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Keeping Up With Political Sex Scandals

POSTED: 06:25 PM ET, 10/14/2008 by Derek Kravitz

The brouhaha surrounding Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) and a former female staffer is exacerbated by the fact that he only won his congressional seat in West Palm Beach, Fla., after former Rep. Mark Foley was forced to resign amid a sex scandal of his own.

Mahoney (and Foley) join a growing number of politicians in similar straits. The Post Investigations blog keeps you up-to-date with this helpful list of recent incidents:

Edwards Admits Affair With Videographer

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), a two-time Democratic presidential candidate, told ABC's "Nightline" in August that he had an affair with a filmmaker working for his campaign and repeatedly lied about it. The National Enquirer had followed the story -- and Edwards -- for nearly a year before Edwards's admission.

Edwards has denied being the father of Rielle Hunter's 5-month-old baby, who was born Feb. 27 without a father listed on the birth certificate. An Edwards fundraiser, Andrew Young, has publicly said he is the girl's father. Hunter said she will not pursue DNA testing to establish the paternity of her daughter.

DWI Leads To Revealed Secret For Congressman

After a May drunken-driving arrest in Alexandria, Va., Rep. Vito J. Fossella (R-N.Y.) told police that he was going to pick up his daughter.

Problem was his children live in Staten Island.

The slip-up led Fossella, a married father of three, to admit to a long-standing affair with Laura Fay, a former liaison officer for the Air Force who accompanied congressional delegations to Europe -- trips that Fossella attended. Fay is the mother of their 3-year-old daughter.

Fossella announced later that month that he would not seek re-election in 2009 and the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct formed a subcommittee to investigate him.

Spitzer Resigns After Hook-Up With Prostitute

Former New York Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer, who advocated cracking down on prostitution as the state's attorney general and was considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, resigned in March after federal investigators discovered he had used a high-end escort service to arrange for a call girl named "Kristen" to meet him for a Feb. 13 tryst at Washington's Mayflower Hotel.

Today, Spitzer is still the target of a continuing probe by New York's ethics commission into his administration's handling of travel records and government prosecutors are deciding whether to charge Spitzer in connection with his involvement in the prostitution ring, The New York Times has reported. Spitzer is working at his father's real estate firm, and has discussed undertaking charity, environmental or free legal work.

'D.C. Madam' Case Catches Louisiana Congressman

As the high-profile "D.C. Madam" prostitution case began to unfold in July 2007, a list of phone numbers of the service's proprietor, Deborah Jane Palfrey, was released.

Among the numbers that a reporter from Hustler magazine called was that of Sen. David Vitter (R-La.).

Vitter immediately apologized and then went silent.

Palfrey, 51, went to trial on racketeering charges for running a prostitution ring out of homes and hotel rooms in the Washington area. She was convicted in April. Vitter was on the witness list but did not testify.

Palfrey committed suicide days later.

Bathroom 'Tapping' Leads To Scandal

For Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), his problems started in a Minneapolis airport men's room in June 2007.

An undercover police officer said Craig tapped his foot "as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct." He was arrested and charged with interference with privacy and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.

He pleaded guilty to the disorderly-conduct charge and paid a $500 fine. The incident became public months later.

Immediately, GOP leaders told Craig to resign, but the long-time senator resisted. Pressure for him to resign mounted.

Craig announced in September 2007 he would resign, saying that his arrest had made it impossible for him to serve his constituents. But he reversed course a few days later, saying he wants to stay in the Senate if he can get his guilty plea dropped.

By Derek Kravitz |  October 14, 2008; 6:25 PM ET
Previous: Stevens Might Testify In His Own Defense | Next: Federal Bailout, ACORN Controversy, White House OK'd CIA Tactics


Please email us to report offensive comments.

The story here should include how vocal the Democrate party was in calling for Mark Foley's resignation, and how silent they have been since Tim Mahoney's scandal hit the air waves.

Posted by: John - San Jose, CA | October 14, 2008 7:10 PM

John Edwards due to a request by Barack Obama agreed to not make public appearances until after the election. I wish, instead, John Edwards was free to fearlessly say again that the government, instead of putting money into the bank accounts of the unshamefull, and unrepentant Wall Street robbers and con men, should set up savings accounts for the average person on "main street':

Senator John Edwards, who when he was running for President, proposed the following solutions for this nation's financial crisis on July of 2007 in his Cooper's Union Speech:

"First, I will create a Family Savings and Credit Commission to make sure that financial services treat families safely.

Right now, there's no sheriff in town. Interest rates were effectively deregulated 20 years ago. States cannot effectively regulate banks because most are based in other states. Federal regulators put bank "soundness" , profitability , far ahead of consumer protection.

My Family Savings and Credit Commission will change this. It will deal with all financial services -- credit cards, mortgages, car loans, check-cashers, payday loans, investment accounts, and more. It will ban the most abusive terms and make sure consumers understand the others.

Second, I will also pass strong national laws protecting us against the worst abuses in credit markets predatory mortgages,abusive credit card terms, and payday loans with interest rates of 300 percent or higher.

Finally, I will help create alternatives to abusive lenders. I will help working families build up a cushion by matching their savings and bringing bank accounts to the 56 million without them. And I will support non-profit groups offering affordable, short-term loans. We need a new era of responsible lenders who see families as long-term investments, not quick bucks.

All across the economy, we need to do the same thing take on the special interests and put Washington back on the side of regular families. "

Posted by: Cherubim | October 14, 2008 9:39 PM


NEWSWIRE--A Florida congressman denies any wrongdoing in secret payments made to his former mistress.

From the weather, when I sweat,
It's not the heat; it's the humidity.
For politicians, my regret
Is not deceit; it's the stupidity.
Light verse, ripped from the headlines

Posted by: newsandverse | October 14, 2008 9:47 PM

I wonder if House leaders are now going to do something about the Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) sex scandal. Sanchez seduced her married military escort on official travel, ruined his military career and wrecked his family. Just google "loretta sanchez scandal" to read all about it. It is interesting to note that the media is ignoring the Sanchez scandal, while giving Mahoney national headlines. There has always been a double standard for female politicians. In fact, one cannot think of a single female pol who has ever been tagged for a sex scandal. It is time for fairness and equality. Let's start with Sanchez, whose conduct violates House ethics rules in several ways and clearly required her lover to violate the military code. As senior woman on the armed services committee, she should know better.

Posted by: Red Baron | October 15, 2008 8:08 AM

Adultry is a sexual preference and should not reflect on a politicians job preformance. When we look at two consenting adults means any two consenting adults, with or without a marriage liscence. This is a modern world and we no longer own the rights to each others bodies through marriage. Nor should the quality of someone's marriage be the determination of how good of an employee they are. Fifty percent of all marriages are on the rocks and sixty percent of married men have affairs. We want representation in Congress that represents the average person not a saint.
After reading your story, I think we have it.

Posted by: Kristina45 | October 18, 2008 8:11 AM

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