U.S. Representative Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., abruptly resigned from the House of Representatives after a report emerged on www.gawker.com that he had sent flirtatious e-mails, including one with a bare-chested photo of himself, to a woman he met on Craigslist.
Lee represented the 26th district of New York. Lee is married. He and his wife Michele have a young son named Johnathan, according to a biography on his congressional website.
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness,” Christopher Lee said in a statement.
“The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately.”
According to the story on Gawker.com, a single 34-year-old woman from Maryland posted an ad on Craigslist’s “Women for Men” section on January 14, 2011. Soon afterwards a man named Christopher Lee replied, identifying himself as a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist.
In the exchange that followed, Lee reportedly sent the woman an e-mail including a photo of himself with his shirt off, flexing his arms and chest. The woman later broke off her correspondence with Lee after she did an online search for him and determined that he had lied about his age and his job, the Gawker story reported.
We have a government corruption crisis. In the U.S. Congress, weâ€™ve accepted resignations from Eric Massa and Mark Foley for pursuing male staffers. Congressman William Jefferson was caught with a freezer full of cash. Ways and Means Chairman Rangel was found guilty of 11 different ethics violations. Former Majority Leader Tom Delay was found guilty of money laundering. Senator John Ensign resigned after it was revealed his parents allegedly paid $96,000 to a female companion. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson gave taxpayer dollars to relatives as “college scholarships.” Twenty-three members of Congress (or their families) received farm subsidies last year!
Congressman Lee is one in a long line of U.S. Congressman who have been proven dishonest and/or corrupt. Here are a few others:
REP. MARIO BIAGGI (D-NY): In 1988 he was convicted of obstructing justice, tax evasion, conspiracy, extortion, and accepting bribes.
CORRINNE BROWN (D-FL): Failed to pay unemployment taxes to the state of Florida; sued by several airlines for unpaid bills and falsified travel reports; failed to report sale of her Tallahassee travel agency; improperly reported the sale of her Gainesville travel agency; sued by Whirlpool Corp. for unpaid bills; pursued by the IRS for $14,228 in unpaid taxes; investigations by the House Ethics Committee for possible acceptance of bribes; refused to file reports in the House about potential conflicts of interest while overseeing airlines she dealt with through her travel agencies; charged with money laundering.
REP. ALBERT BUSTAMANTE (D-TX): Convicted in 1993 of racketeering and accepting an illegal gratuity.
TONY COELHO (D-CA): Investigated for fraud while serving as U.S. Commissioner General of Expo ’98 in Lisbon, Portugal.* He was Al Gore’s primary presidential campaign manager until he resigned citing health reasons.
REP. WES COOLEY (R-OR): Convicted of falsifying VA loan applications. Paid $7,000 in fines plus court costs, and placed on probation. Subsequently tried to gather support to get re-elected to Congress.*
REP. JERRY COSTELLO (D-IL): Embattled former governor and convicted felon Rod Blagojevich linked long term career politician Congressman Jerry Costello to the FBI corruption investigation and upcoming retrial. According to Costello’s campaign finance records, “donated” over fifty thousand dollars to Rod Blagojevich in 2006 while the governor was under investigation by the FBI for corruption. Jerry Costello’s name surfaced for the first time in the ongoing corruption scandal when Blagojevich mention that he would be calling Jerry Costello to testify in the upcoming re-trial along with Jesse Jackson, Jr. who was featured prominently in the alleged attempted sale of the Senate seat formerly held by Barack Obama.
In a direct quote from the interview, Costello is implicated as being part of the alleged conspiracy to sell the Senate seat.
REP. BOB DORNAN (R-CA): In 1983 attempted to leave Grenada with a stolen AK-47. It was confiscated by the Army and destroyed.
REP. WALTER FAUNTROY (D-DC): Financial disclosure misdemeanor (1995).
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-MA): Accessory to a male prostitute who ran a whorehouse in their Washington townhouse.
REP. NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA): During Gingrich’s term as Speaker, eighty-four ethics charges were filed against him, most of which were leveled by House Democratic Whip David Bonior. Eighty-three of the eighty-four allegations were dropped. The remaining charge consisted of two counts “of failure to seek legal advice” and one count of “providing the committee with information which he knew or should have known was inaccurate” concerning the use of a tax exempt college course for political purposes. To avoid a full hearing, Gingrich and the House Ethics Subcommittee negotiated a sanctions agreement, which Democrats accused Gingrich of immediately violating. Nonetheless, the agreement was forwarded to the House for approval. On January 21, 1997, the House voted 395 to 28 to reprimand Gingrich, including a $300,000 “cost assessment” to recoup money spent on the investigation. This was the first time in the House’s history that the Speaker had been disciplined for ethics violations.
STATE REP. ALCEE L. HASTINGS (D-FL): From the 1998 Almanac of American Politics: “He was impeached by the House of Representatives by a vote of 426-3 in 1988 and convicted and removed from office by the Senate by a vote of 69-26. The impeachment arose from allegations that Hastings conspired with a friend to accept $150,000 for giving two convicted swindlers a break in sentencing. Hastings was acquitted in a criminal trial in 1983, but the friend was convicted. In the House, the case for impeachment was made by John Conyers, senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Removed from the bench, Hastings was unapologetic.”
SEN. JESSE HELMS (R-NC): In 1990, the Helms campaign sent out 125,000 postcards primarily to black North Carolina voters claiming that they might not be able to vote, and would be prosecuted for vote fraud if they tried. His campaign, the North Carolina Republican party, and four consulting and marketing firms were charged with violations of the Voting Rights Act. The Helms campaign signed an admission of guilt (claiming later that they didn’t have the money to fight it in court), but Helms and his staff were never prosecuted.
REP. CARROL HUBBARD (D-KY): Convicted in 1994 of misappropriation of funds.
JAY KIM (R-CA): Convicted of accepting illegal campaign contributions from foreign sources.
REP. GERALD KLECZKA (D-WI): Convicted of DUI in 1987; arrested for DUI in 1990 and 1995.
REP. JOE KOLTER (D-PA): Fraud and conspiracy (1996).
REP. NORMAN LENT (R-NY): In 1982 tried to have fifty counterfeit Rolex watches mailed to him from Taiwan.
REP. DONALD E. “BUZ” LUKENS (R-OH): In 1989 was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
REP. NICK MAVROULES (D-MA): In 1991 pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and tax evasion.
REP. EDWARD MEZVINSKY (D-IA): Indicted in March of 2001 on federal fraud charges. Claimed that he developed mental problems after using a malaria drug called Lariam. “Clearly, the responsibility lies with the manufacturers,” claimed Mezvinsky’s lawyer, Michael Barrett.*
REP. JAMES MORAN (D-VA): Charged with spousal abuse, and assault and battery. A regular instigator of bar fights while mayor of Alexandria, VA, his position made him immune to arrest. Once said he thought about becoming a boxer because “I like to hit people.”
REP. AUSTIN J. MURPHY (D-PA): Vote fraud, including forgery, conspiracy, and tampering with federal records (1999).*
REP. MARY ROSE OAKAR (D-OH): Charged with seven federal felonies related to financial-disclosure irregularities (1998).
SEN. BOB PACKWOOD (R-OR): Charged with sexual harassment.
REP. CARL PERKINS (D-KY): In 1994 pleaded guilty to filing a false financial-disclosure statement, conspiracy to file false statements with the Federal Election Commission, and bank fraud. Sentenced in March of 1995.
REP. MEL REYNOLDS (D-IL): In 1995 was convicted of having sex with a minor and obstructing justice.
CHARLIE ROSE (D-NC): Financial disclosure irregularities (1994).
REP. DAN ROSTENKOWSKI (D-IL): Illegally converted official funds to his personal use and mail fraud; accused in 1996 of embezzling $700,000 from the federal government, he was charged with 13 of the original 17 counts against him. Went to prison after serving in Congress; now back in Washington working as a lobbyist.
REP. LARRY SMITH (D-FL): In 1993 was convicted of income tax evasion and campaign-reporting violations.
REP. PAT SWINDALL (R-GA): In 1988 was convicted of perjury.
REP. JIM TRAFICANT (D-OH): Indicted on 5/4/01 by a Cleveland, OH federal grand jury for bribery, tax evasion, racketeering, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. Found guilty of all charges in April 2002.
REP. WALTER TUCKER (D-CA): Federal extortion charges; convicted of accepting $30,000 worth of bribes while a Congressman, and sentenced to 27 months in the federal penitentiary.
REP. J.C. WATTS (R-OK): Loud champion of “moral values. has out-of-wedlock children.
CHARLES WILSON (D-TX): In 1995 was forced to pay a $90,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission.
Number of members of Congress who escaped tickets and/or arrest from a variety of driving offenses ranging from speeding to DUI in 1999 due to Congressional immunity: 217
Number of members of Congress who were released after being pulled over for drunken driving in 1998 by claiming Congressional immunity: 84
PoliticalGraveyard.com has quite a list of 777 politicians who got in trouble or were disgraced.