We all remember the controversy over former GOP Congressman Mark Foley (FL-16) who resigned in disgrace after it was reported that he had sent lewd instant messages to a 17 y/o page. The GOP ran Joe Negron in his place in an attempt to hold on to that seat, but West Palm Beach Democrat Tim Mahoney, who campaigned in part on a “family values” platform, defeated Negron (whose name was not on the ballot – Foley’s was) by 2 percentage points to go on and represent Florida’s 16th district.
Well, guess what? Looks like Mahoney’s got a sex scandal of his own going on … and it has been since 2006. Via ABC’s Brian Ross:
West Palm Beach Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL), whose predecessor resigned in the wake of a sex scandal, agreed to a $121,000 payment to a former mistress who worked on his staff and was threatening to sue him, according to current and former members of his staff who have been briefed on the settlement, which involved Mahoney and his campaign committee.
Mahoney, who is married, also promised the woman, Patricia Allen, a $50,000 a year job for two years at the agency that handles his campaign advertising, the staffers said.
A Mahoney spokesperson would not answer questions about the alleged affair or the settlement, but said Allen resigned of her own accord and “has not received any special payment from campaign funds.”
Senior Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives, including Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), the chair of the Democratic Caucus, have been working with Mahoney to keep the matter from hurting his re-election campaign, the Mahoney staffers said.
A spokesperson for Emanuel denies that account, but said Emanuel did confront Mahoney “upon hearing a rumor” about an affair in 2007 and “told him he was in public life and had a responsibility to act accordingly.” The spokesperson added that it was a “private conversation” that had nothing to do with Mahoney’s re-election prospects.
Emanuel’s spokesperson said Emanual had not had any further contacts with Mahoney on the subject and did not know the woman involved worked on Mahoney’s Congressional staff until informed by ABC News.
The affair between Mahoney and Allen began, according to the current and former staffers, in 2006 when Mahoney was campaigning for Congress against Foley, promising “a world that is safer, more moral.”
At the time, Mahoney’s campaign ads featured a picture of him with his wife, Terry, with the line, “Restoring America’s Values Begins at Home.”
The staffers say Mahoney first met Allen at a campaign stop and later arranged for her to work as a volunteer on the campaign. Allen also appeared in a Mahoney campaign television commercial, criticizing his opponent.
It gets even more interesting:
Following his election in 2006, Allen was hired, at taxpayers expense, to work on Mahoney’s Congressional staff in Florida, at a yearly salary of $36,000.
After complaints about the affair circulated in Washington, Allen was moved to the campaign staff, the staffers say.
Friends of Allen told ABC News that Allen sought to break off the affair when she learned Mahoney was allegedly involved in other extra-marital relationships at the same time.
Her friends say she told them Mahoney threatened that ending the relationship could cost her the job.
“You work at my pleasure,” Congressman Mahoney told Allen on a January 20, 2008 telephone call that was recorded and played for Mahoney staffers. ABC News was provided a copy. Click here to hear the tape.
“If you do the job that I think you should do, you get to keep your job. Whenever I don’t feel like you’re doing your job, then you lose your job,” Mahoney can be heard telling Allen.
“And guess what? The only person that matters is guess who? Me. You understand that. That is how life really is. That is how it works,” Mahoney says on the call.
“You’re fired,” Mahoney tells her. “Do you hear me? Don’t tell me whether it’s correct or not.”
Sounds like a guy anyone would be happy to elect to represent their district, eh?
None of us have forgotten the rabid, foaming at the mouth “outrage” that came from The Usual Suspects for days as it related to Foley’s sexual shenanigans. Republicans were glad to see him go because they were disgusted by his behavior, and Democrats were glad to see him go because he was a Republican who was “hypocritical” on the issue of moral values. Well, here we have a Democrat who was not only hypocritical on the issue of moral values, but who also essentially “paid off” his former mistress allegedly using campaign money. Not only that, but Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Obama’s state) knew about the affair and tried to keep it hush hush for the party’s sake, just as was alleged of Hastert and Co. during the Foleygate scandal. (I should also note that it was alleged that Emanuel – who was DCCC chair at the time – knew about the Foley IMs/emails sooner than he had admitted he had and there was speculation during the Foley drama that Emanuel held off on saying anything about the issue until right before election so the Dems would gain politically from it).
Yet, do we see the same level of outrage expressed by the left on the issue of moral values hypocrisy? No. Why? Because it’s a Democrat who is the hypocrite. We all know the routine: If you’re a party that has few standards – like the Democratic party, it’s not like you can hold your candidates to standards you don’t espouse. But you’ll sure as hell do your best to hold the other side’s candidates to theirs. Same sh*t, different day and all that.
Mahoney’s Republican opponent is US Army veteran (JAG Corps) Tom Rooney. Read more about him here. It would sure be nice to get that seat back.
Update: Well, this is certainly interesting:
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Florida Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney called on the House ethics committee to investigate his own behavior after ABC News reported that he paid a former staffer who was also his mistress $121,000 to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Mahoney, who is married, did not directly address the ABC report, but said in a written statement, “I was notified this afternoon about a story that ran on ABC News’ web site reporting allegations about a former employee. While these allegations are based on hearsay, I believe that my constituents need a full accounting. 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.”
After Mahoney called for the investigation, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said, “I just learned today about the serious allegations concerning Congressman Tim Mahoney. These charges must be immediately and thoroughly investigated by the House Ethics Committee.”
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, recently confronted Mahoney about a report that he had been unfaithful to his wife. According to DCCC spokeswoman Jennifer Crider, “After a rumor recently surfaced on a blog about Mr. Mahoney’s affair, the chairman 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.”
In a sign of how politically devastating the allegations are for Mahoney’s chances of re-election, The Cook Political Report, a publication that rates congressional races, swiftly moved its rating on Monday for his Florida seat from “Lean Democratic” to “Lean Republican.”
The last polling numbers I could find for Mahoney vs. Rooney were from early September, where Mahoney was up by 7.
Stay tuned …