know nothing about. Quelling dissent - works the same anywhere in the world.

Posted by: Josh | December 5, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know why we don't hear about it all over the news? Oh! my bad, it wasn't a Republican.

Posted by: Marvice | December 5, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Marvice: yes, the dastardly Liberal Media strikes again! It certainly has nothing to do with this guy being a small fish, or with the fact that the GOP is the Anti-Gay party. No sir, this here is evidence of a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy!

Posted by: Tim B | December 6, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: PRESTON W. ATHEY | December 19, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

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