More trouble for Florida Dem Mahoney

The congressman who rode anti-Foley anger into the House faces his second sex scandal in less than a week.

By Gabriel Winant
Published October 15, 2008 8:30PM (EDT)

It just wouldn't feel like October without one of Florida's representatives in Congress becoming embroiled in scandal. Thankfully, Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney has stepped up to the plate and is now dealing with not one, but two sex scandals -- with some possible ethics violations thrown in for good measure.

One might think Mahoney would have learned his lesson from former Rep. Mark Foley, as he currently occupies the disgraced Republican's old seat. But apparently not. Mahoney's first sex scandal, which ABC News reported Monday, was tawdry enough: sex with a member of his congressional staff, allegations that he threatened to fire her when she tried to end their relationship, $121,000 allegedly spent to buy her silence. The FBI is reportedly investigating, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation, as has Mahoney.

Wednesday brought allegations of another affair. This time, the woman with whom Mahoney was reportedly involved was a local official in Martin County, Fla. The county was one of several in Mahoney’s district that had been hit hard by a 2004 hurricane. It was seeking federal funds to reimburse cleanup and reconstruction costs. Mahoney lobbied for, and eventually procured, $3.4 million for Martin County. A press release from his Web site touts his personal meetings with the head of FEMA on the subject. At the same time, though, an unnamed Mahoney staffer told ABC that the congressman was doing little to help the other counties in his district that had been similarly affected.

Unsurprisingly, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee seems to have decided to leave Mahoney to fend for himself in his reelection fight. 

Gabriel Winant

Gabriel Winant is a graduate student in American history at Yale.

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