A decade of congressional sex scandals

Although political scandals date to the country’s earliest days, attention to sex-related wrongdoing in Congress began in earnest in the 1970s. Here are some examples from the last 10 years:


Rep. Christopher Lee (R-N.Y.), who is married, resigned hours after news reports that he sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman through Craigslist.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) resigned after complications from revelations of an extramarital affair with a former aide, who happened to be married to another of his former aides.



Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) resigned after an extramarital affair with a staffer, with whom he had recorded a video advocating abstinence.

Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) resigned during an ethics investigation into charges he had groped and tickled a male staff member.


Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) did not run for reelection after a conviction for drunk driving, followed by his admission of an extramarital affair in which he fathered a child.

Rep. Charles “Chip” Pickering (R-Miss.) filed for divorce, and his wife later charged he had an affair with another woman. He did not run for reelection.

Freshman Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) lost his reelection race after revelations that he had put a former mistress on his staff. Mahoney had replaced GOP Rep. Mark Foley, who was forced to resign in 2006.


Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) was caught up in a Washington escort service scandal, acknowledged his misbehavior and went on to win reelection in 2010.

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in an airport men’s room and was admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee, but held on to finish his term, which ran through 2008.


Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) resigned after revelations that he had sent explicit sexual messages to teenage boys who worked as congressional pages.


Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.) lost his reelection primary race after revelations of an affair with intern Chandra Levy, who disappeared in 2001 and was found slain a year later. A Salvadoran immigrant was convicted in her death.

Source: Times research