The Heat Increases for Rep. McAllister to Resign

Louisiana GOP wants him out post-“kissing scandal”; Boehner says “he’s got decisions that he has to make.”

National Journal
Sarah Mimms and Elahe Izadi
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Sarah Mimms Elahe Izadi
April 10, 2014, 9:45 a.m.

Four days after a video emerged of Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Vance Mc­Al­lister ca­nood­ling with a mem­ber of his staff, the Louisi­ana fresh­man has fi­nally got­ten in touch with House Speak­er John Boehner.

Boehner wouldn’t elab­or­ate on the con­tent of their con­ver­sa­tion, but it comes on the heels of Louisi­ana Re­pub­lic­an Party Chair­man Ro­ger Villere’s call for Mc­Al­lister to step down. One of Mc­Al­lister’s col­leagues spec­u­lates that there could be more to the scan­dal.

“I ex­pect all mem­bers to be held to the highest eth­ic­al stand­ards, and this is no dif­fer­ent,” Boehner told re­port­ers Thursday. “I’ve talked to Rep­res­ent­at­ive Mc­Al­lister. I won’t share with you the kind of con­ver­sa­tions I have, but I have had a con­ver­sa­tion with him. And you know, he’s got de­cisions that he has to make.”

Mc­Al­lister has not voted in Con­gress this week and was back in his dis­trict Wed­nes­day.

Villere is­sued a state­ment Thursday call­ing on Mc­Al­lister to resign, say­ing, “I at­temp­ted to re­solve this mat­ter privately and dir­ectly with Mr. Mc­Al­lister, but his chief of staff chose to make this in­form­a­tion pub­lic.”

News broke Wed­nes­day, at­trib­uted to “a source who works for the state party,” that Villere told Mc­Al­lister’s chief of staff, Adam Terry, that the state party wanted the con­gress­man to resign.

“Mr. Mc­Al­lister’s ex­treme hy­po­crisy is an ex­ample of why or­din­ary people are fed up with polit­ics,” the state­ment from Villere read. “A breach of trust of this mag­nitude can only be rec­ti­fied by an im­me­di­ate resig­na­tion. He has em­bar­rassed our party, our state, and the in­sti­tu­tion of Con­gress. A video show­ing him en­gaged in con­duct un­be­com­ing a mem­ber of Con­gress, on pub­lic time, in a pub­lic of­fice, with one of his em­ploy­ees, was the fo­cus of the na­tion­al press for days.”

Later on Thursday, Louisi­ana Gov. Bobby Jin­dal called on Mc­Al­lister to resign, say­ing that his be­ha­vi­or was “an em­bar­rass­ment.” Jin­dal was a big sup­port­er of Mc­Al­lister’s run­off op­pon­ent last year, state Sen. Neil Riser.

Mc­Al­lister apo­lo­gized shortly after the video leaked on The Ou­achita Cit­izen. “I don’t want to make a polit­ic­al state­ment on this, I would just simply like to say that I’m very sorry for what I’ve done,” he said in a state­ment. “While I real­ize I serve the pub­lic, I would ap­pre­ci­ate the pri­vacy giv­en to my chil­dren as we get through this.”

Rep. John Flem­ing, R-La., said that he has not spoken with Mc­Al­lister since the video­tape came to light and that the de­cision of wheth­er or not to resign would ul­ti­mately be up to the con­gress­man and his sup­port­ers. However, he ad­ded, this may not be the end of the story.

“I’m just say­ing that, you know, this may end up be­ing an isol­ated in­cid­ent. But then some­body may pop up and say — well, you know how this usu­ally un­folds. There’s some in­noc­u­ous kind of thing and then you get the re­ac­tion from the politi­cian just to see if he’s go­ing to tell the truth and ad­mit it. But then next you have him out on the boat named ‘Hanky Panky’ or something like that,” Flem­ing said, laugh­ing, re­fer­ring to former Sen. Gary Hart, who pho­to­graphed on a yacht called “Money Busi­ness” with a young wo­man after deny­ing ru­mors that he was hav­ing an af­fair. “So, you’ve seen this drill. It’s happened many, many times.”

Rep. Charles Bous­tany, an­oth­er of Mc­Al­lister’s col­leagues from Louisi­ana, on Wed­nes­day stopped just short of call­ing for an eth­ics in­vest­ig­a­tion. “This is just hor­rible be­ha­vi­or un­be­com­ing of a mem­ber of Con­gress,” Bous­tany said, us­ing lan­guage that is re­min­is­cent of a rule in the House eth­ics manu­al.

“I think it de­serves be­ing looked at,” he said, when asked wheth­er the House Com­mit­tee on Eth­ics should launch an in­vest­ig­a­tion. “Like I said, none of us have the facts.”¦ All I can say is this is a very ser­i­ous mat­ter. It needs to be looked in­to.”

Sev­er­al mem­bers of the Eth­ics Com­mit­tee de­clined to com­ment about wheth­er Mc­Al­lister will come un­der a con­gres­sion­al in­vest­ig­a­tion, not­ing that they are pro­hib­ited from speak­ing about such mat­ters.

Rep. Bill Cas­sidy, R-La., who is run­ning for the Sen­ate this fall, de­clined to say wheth­er Mc­Al­lister should step down. “I’ve got noth­ing to say about that. I’d rather not talk about it. I mean, it’s two fam­il­ies and it’s a tra­gic situ­ation and I’d rather not talk about it,” Cas­sidy said.

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