What’s in Florida’s Drinking Water?

Published: October 15, 2008

By Jim Lichtman
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For those of you tuning in late to Florida politics: Republican Congressman Mark Foley resigned in 2006 after reports that he sent sexually explicit e-mails to former male congressional pages.

Now, word comes that Democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney, the man elected to replace Foley, has, himself, been involved in a sexual liaison with a staffer.  Moreover, the Washington Post reported that Mahoney has “…requested an ethics investigation of himself yesterday (October 13) after ABC News reported that he paid hush money to a former mistress who once worked on his staff and was threatening to sue him.”

In a public statement, Mahoney apologized to both his family and Florida constituents then added, “I have not violated my oath of office, nor have I broken any laws and I consider this to be a private matter.  I take full responsibility for my actions and…” we’ve heard all this before.

Mr. Mahoney may know the Congressional Oath, but he clearly has not read the first 22 words on page 1 of the 2008 House Ethics Manuel:

“Members, officers, and employees of the House should:

  • Conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House”

Last year, after hearing a rumor about Mahoney’s “private” relationship, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rahm Emanuel approached Mahoney and reportedly “told him he was in public life and had a responsibility to act accordingly and appropriately,” a spokeswoman for Emanuel said.

The Washington Post reported that “Representative Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, spoke with Mahoney and ‘urged him to come clean with his constituents if there was any truth to the rumor.’”

“‘While these allegations are based on hearsay, I believe that my constituents need a full accounting,’ Mahoney, who is married, said in a statement yesterday that did not address whether the allegations were true.  ‘As such, I have requested the House Ethics Committee to review these allegations. I am confident that when the facts are presented that I will be vindicated.’”

Gee, where have we heard those words before?

“When all the facts are understood, I trust that I will be vindicated.”

And these…

“I am innocent of these charges and intend to prove that.”

That first set of words comes from Louisiana Democratic Representative William Jefferson.  The second from Alaska Senator Ted Stevens currently involved in his own corruption case.

While Mr. Jefferson’s case is pending, he was reelected to office.  Senator Stevens and Congressman Mahoney are up for reelection this year.

On November 4th, we’ll find out whether their constituents will vote for character or business as usual.


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