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A Florida (House) Bombshell



Two years after he won the seat held by former Rep. Mark Foley, Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) may be on the other end of a scandal-sparked seat loss. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

The report from ABC News that Florida Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney paid a former mistress more than $100,000 to settle a lawsuit she was planning to bring against him badly imperils a seat that was already high on Republicans' target list.

Mahoney, for his part, released a statement today requesting that the House Ethics Committee look into the matter -- the alleged mistress was on his staff -- but insisting he would ultimately be cleared of wrongdoing. "I am confident that when the facts are presented that I will be vindicated," said Mahoney.

Members of the Democratic Party were less willing to give Mahoney the benefit of the doubt.

"I just learned today about the serious allegations concerning Congressman Tim Mahoney," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "These charges must be immediately and thoroughly investigated by the House Ethics Committee."

Jennifer Crider, communications director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was similarly circumspect. "After a rumor recently surfaced on a blog about Mr. Mahoney's affair, the Chairman [Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen] spoke briefly once with Mr. Mahoney about his responsibility as an elected official to act appropriately and urged him to come clean with his constituents if there was any truth to the rumor," Crider said.

Mahoney's media consulting firm -- Fletcher Rowley Chao Riddle Inc. -- with whom Mahoney allegedly promised his mistress a job immediately cut ties with the congressman and insisted they had no knowledge of any such deal.

"According to ABC News, Tim Mahoney apparently included our company in a secret legal agreement without the knowledge of our firm," said Bill Fletcher. "Our firm did not agree to any legal settlement."

What does all of this mean for Mahoney's chances at reelection? Nothing good.

In a Dickensian twist, Mahoney represents the 16th district solely because of another scandal -- this one involving then Rep. Mark Foley (R) and inappropriate instant messages to House pages. That news, which was also broken by ABC, force Foley from office and was blamed by many GOP strategists as a catalyst for their heavy losses at the ballot box in November 2006. (Foley was recently cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in the matter.)

Because of the national scandal caused by Foley's conduct, the district went against its basic Republican tendencies -- President George W. Bush carried it with 53 percent in 2000 and 54 percent in 2004.

National Republicans immediately targeted the seat at the start of this election cycle and played host to a very competitive three-way primary won by attorney Tom Rooney a.k.a. the luckiest congressional candidate in the country (as of today).

Unless Mahoney is innocent -- as he claims to be -- it's hard to imagine him holding onto a seat where voters are already sensitive when it comes to sexual scandals.

The larger question is whether the coverage of Mahoney's problems will have any impact outside of his district. Democrats are targeting a series of districts in the Sunshine State; could this slow their perceived momentum?

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 13, 2008; 7:46 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Comments

37th and O, you really should take some time off and get some FACTS before you spout your drivel. I guess you have a lonely life. Sorry about that.

Posted by: taid | October 15, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

One could look at at Louisiana's David Vitter and former La. Rep. Bob Livingston. The 16th isn't unique.

Posted by: LafayetteGrapevine | October 14, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

At least it was a women...

Posted by: grandstreetfund | October 14, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

1. Of course mistresses get paid, they're mistresses.

2. At least she was of age.

3. This is just feeding the Democratic-Republican sexual stereotype. Democrats have illicit heterosexual sex with adults and Republicans have illicit homosexual sex with all ages and illicit heterosexual sex with minors. Can somebody break out of this?

Posted by: caribis | October 14, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

With every comment he posts in here, 37thandOStreet advances his growing reputation as a closet racist. Only the closet has disappeared.

Here's another of his closing tidbits: "Not bad for a guy who is probably in reality half white and half MUSLIM ARAB."


Keep it up, 37th and O. Your Freudian slip is showing.


Republicans for Obama!

Posted by: Iconoblaster | October 14, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

obama is unqualified for
the position of president.
If he was white he would
be laughed off the stage.
This is oddly bizarre that
this liberal 'free at last'
codependent american state
is what you fools will leave
to your children.
HUGE SPENDING....
a government financed home
for everyone, on the backs
of america's working middle
class, we seem able to pay
for bailouts and social 'programs'
but we cant come up with the money
to send our kids to Harvard.
where do we sign up for the
obama train of freebies???

LostInWhiteAmerica

Nobama

Posted by: USA3 | October 14, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with these idiots? Democrats, Republicans alike. Who cares about your office and constituents-but the fact that you humiliate your wife. children, and family-....all because you can't keep your **** in your pants-specially in a country so obsessed with sex, they don't want to teach about it in public schools? Morons.

Posted by: earthling | October 14, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Well it looks like Pelosi has some more "House Cleaning" to do. Remember how she was going to drain the swamp. It looks to me like their choice to back this horse in 2006 wasn't such a great idea now was it. I guess they checked his background about as well as they have checked Obama's. Well it looks like you are going to lose one Pelosi.

Posted by: flcraker | October 14, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"I know it's hard for average Americans to keep track of the endless stream of Republican perverts, criminals, and scandals."

At least republicans don't make heros out of their bad ones, such as:
Barney Frank -- prostitution ring in basement
Robert Byrd --- KKK
Ted Kennedy --- murderer (Mary Jo Kopechne)

Posted by: MyView49 | October 14, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

with Obama my prediction is one more sex scandal in White house, try an old man atleast :-)

Posted by: mrn744 | October 14, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Sex and on going culture is going to bring us to Knees one day

Posted by: mrn744 | October 14, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Any impact outside of the 16th district? Probably not. I suspect the House leadership will cut their losses and write off the seat. The last thing the Democrats would want to do is look hypocritical when it comes to a sex scandal, especially compared to the Republicans. If they repudiate Mahoney then they can possibly take the high road and say, "See, we don't try to cover it up when one of ours messes up like this."

Posted by: lcaviness9 | October 14, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

This is poetic justice, after the cruel hatchet job the "kind and sensitive" Democrats pulled on Tom Foley. Foley sent a couple of sad e-mails. This guy is manifestly rotten. I am sick of sanctimonious power-abusers who use their positions for self-gratification and destroy their families. Look at his wife and daughter in that photo. What a horrible man.

Posted by: FordeFiles | October 14, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

37andO alley. What does your post have to do with the topic? By the way, O up 12; 360+ EVs. Have a blessed day...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 14, 2008 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Cold Cash Jefferson and now Hot Pants Mahoney!

Cong. Emmanuel knew about this and apparently was trying to help Mahoney weather the storm and get re-elected.

Speaker Pelosi has only just found out about this? Come on!

Will this have a broader effect in Florida and the nation?

Well if the main stream media covers it like professionals, it will.

But of course comedians on Saturday Night Live are more likely to run with this than the comedians at AP and NY Times.

Posted by: Xanadu3 | October 14, 2008 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Mark Twain once said, "There is a criminal class in the United States, it's called 'Congress'." We should not trust them in matters of war and peace (Iraq); we should not trust them with our money (Wall Street Bailout); and we should not allow them to preach "family values" to us. What a bunch of ethically challenged losers.

Posted by: lorax2 | October 14, 2008 6:53 AM | Report abuse

There should be zero tolerance for any abuse of office or power regardless of their party affiliation. Whether this will have any impact on Democrat chances is unclear (although doubtful) given the public's low expectations of elected officials....

Posted by: RickJ | October 14, 2008 4:07 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: dennismoore23 | October 14, 2008 3:31 AM | Report abuse

If he's guilty (and he may not be), at least it's with a WOMAN...of LEGAL AGE.

It's rarely that way with Republicans.

I know it's hard for average Americans to keep track of the endless stream of Republican perverts, criminals, and scandals.

So as a public service, republicanoffenders (website) provides a long, long, long list of Republican criminals from the past ten years...nicely organized by category: Drugs/Prostitution, Corruption/Bribery, Rape, Lewd Conduct, Assorted Felonies, Fraud/Embezzlement etc etc etc...and a ridiculously huge section on Pedophiles, as would be expected.

Looks like only about 400 or so Republicans listed...so it's obviously a work in progress.

Posted by: wilder5121 | October 14, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse

people pleezz whats up with all the noise Just chill out get on board sit down strap in& shut up,because unless you've been living in a cave i dont think theres anyone out there who can say with a straight face that they didnt know that politics was a contact sports and as such backfields might be in motion as well as a little traveling but that being said i know there are some out there who might take umbrage and say" brk dck how dare you tell us to just chill out get on board sit down strap in and shut up? leave it to a dyed in the wool{democant see the forest for the bent knees}bleeding heart liberal to ridicule a real american hero like john mccain by calling him mccasanova mccoconut but think that we should just chill out get on board sit down strap in&shut up about the ethical short falls of mahoney paid momoney to get a little mohoney"that kind of a response coming from someone who obviously has the # to the bunny ranch on speed dial is hardly fair or balanced yet you take it upon yourself to tell us that we should just chill out get on board sit down strap in&shut up and overlook the fact that mahorney was acting like some young pup on the block blood running hot looking for some soft moist hole to bury his bone WELL IT DIDNT work with the gov of new york and it wont work now the people demand accountability" TO WHICH i say MY FRIENDS this is not about making payoffs ethics violations,abusing or misusing the publics trust,no my friends its about recall or the lack thereof and not the recall or lack thereof of how mahoney came to power for he was elected because the gay guy before him had the hots for young boys,and the foul taste that left in florida voters mouths mahoney on the other hand went about changing all of that with a more heterosexual tint but that nor the fact that i do have the # to the bunny ranch on speed dial is not why i say to you just chill out get on board sit down strap in and shut up nor is it the fact that politics is a contact sport MY FRIENDS MAHONEY problems are all about recall or the lack thereof if only mahoney had recalled the storyline in the movie WITH micheal douglas,the illict affair,rabbit stewing in a pot,he would have realized that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,but ethics,violation lack of moral fiber or abuse/misuse of public trust people pleez because the media wall street investors bankers car salesmen lobbyist the courts{see hunting trip/chief justice} loan sharks lawyers law enforcement and politicians knows that ethics requires honour and there is no honour amongst thieves so just chill out get on board sit down strap in&shut up with all your fake out rage

Posted by: brkdckdwg | October 14, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

people pleezz whats up with all the noise Just chill out get on board sit down strap in& shut up,because unless you've been living in a cave i dont think theres anyone out there who can say with a straight face that they didnt know that politics was a contact sports and as such backfields might be in motion as well as a little traveling but that being said i know there are some out there who might take umbrage and say" brk dck how dare you tell us to just chill get on board sit down strap in and shut up? leave it to a dyed in the wool{democant see the forest for the bent knees}bleeding heart liberal to ridicule a real american hero like john mccain by calling him mccasanova mccoconut but think that we should just chill get on board sit down strap in&shut up about the ethical short falls of mahoney paid momoney to get a little mohoney"that kind of a response coming from someone who obviously has the # to the bunny ranch on speed dial is hardly fair or balanced yet you take it upon yourself to tell us that we should just chill get on board sit down strap in&shut up and overlook the fact that mahorney was acting like some young pup on the block blood running hot looking for some soft moist hole to bury his bone WELL IT DIDNT work with the gov of new york and it wont work now the people demand accountability" TO WHICH i say MY FRIENDS this is not about making payoffs ethics violations,abusing or misusing the publics trust,no my friends its about recall or the lack thereof and not the recall or lack thereof of how mahoney came to power for he was elected because the gay guy before him had the hots for young boys,and the foul taste that left in florida voters mouths mahoney on the other hand went about changing all of that with a more heterosexual tint but that nor the fact that i do have the # to the bunny ranch on speed dial is not why i say to you just chill get on board sit down strap in and shut up nor is it the fact that politics is a contact sport MY FRIENDS MAHONEY problems are all about recall or the lack thereof if only mahoney had recalled the storyline in the movie WITH micheal douglas,the illict affair,rabbit stewing in a pot,he would have realized that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

Posted by: brkdckdwg | October 13, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

And I always thought Tim Mahoney was just an overrated bar band (though he does, reputedly, get the chicks)

http://www.timmahoney.com/

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 13, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse


McCAIN-PALIN'S 'FELLOW TRAVELER' INSINUATIONS:
WHAT IF U.S. SECURITY FORCES AGREE?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/mccain-palins-fellow-traveler-insinuations-what-if-u-s-security-forces-agree

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 13, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

See in my blog what Obama supporters are calling Sarah Palin!

http://www.mccain08-hillary2012.blogspot.com/

Posted by: dcpsychic | October 13, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only bemused, disheartened, even downright annoyed, by the fact that one reader continues to use nearly every one of Chris' thoughtful posts about elections other than the Presidential contest to engage in scurrilous attacks on the integrity of one of the Presidential candidates?

Ms./Mr. 37th and O:

I fail to understand how Chris' story here concerning the behavior of the Florida 16th Congressional District Representative has anything to do with the Presidential campaign. Yet you have chosen to attack the Democratic Presidential nominee. If you want to continue to attack the Presidential nominee in your sinister, venemous manner, please attach such attacks to Chris' posts regarding the Presidential race.

While I don't expect you to be so courteous of your fellow posters as you continually demonstrate a lack of common decency, I think it is the minimum we who are readers and posters on this blog should expect of each other. Thanks for your time.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 13, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

That's a two-fer. Dirty money and infidelity in one.

So what kind of lawsuit was she filing? Adultry is legal after all.

Posted by: DonJasper | October 13, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

He is just another one of Obama's croanies.

Posted by: Texan2007 | October 13, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

""I am confident that when the facts are presented that I will be vindicated," said Mahoney."


Famous last words if we've ever heard them.

Posted by: fake1 | October 13, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

The House Ethics Committee is completely irrelevant here. Its now the voters of the district who will pass judgement. Unless he can quickly demonstrate his innocence, he's toast - and deservedly so. Condolences to the citizens of the 16th district. I hope this guy Rooney has some substance.

Posted by: wmw4 | October 13, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Do you think the media will make as big a deal about this latest sex scandal as they did about Mr. Foley! I think not. Not only is the media in the tank for Mr. Obama but they are also supportive of any Democrat regardless of the situation. I live in Florida and am disgusted with these holier than thou polticians who all have feet of clay. Let us return to the days when elected officials served ONE term and then returned to their normal lives. This is what our Founders envisioned.

Posted by: pmgsag | October 13, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Folks,

This is a post about Tim Mahoney -- not Barack Obama or John McCain.

Let's try to stay on topic.

Thanks in advance,
Chris

Posted by: Chris_Cillizza | October 13, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse
------------


Are you telling me you actually read this stuff?

Posted by: popasmoke | October 13, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

ANOTHER P.E.C.K.E.R. PRONE PLITICIAN WHO DESERVES TO BE THROWN OUT OF OFFICE.....WHAT IN THE H.E.L.L. IS WRONG WITH THESE NINCOMPOOPS!!!----DON'T FORGET TO THROW OUT THE NAUGHTY SENATORS FROM IDAHO AND LOUISIANA FOR THEIR SIMILAR P.E.C.K.E.R. PICCADILLOES!!

Posted by: benighse | October 13, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Folks,

This is a post about Tim Mahoney -- not Barack Obama or John McCain.

Let's try to stay on topic.

Thanks in advance,
Chris

Posted by: Chris_Cillizza | October 13, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Rep. Mahoney's antics have been grist for a long time -- just not on the mainstream media radar. To copy a reader's comment from a past Palm Beach Post (FL)site:

"The hi-jinks continue:

Another Palm Beach Post article from a week prior recounts an altercation between Mahoney and Army Corps of Engineers bigwig, Paul Grosskruger, at a DC wine bar which was broken up by Florida State Representative, Michael DiTerlizzi. While everyone was mum about the cause of the fight, it appears that it was actually over Kathy Copeland, a representative of the South Florida Water Management District.

Allegedly, both men were seeing Copeland at the same time without the otherýs knowledge, and when Mahoney found out about Grosskruger, he accosted him at the DC establishment.

Finally, there is the case of Kim Roden, Martin Countyýs (FL) engineering department operations manager.

It appears that, currently, Mahoney is residing at her house in a development called the Villas in Palm City, Fl. While this in itself is clearly not ethical behavior, it is entirely legal.

However, Ms. Roden, with Congressman Mahoneyýs considerable assistance, was instrumental in securing substantial monetary relief from FEMA for hurricane battered Martin County. This skirts the boundaries of legality."

Busy boy.

Posted by: enicol | October 13, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Pederast, adulterer, Republican, Democrat. What's next? More of the same.

Change administrations, go from Monica to an Attorney General unsure if waterboarding is torture.

Market chaos, economic mess, energy vulnerability, military misuse, healthcare denied.

We have been and will continue to be as poorly served by one party as the other. Political philosophy HAS BECOME more important than serving our country and we have to make an 'either or choice.'

Yet, only a few hundred votes can completely change the outcome of an election.
What would happen if a few thousand people across the country decided to dump every incumbent for the next three elections?

If you believe that the only political slogan necessary for both parties should be "Country First - For a Change," please join others who have decided to actively work against and cast their votes against every incumbent they can. This time, next time and then, once again, so the House (and Senate) are swept clean.

Can you be NONPARTISAN enough to take our country back?

Please, help dump these people who do not represent our interests and have not done their primary job which is to protect the American people.

HELP DUMP INCUMBENTS UNTIL EACH PARTY GETS IT RIGHT.


Posted by: bgreen2224 | October 13, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Pederast, adulterer, Republican, Democrat. What's next? More of the same.

Change administrations, go from Monica to an Attorney General unsure if waterboarding is torture.

Market chaos, economic mess, energy vulnerability, military misuse, healthcare denied.

We have been and will continue to be as poorly served by one party as the other. Political philosophy HAS BECOME more important than serving our country and we have to make an 'either or choice.'

Yet, only a few hundred votes can completely change the outcome of an election.
What would happen if a few thousand people across the country decided to dump every incumbent for the next three elections?

If you believe that the only political slogan necessary for both parties should be "Country First - For a Change," please join others who have decided to actively work against and cast their votes against every incumbent they can. This time, next time and then, once again, so the House (and Senate) are swept clean.

Can you be NONPARTISAN enough to take our country back?

Please, help dump these people who do not represent our interests and have not done their primary job which is to protect the American people.

HELP DUMP INCUMBENTS UNTIL EACH PARTY GETS IT RIGHT.


Posted by: bgreen2224 | October 13, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

how about barney franks and his fling with the number 2 guy at fanny may the were living together in dc at the same time he was not letting congress regulate fanny he put his interest in front of his job his little fling cost billions in losses

Posted by: getsix1 | October 13, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I doubt many Dems will miss him; he was an uncooperative jerk.

Seriously, though, what's amiss in the 16th? Two straight (okay, one straight; zing!) reps turn out to be cheaters.

Posted by: scurley1 | October 13, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Is there something in the water in the 16th?

Posted by: Repub | October 13, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

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