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On the May 3 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer observed that Washington is "no stranger to sex scandals," then provided viewers with examples of scandals involving only Democrats. During the segment, Blitzer was discussing the "DC Madam" scandal that has already led to the resignation of Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias, the first director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Blitzer listed three sex scandals: former President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky (1998), former Sen. Gary Hart's (D-CO) liaison with Donna Rice (1987), and former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills' (D-AR) involvement with Fanne Foxe (1974). But there have also been numerous -- and more recent -- sex scandals involving Republicans. For example:
- On September 29, 2006, then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned after ABC News asked him about sexually explicit instant messages to underage former congressional pages. The messages, according to ABC News, were "provided by former male pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts." The House Ethics Committee later decided not to take any disciplinary action against members of the House leadership who had known of emails sent by Foley to former pages, as these were found to be not quite as explicit as the instant messages. One former page, however, described those emails as "sick sick sick sick sick."
- In 1999, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's (R-GA) "long-term" affair with congressional aide Callista Bisek -- whom he later married -- was revealed while he was seeking a divorce from his second wife. In March 2007, Gingrich confessed to the affair.
- In December 1998, during impeachment proceedings against Clinton stemming from the Lewinsky affair, then-House Speaker-designate Bob Livingston (R-LA) admitted to having an extramarital affair. Two days later, Livingston announced he would not seek the speakership and that he would resign from the House in mid-1999. He resigned in March 1999.
- In a November 22, 1992, article, The Washington Post reported that then-Sen. Robert Packwood (R-OR) had made numerous "uninvited sexual advances to women who have worked for him or with him." Investigations revealed more incidents of sexual harassment and also exposed Packwood's secret personal diaries. Packwood eventually resigned from the Senate on October 1, 1995, after the Senate Ethics Committee voted unanimously to expel him.
- In September 1998, Salon.com reported that then-House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL) had engaged in an extramarital affair with Cherie Snodgrass from 1965 to 1969. According to Hyde, the affair ended when Snodgrass' husband, Fred, told Hyde's wife about it. Hyde purported to explain the affair -- which came out amid the Lewinsky controversy -- as a "youthful indiscretion," even though he was reportedly 41 when the affair started. Hyde, as Judiciary Committee chairman, led the successful push to impeach Clinton.
Former Nixon White House Counsel John W. Dean has compiled a list of congressional sex scandals.
From the 5 p.m. ET hour of the May 3 edition of The Situation Room:
BLITZER: Washington, of course, no stranger to sex scandals. Here's a look at some of the ones that grabbed headlines over the years.
Back in 1998, Bill Clinton, impeached after his affair with the White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, became public; 1987, there was the yacht, Monkey Business, picture of Gary Hart on that boat with Donna Rice, ended his run for the White House.
And back in 1974, many of you will remember a powerful Democrat named Wilbur Mills was caught with a stripper, Fanne Foxe. The relationship became public after a cop pulled Mills' limo over late one night and Foxe tried to flee by jumping into some nearby water [The Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.]. He resigned as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. She continued stripping.