Hours after a married congressman addressed a report that he had an affair with a former aide and paid her to keep quiet about, details of a purported tryst with a second woman surfaced.Democrat leaders in the House ought to be pressed on when they learned of the affair, and what they did. It is apparent that Rahm Emanuel knew and if that's the case, this situation isn't all that different from how the GOP handled the Mark Foley mess. Democrats used the failure of the GOP leadership to catapult into control of the House.
Though Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney did not directly mention allegations first reported by ABC News, that he had been involved with the former aide, he issued a statement apologizing to his family but denying he'd done anything illegal.
Later Tuesday, a person close to his campaign told The Associated Press that Mahoney also was having an affair with a second woman around the same time.
Mahoney, 52, won his seat in 2006 while promising to return morals and family values to Washington in the aftermath of the resignation of former Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Foley. Foley stepped down when it was revealed he sent lurid Internet messages to male teenage pages who had worked on Capitol Hill. Foley was later cleared of criminal wrongdoing by state and federal authorities.
Given the way that the Democrats under Speaker Pelosi have run Congress into the ground with never before seen low approval ratings and no accomplishments to speak of, the GOP should be pouncing on this as a way to gain back many of the seats lost in 2006. However, they have to overcome a media that is quite reluctant to press home the point.
The FBI is now taking a serious interest in Mahoney's actions.
FBI agents have reportedly contacted members of Mahoney's staff and Tuesday sought legal files surrounding the secret settlement, according to current and former Mahoney Congressional and campaign staff workers.If the Democrats had their way, news of Mahoney's affair wouldn't have come out until after the election, and they were trying quite hard to ensure that. ABC News broke the news on the affair, just as they did with the Foley mess.
A spokesperson for the FBI said she had been instructed to say "no comment" to press inquiries.
It would be unusual but not unprecedented for the FBI to open an investigation into a member of Congress three weeks before the election.
Still more details about that second affair, and it's just as damning as the first affair and subsequent coverup:
On Tuesday night, a person close to the Mahoney campaign told the AP that Mahoney also was having a relationship with a high-ranking official in Martin County in his Florida district around the same time of the purported affair with Allen.I think I see the FBI's potential line of inquiry - who got FEMA money via Mahoney and whether favors were done to obtain such funds.
The person close to the campaign spoke only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to openly discuss Mahoney's private life.
The person said Mahoney was having the relationship with the official in 2007 while he also was lobbying the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a $3.4 million reimbursement for Martin County for damage caused by hurricanes in 2004. FEMA approved the money late last year.
Mahoney's congressional staff declined to comment on this alleged tryst, but noted Mahoney lobbies for FEMA funding throughout his district, and that Martin County has received $43 million from FEMA since 2004. Mahoney didn't take office until 2006.
Copious Dissent notes that some reports on Mahoney's actions are avoiding mention of his political affiliation. Why am I not surprised. It's time to play name that party!
Gay Patriot notes the media discrepancy between the Foley coverage and Mahoney coverage. I'm not surprised, it's what the media does. Heck, Rahm Emanuel, who knew of the affair, wasn't even questioned by Chris Matthews. The media isn't even bothering asking the questions they asked of GOP leadership despite evidence that federal funds may have been involved in silencing one of the two women Mahoney had an extramarital affair with.
Meanwhile, it appears that Mahoney is considering quitting the race. He's probably being pressured by Pelosi and the other Democrat leadership to quit to avoid this story spiraling out of control, but I'm still curious as to what the leadership knew, when they knew, and the steps they took to keep it out of the press - particularly the part about how federal funds may be involved.
The quip of the day has to come from Don Surber, who caught the Palm Beach Post's endorsement of Mahoney:
Mahoney has delivered.”
On Sunday, the PBP endorsed Democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney: “Tim Mahoney has had a productive two years in Congress, and on Nov. 4 voters should give him two more years.”