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.
What We're Following See More »
Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”