Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sexual Peccadillos in Washington, D.C.

Power is quite an aphrodisiac. Coupled with a sense of entitlement and arrogance possessed by some Congressmen and Senators, it can lead to great abuses of power. Some succumb to graft. Others to alcohol or drugs.

Congressman Todd Akin’s incredibly offensive and grossly stupid comments on rape give rise to reflection on Washington sex scandals.

I do not mean to imply in any way that all or most members of Congress engage in peccadillos, but the temptation proves irresistible to some. This blog will only list those members of Congress whose misdeeds made it into the public.

I will also not detail the conduct of former Senators running for higher office, in which Gary Hart and John Edwards shine. Nor will we mention state and local officials such as Governor Schwarzenegger of California, Mayor Villaragosa of Los Angeles, and then Mayor of San Francisco, now Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom of California. Governors Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Eliot Spitzer of New York also made headlines and destroyed their political careers.

Special mention should be made though of Minnesota State Representative, Kerry Gauthier, who announced earlier today that he will not seek reelection.  He was caught having sex in a rest stop with a 17 year old boy.

Congressional aides and staffers and administrative agency personnel are also excluded.

We should recognize the memorable  words of Jesse Unruh, Big Daddy Jesse Unruh, who as the great Speaker of the California Assembly from 1961-1969, said of lobbyists: ”If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women, and then vote against them, you have no business being up here.”

The traditional scandals involved sexual harassment, adultery, and lewd and lascivious activity. The lurid details of many an escapade captured the public attention.

                 New technology brings emails and sexting into the mixture.

Congressman Mark Foley (R. Fl.) was run out of office in 2006 when a series of explicit solicitations to underaged male pages were released. Apparently no contacts resulted and he was not charged with any crimes.

Ironically, his Democratic successor, Tim Mahoney, who ran on a platform of clean government, was voted out of office two years later when it was revealed that he had placed his mistress on the House payroll.

Two Congressmen from New York resigned in 2011 because of sexting. Christopher Lee, a married Republican, texted a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he found on Craigslist. He used his real name and House email account, which was stupid.

Congressman Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from the City, sexted his penis to a young woman. He was apparently a recidivist sexter, which is even dumber.

                                              Adultery: Senators

John Ensign (R. Nev) resigned in 2011

Larry Vitter (R. La.) His phone number was found in the “Black Book” of the D.C. Madam. He won reelection in 2010

Senator Bob Packwood (R. Ore) was reelected when a newspaper sat on an article detailing a long history of sexual harassment in earlier years. He was a throwback to the era when Senators, such as JFK and LBJ, routinely hit on single women in Washington. Ted Kennedy, sometimes rumored with Chris Dodd, carried on his brother and dad’s serial adultery. Senator Packwood claimed he was an alcoholic at the time, but he was sufficiently sober to keep a record of his “sexual conquests.”

Senator Ted Kennedy saw his White House dreams drown at Chappaquiddick.

Senator Brock Adams (D Wash) career ended when his teenage baby sitter accused him of sexual assault, followed by other victim coming forth.

Senator Chuck Robb (D Va) claimed his relationship with the former Miss Virginia, Tai Collins, only involved a massage, but she said different and took it all off in Playboy.

An honorable mention goes to Strom Thurmond (D-R S Car) for acknowledging his illegitimate African-American daughter.

                                     House of Representatives

Two Democratic Congressmen made the news for sexual indiscretions when the media tried to ignore reporting such misdeeds.

Wilbur Mills, the esteemed and powerful Chair of the Armed Services Committee, was pulled over for DWI after an accident on October 9, 1974 near the Jefferson Memorial. His companion, an Argentine stripper known as Fannie Fox or the Argentine Firecracker, jumped into the Tidal Basin to attempt an escape.

Wayne Hays from Ohio was the powerful, but despised Chair of the House Administration Committee. Elizabeth Ray, the Committee’s Secretary, revealed in 1975 : “I can’t type. I can’t file. I can’t even answer the phone,” but for $14,000 a year her job was to have sex with him.

Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

Jim Bates (D Cal) defeated by Randy “Duke” Cunningham, a decorated pilot, who was subsequently guilty of corruption while in  Congress

Allen Howe (D Utah) solicited two undercover police women in 1976.

Ernie Konnyu (R Cal) sexual harassment

John Young (D Tex)

Donald Lukens (R Ohio) teenager

Congressman John Pickering (R Miss)

Bob Livingston (R La) The adultery was revealed as Congressman Livingston was elected by the Republicans to succeed Newt Gingrich.

Henry Hyde (R Ill) It was a “youthful indiscretion” at age 41

Mel Reynolds (D Ill) convicted on August 22, 1995 of sexual assault, obstruction of justice, and solicitation of childhood porn. Congressman Reynolds succeeded in office Congressman Gus Savage who fondled a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Congressman Gary Condit (D Cal) was a Congressman for life in California's Central Valley until his mistress, the Congressional intern Chandra Levy disappeared under suspicious circumstances in May 2001. His serial adultery was revealed and he was suspected in his disappearance. Her body was found a year later and an illegam immigrant was convicted in November 2010 of her death.

                         “Straight” Men Caught in Gay Incidents

Senator Larry Craig (R Id) Minneapolis Airport restroom

Congressman Bob Bauman (R Md) (teenage boy in 1980)

Congressman Fred Richmond (D NY) (16 year old boy)

Congressman John Hinson (R Miss)


Congressman Barney Frank (D Mass) His gay lover ran an escort service our of his apartment

                                  Too “Close” to Lobbyists

Congressman Arlan Stangeland (R Minn)

Congressman Tom Evans (R Del)

                              Sex With House Interns

Congressmen Dan Crane (R Ill) (female) and Gerry Studds (D Mass) (male)were censured for sex with interns.


President Kennedy sets the mark. Neither President Johnson nor Clinton apparently came close to JFK’s numbers.

President Nixon can rightfully be accused of many transgressions in office, but sexual misdeeds are not on the list. President Carter in a Playboy interview before his inauguration volunteered to looking on women with lust and that he had “committed adultery in my heart many times.” Virtual adultery doesn’t count.

The fates of these elected figures varied. Some resigned or decided not to stand for reelection. Many were defeated for reelection while some continued in office.

What is clear is that Republicans have less tolerance for sexual misdeeds in office than Democrats.

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