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Troubled GOP Rep. Fossella On His Way Out?

The consensus on Capitol Hill is: Vito is finito.

The clock is ticking on Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) -- or "Vino" Fossella, as the New York tabloids have taken to calling him -- who is battling not just drunken driving charges but much more personally scandalous allegations that could damage his party's prospects in the November congressional elections.

GOP political insiders say Fossella, whose blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit when he was busted at 12:15 a.m. last Thursday, stands little chance of running for reelection at this point, and their Democratic counterparts agree. Buzz on the Hill and around town Wednesday was that Fossella would be announcing sooner rather than later that he won't seek another term in what has quickly become a hotly contested seat for embattled Republicans. Fossella was not voting in the House Wednesday.

The Staten Island Republican was stopped for running a red light and charged with driving while intoxicated in Alexandria, Va., about three miles from the home of a woman who reportedly fetched him from the police station seven hours after his arrest.

Fossella, who has three children with his wife, Mary Pat, changed his story a few times about why he left a Dupont Circle area bar, the Logan Tavern, and drove across the river to the Virginia suburbs.

According to May 1 police report, a copy of which was obtained by the Sleuth, Fossella told police he was on his way to pick up his sick daughter at her home in Alexandria and take her to the hospital. But the next day at a news conference, Fossella said he was driving to the suburbs in the wee hours of the morning to see friends.

Fossella was specific with the arresting officer about where he was headed. He gave a street name where he said he was picking up his daughter. That street, it turns out, is the same street where retired Lt. Col. Laura Fay lives with her three-year-old daughter. Fay, according to the New York Daily News, picked up Fossella from the police station.

When asked by the Daily News earlier this week whether Fossella fathered Fay's daughter, Fossella's crisis communications consultant, Susan Del Percio, declined to answer. "This is a demeaning and highly inappropriate question," she said.

Fossella's attorney, Barry J. Pollack, with the firm Kelley, Drye & Warren, wouldn't comment on where the congressman was headed when he was arrested. He told the Sleuth, "Where he was heading or who he was going to see really aren't at the heart of the legal case."

As for the underlying charge of drunken driving, Pollack said, "This is not the crime of the century, this is a DUI case."

Del Percio, who didn't immediately return a phone call and email from the Sleuth seeking comment, also told the Daily News that Fossella and Fay met when she worked as a legislative liaison for the Air Force.

GOP aides speaking on the condition of anonymity said they expected Fossella would announce imminently that he won't seek reelection. But Fossella spokesman Craig Donner tells the Sleuth that no announcement or press conference is planned.

The New York Times reported that Fossella could be in political hot water. The Times quoted Daniel Kramer, an emeritus professor of political science at the College of Staten Island, as saying, "If it's just a matter of his being arrested for drunken driving, it won't have wide-ranging implications for him, politically. But if it turns out there are more disclosures regarding his behavior and his personal life, it would well affect him."

Fay's ex-husband, Guy Michael Shoaf, filed for divorce in 2005. According to their divorce records in the Circuit Court of Arlington County, "there were no children born or adopted of the marriage" between them.

Fossella faced up to five days in jail if convicted. According to the police report, the congressman was so drunk he couldn't accurately recite the alphabet from the letter "D" through "T." According to police, he said, "D, E, F, H, G, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T." He "stumbled" on the one-legged stand test and was "swaying" when he performed the heel-to-toe test, according to the report.

Fossella's breath test was a .17, which is more than twice Virginia's 0.08 legal limit.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  May 7, 2008; 4:43 PM ET
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Next: Rep. Fossella Admits to Having Love Child


Yet another family values, moral values Repukelican found with his pants down. They just seem to keep coming out into the light like roaches.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 7, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

He probably couldn't recite the alphabet, sober.

Posted by: Larry | May 7, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

He should for Pat Kennedy's seat. It's Congress's Official Drunk Driver's seat.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 7, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Vino, who knew you had it in you? Well, obviously Ms. Fay. What is it with Republicans? I hope he never uttered the words "family values" or condemned convicts in any public forum. Otherwise, he joins the long list from that party who fit the GOP's most common characterizations: Liar and hypocrite!

Posted by: Palazzola | May 8, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Please! To credit the Republicans as the party of Liars and Hypocrites isn't fair when so many politicians hold those same values. It is sad that immoral values are the one issue where so many politicians have common ground for a cross-over consent agenda. The American public deserve better. But what do we expect? One past president and husband of a presidential candidate was unfaithful and had hugh moral problems when he was in the White House. And the other party's Presidential candidate was immoral and unfaithful to his first wife before leaving her and marrying his current wife. With these kind of moral leaders on both sides of the aisle how can we possibly allow one party to carry the banner of immoral conduct.

Posted by: Mvers | May 8, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I love this.

I have long wondered why a Republican was holding this seat, and now, with it being open in a Democrat year...well, that's just fantastic.

The GOP is in for some trouble, aren't they?

Nothing like a good trouncing, I say.

Posted by: Steve | May 8, 2008 1:33 AM | Report abuse

For all the GOP bashers out there, please check out Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann--both Democrats. Both parties have idiots like these.

Posted by: Nav | May 8, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Nav, I think the "GOP bashing" commenters above were making a point about hypocrisy, not saying that Republicans have a monopoly on scandal. The point is that so many of these Republican scandals involve "family value" candidates who were having affairs, gay-bashing Congressmen who turn out to be gay themselves, Congressmen who work on laws against child pornography but turn out to be consuming it and pursuing underage pages and so on. Not that the GOP have a monopoly on moral hypocrisy either, but I do think that ledger is particularly skewed.

Posted by: Crust | May 8, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. Neither party has a monopoly on scandals, particularly sex scandals. One party though claims a monopoly on "family values".
Hence, a near-monopoly on hypocrisy. A sin, by the way, denounced far more often in the Bible than any of those "family values issues" the GOP wins elections on.

Posted by: Don | May 8, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Bye Vito. Bye GOP. Good riddance!

Posted by: Chuck | May 8, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Another Republican moral hypocrite (I realize that phrase is redundant as no one can live up to the standards they use to whip up votes) is not what sticks out for me with this story. What I think of is that Laura Fay missed her chance to get $1M from Larry Flynt for exposing Rep. Fosella - did she not think the story wouldn't come out someday, anyway?

Posted by: billp | May 8, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I hope the man gets some help. And the Dems get his seat.

Posted by: Publius | May 8, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

He should become a Democrat and run for Senate!

Posted by: Go Vito | May 8, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

The republicans have finally seen the light and started acting like democrats. That way ,they will get away with anything and win the house back, so we can get something done in washington, rather than start work at 2:00pm on tuesday and adjourn at 4:00 pm on thursday, and get paid 165.000 dollars a year for doing nothing but have hearings on baseball and some other silly thing that needle nose from california can think up.

Posted by: elmerck | May 8, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Mark Twain was right, "There is only one way to look at a politician and that is down".

Posted by: Buckaroo | May 8, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, if the automobile manufacturers would simply invent a car that ran on whiskey with a high MPG rating, there would be no such thing as drinking and driving. It would eventuate to a choice of one or the other.

Posted by: Buckaroo | May 8, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Vino must be a Democrat who ran as a Republican. Republican hypocrites are gay.

Posted by: RealAmerican | May 8, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Yo Vino, you're killin me here. So your a drunken adulterer. You fathered a kid, had a little too much booze.... bada bada bing. Seriously, the best thing for him to do is resign immediately so another Repub can get a head start on name recognition

Posted by: Yaquitheone | May 9, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Since a lot of politicians are all basically unethical and immoral(they are human after all, except clinton who thinks he's a god), its better to have a republican than a tax raising democrat trying to buy votes with socialistic policies.

Posted by: LTCSTAN | May 9, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

How can one say Dem's are the tax and spend party and drive us toward socialism when this administration has spent more and indeted the present and future generations and have infringed our freedoms more than all previous administrations.Humbug,LTCSTAN clean your own house before criticizing.

Posted by: Sam | May 9, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Sam, I think you indented your own head you dumb bag of feces.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Sam. Not only is bush's war widely ineffective and has made a lot of problems in the area worse, it is also really damn expensive!!

I mean, stupid and expensive! What's to support?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 17, 2008 1:38 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: MbbWaBKDh | May 17, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

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