Category Archives: 2010 Congressional Races

The Chair Recognizes the Gentleman from Yemen?

Deficit Neutral FMAP Stimulus Moving Through Congress Despite Lugar and Other Obstructionist Rs

We’ve discussed the FMAP stimulus legislation here at ALO before (http://aloyalopposition.in/2010/06/18/fmap.) Well, it is coming to a head and despite the fact that cuts have been made to make the Murray-Harkin-Reid-Schumer amendment to the FMAP/edujobs bill completely deficit neutral, Senator Dick Lugar and the rest of Governor Mitch Daniels anti-teacher brigade continue to oppose it solely to bring failure to the Obama administration.

"Seriously Dick. Gimme some rock." "No way Bam-Bam."

Learn about this bill yourself and then call Senators Bayh and Lugar to encourage them to vote for the Murray-Harkin-Reid-Schumer amendment to the FMAP/edujobs legislation.

Hear State Senator Vi Simpson (D-Elletsville) discuss the stimulus needed in the FMAP bill here on The Dave Crooks Show. And here are just a few of the key points to know about this legislation that will help keep Hoosier schools from closing, keep teachers in the classrooms and keep class sizes from ballooning:

•  The economic collapse created a disaster for states and schools across the country, and it’s going to take a long time for them to recover, even after we turn the corner.
•  States and schools are facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis. While the economy is starting to improve, states face a cumulative budget gap of $200 billion in fiscal year 2010 and $180 billion in fiscal year 2011.
•  A recent report by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers found that 35 States cut funding for K12 education and 37 States did so for higher education in Fiscal Year 2010, with 31 States planning to impose additional K12 and higher education cuts in Fiscal Year 2011.
•  Education jobs and services have already been slashed to the bone. Schools have raised class sizes, instituted unpaid furlough days, laid off teachers, and cut back on programs our kids need to be successful.
•  According to a study by the University of Washington, even though ARRA prevented an education catastrophe, 87,019 K12 jobs were eliminated this past school year.
•  Overall, since August 2008, State and local governments have eliminated 242,000 jobs.
•  Up to 400,000 workers could lose jobs in the next year as states, counties and cities grapple with lower revenue and less federal funding, says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com.
•  Schools are facing as many as 300,000 layoffs of teachers, counselors, school nurses, and other critical staff.
•  A recent Center on Education Policy report, School Districts’ Perspectives on the Economic Stimulus Package, found that “While nearly two-thirds of all school districts have used the federal stimulus money from the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to save or create teaching jobs in the 2009-10 school year, as many as three quarters of the nation’s school districts expect to cut teaching jobs in 2010-11 due to budget decreases…”
•  Losing these education jobs wouldn’t just affect the individuals getting pink slips. It would have a catastrophic ripple effect across communities, dragging our economy downward again.
•  For every 100,000 education jobs eliminated, 30,000 other jobs, including those in the private sector will also vanish.
•  The $10 billion education jobs fund in the Murray-Harkin-Reid-Schumer amendment is fully offset (without the House-passed education offsets) and will not increase the deficit.
•  According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), spending $10 billion to save education jobs will only have a net impact on the deficit of only $4.75 billion, after accounting for an increase in GDP. Thus, since the entire $10 billion is offset, the education jobs fund will actually reduce the deficit by $5.25 billion.
•  According to the Education Commission of the States, a $10 billion education jobs fund would save at least 136,758 education jobs.
•  President Obama on June 12th said that an education jobs fund is “among the most cost-effective ways of promoting economic growth, as measured by the Congressional Budget office and numerous independent experts.”
•  Even those advocating for long-term deficit reduction recognize the need for an education jobs fund. “Right now, I think that there’s still a case to be made for some aid to the states if it is a pretty direct form of injecting stimulus.” Robert Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition.
•  According to a recent Gallup poll, the American public, by a 60-38 percent margin favor “additional government spending to create jobs and stimulate the economy.”
•  Morton Kondracke, Roll Call Executive Editor, on June 17th strongly urged Congress to approve an education jobs fund, “At long last, Congress is getting serious about containing deficit spending, but it would be ridiculous to show it by allowing more than 100,000 teachers around the country to lose their jobs… So it’s time for Congress to do what it’s hired to do: set priorities. Keeping teachers working should be close to Job One.”
•  Just as we start to see signs that our economy is turning around, there could be nothing more short-sighted than ripping a gaping hole in our schools and communities.
•  These are jobs at the core of our communities – teaching our kids, keeping class sizes manageable, providing summer school, preparing students to enter the workforce, and providing the foundation of our economic future.
•  We can’t afford not to do the right thing, to keep teachers in our classrooms, our schools on track, and our education system improving.
•  We can’t improve the economy and reduce unemployment by increasing public sector unemployment.
•  Ensuring quality education for children pays off. Individuals without a high school diploma are three times as likely to be unemployed as those with a college degree.
•  The language in the Murray-Harkin-Reid-Schumer amendment prohibits states from using funds for rainy day funds or to reduce state debt obligations.
•  The funds may only be used to save or create jobs for teachers and other educators.

Also of note here are some key points for thoise who doubt stimulus has helped the economy. Note the following charts from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:


Burton to Souder: “Don’t Mess Up Your Life Like I Have Mine.”

Former Congressman and assumed former adulterer Mark Souder is still talking about his affair. And it has made home the pin-up on the cover of this week’s Christian World Magazine.

Lessons from a broken man

Indiana congressman Mark Souder’s admission of adultery shows how a marriage can fall apart, while other lawmakers struggle to keep theirs together | Emily Belz

Last month a broken man announced his resignation from Congress after confessing to adultery. At an Indiana press conference Mark Souder, 59, said he had “sinned against God, my wife, and my family.” He committed to “repairing my marriage, earning back the trust of my family and my community, and renewing my walk with my Lord.”

Since then, in more than a dozen emails to WORLD, he has offered an extraordinary look into the thinking and feeling of a principled legislator who violated his principles. “Politicians and any top professionals are skilled manipulators and smooth with words,” he acknowledged: “Holding us accountable is hard.” His emails reveal the agony of failure: “My sin, while forgiven, is greater in that God put me in a position of public trust, so I deserve whatever criticism I receive.”

Souder and his inamorata, a part-time staffer, are both Christians who felt guilty and repeatedly talked about ending the affair as it dragged on over several years. Souder wrote in an email, “I prayed multiple times a day, sang hymns with emotion and tears, felt each time that it wouldn’t happen again, read the Bible every morning. . . . So how in the world did I have a ‘torrid’ (which is an accurate word) many-year affair? How could I compartmentalize it so much?”

Trying to figure it out, Souder wrote, “One of the biggest dangers—which is partly why intimacy is desired—is loneliness. Loneliness doesn’t mean being alone as much as it means being around hundreds of people but not really knowing them. It’s a job that results in hundreds, even thousands of friends, but not much closeness.” But he knows that explanation is insufficient: “Bottom line, however, is that the problem is sin. . . . The problem is getting the will subordinated to the Holy Spirit early enough that the Spirit is not squelched.”

The road to this low point in Souder’s life began with his election to Congress in November, 1994, as the short-lived “Republican revolution” began. Souder had just delivered a victory speech to a packed house in Fort Wayne, Ind., when someone tapped his shoulder and told him that former vice president Dan Quayle, a longtime friend and political colleague, was on the phone.

Quayle was calling to give the newly elected congressman a key piece of advice: Take your family with you to Washington. Souder didn’t do it. He had promised his three children—ages 17, 15, and 6—that they could finish school in Indiana. He believed that his family would be more “anchored” there. They would be near extended family.

In the end, Souder’s wife—they have been married for 35 years—and three children stayed in Indiana throughout his 15 years in office. In 2002 Souder met Tracy Jackson and her husband, Brad, at an event in his Indiana district. In 2004 she joined the staff in his Washington office part-time and worked with Souder closely on a number of issues, becoming what he called a “valued adviser.” They recorded a video, now widely mocked, where they talk about the value of abstinence education.

More recently, Jackson worked in Indiana and came to Washington, according to Souder, only 15 days a year. “To carry on a multi-year sexual affair in the district and not get caught shows that where there is a will, there will be a way,” Souder wrote. “I believe that it isn’t just whether someone is attractive, or available, or flattering members. It is a question of how we—Members of Congress and others—can recognize that with some people we have a deeper, intense attraction. Alarm bells need to go off.”

Souder doesn’t believe that moving his family to Washington would have kept him from falling into sin. He argues that if his family had been in Washington, the affair back in the district would have been “easier and more constant.” Over his 15 years in Congress, he said he only spent eight weekends in Washington. He notes that his children grew up with a stable community and his wife, Diane, was able to be near her parents, both of whom died while he was in office…

When Souder entered Congress in 1995, he and two other Indiana Republicans who took office in 1995 had the benefit of a discussion with Rep. Dan Burton, who had been in Congress over a decade. Burton would confess publicly in 1998 that he had fathered a child out of wedlock back in 1983, but then that news was private. He told the congressmen about his failings and said, according to Souder, “Do not mess up your life like I did mine.”

Warnings of that kind did not keep Souder from messing up, and adultery remains a virus among both Republicans and Democrats. Pledges of probity also don’t mean much: A dozen of the 73 freshman Republicans elected in 1994 became involved in extramarital affairs or divorces, a record that mocked the new Republican leadership’s pledge to end Congress’ “cycle of scandal and disgrace.”

Some affairs and marital problems had sprouted before Washington: In 1999, Rep. Bob Barr’s ex-wife accused him of having had an affair while they were still married, back in the 1980s. Other problems had a decidedly Washington trademark: Rep. Steve LaTourette divorced his wife and married his mistress, his former chief of staff. And House Speaker Newt Gingrich had an affair with a committee staffer whom he later married, his third wife.

Souder, watching some of his colleagues’ marriages suffer, complained that Democrats were purposefully spreading rumors about Republicans’ marital problems. He told the Associated Press in 1995: “Because we have a class that is more open in talking about religious faith, people just assume the worst.” In 1998, Souder voted against three of the four impeachment charges against President Bill Clinton because he thought the president behaved immorally but not impeachably.

In 2002, though, Souder met Tracy Jackson. One of his emails observed, “I felt a spark. . . . Closeness bred more closeness.” Guilt followed, then short-lived repentance, then more encounters, in Washington and back in the Indiana district. The affair became something he didn’t feel he could control, but he acknowledges that such a feeling “is no excuse: God expects you to control those leanings by providing us with the Holy Spirit within us.”

Souder wrote that his conscience stung every time he saw Sam McCullough, leader of a Bible study on the Hill, in the hallways of the Capitol. “The most baffling part was that I loved Diane,” Souder says—but he didn’t tell her about the initial “spark” and what happened thereafter. But last fall Souder and Jackson were in a parked car in a nature reserve near Fort Wayne when a Department of Natural Resources officer tapped on the window and asked them to move along. That scared Souder, and he realized he needed to come clean.

First he confessed the affair to some of his colleagues—but since Jackson was a member of Souder’s staff, House rules required them to report the activity as an ethics violation. Not until last month did Souder tell his wife about the affair. The colleagues-first pattern was not unusual. In his emails to WORLD about the affair, Souder often related conversations with colleagues but rarely mentioned anything about his family members. Those family relationships, for many lawmakers, are what are neglected when they’re in office and away from home.

Other politicians, like Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., have admitted to affairs and stayed in office, but Souder didn’t want to slog through that and a reelection race. He hopes to save his 35-year marriage, and he hopes that “others can learn from our pain, and the agony we caused Brad [Jackson] and my wonderful wife Diane. There is no question that the toughest thing to guard is the human heart.”

Pence, Daniels & Bennett Against Keeping Educators Working

Today we were a part of a statewide conference call alerting folks to the coming decimation of the backbone of our public school system. In a statewide conference call featuring Nate Shellenberger, President of the Indiana State Teacher’s Association and teachers from across the state, some losing their jobs due to budget cuts and others on the bubble.

ISTA represents more than 50,000 teachers across the state and has been under siege by Governor Mitch Daniels (http://aloyalopposition.in/2009/12/29/daniels-cannot-wait-to-fire-some-teachers) and Superintendent Tony Bennett for some time.

First, Daniels (http://aloyalopposition.in/2010/02/25/my-malicious-mitch) took advantage of the property tax upheaval to permanently remove education from the property tax roles thus always making it linked to the more rollercoastery ebb and flow of sales and income taxes. Fully knowing that with the very next downturn he would have to fire teachers. He has long wanted to see government out of the education business. It is why he has begun advocating for less education. Did you ever think you’d have a Governor telling folks that they shouldn’t aim for better educations?

Daniels (http://aloyalopposition.in/2009/12/16/disingenuous-daniels-gutting-education) has pressed since he was a part of Steve Goldsmith’s privatize everything cabal and then George Bush’s Your Child Left Behind crusade, to get government out of the education business so only wealthy folks can reach higher education’s rewards.

Then his hand-picked hatchet man, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, pressed to make it easier for less-qualified people who do not have training as educators, replace professionally trained teachers. Bennett, as the guy who is supposed to ensure Indiana schools improve, wants to make it so professionals can be replaced with less skilled, under-certified non-educators.

All this is now coming under fire now as Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has announced the Keep Our Educator’s Working Act.  Back in April Harkin announced the effort:

Job losses at public schools and colleges in the U.S. may top 100,000 in the next school year, Harkin said today at a U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. The legislation needs to be passed now because school districts are making budget decisions this month, he said.

“The jobs crisis in education is real,” Harkin said at the hearing. “And it’s not just a problem in one state or one area; it’s a problem nationally.”

The fund would supplement the $100 billion dedicated to education in the $862 billion stimulus package, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A total of $69 billion had been awarded to states through Dec. 31, preserving more than 300,000 teaching and school administration jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Education Web site. The stimulus money expires Sept. 30, Harkin said.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he planned to work with Harkin on details of the legislation.

“We absolutely need a jobs bill,” Duncan testified before the subcommittee. “It’s the right thing for our country; it’s the right thing for our economy; it’s the right thing for our children.”

The money in the Harkin legislation would be used to retain teachers, librarians and other school staff, hire new employees and provide training at schools districts and public colleges and universities. The funds couldn’t be used to retire debt or for a reserve.

The legislation would be classified as an emergency spending measure and be exempt from pay-as-you-go rules that would require cuts elsewhere, Harkin said. It is appropriate to increase the federal deficit for education purposes, he said.

“How can you argue that it’s OK for a kid to borrow to go to college but it’s not OK to borrow so that there’s a college for the kid to go to?” Harkin said. “If there’s one legitimate area where we can borrow from the future, it’s education, because what sort of jobs will we have for my grandkids and great grandkids in the future if we don’t have a well-educated group of young people today?”

Can’t hear Daniels blowing his top? Anyway, support for this effort has been ramping up and the ISTA call was to draw support for the bill. Shellenberger and some very worried and long dedicated educators were on the call reminding people of what is to be lost if nothing is done. As many as 5,000 teachers will be fired next year in Indiana if nothing is done. Classroom sizes will balloon. Whole school districts will be forced to cut programs and probably close schools.

We asked Shellenberger, who pointed out that if the bill passes the funding will likely drop to the state and be up to this governor to distribute, how he could be sure that such a non-advocate of public education could be trusted to make sure the funds get used to rehire teachers.

Shellenberger wisely did not take ALO’s red-meat bait but rather and appropriately pointed out that the ISTA will make sure that they put clear pressure on the Governor to properly and immediately distribute those funds to the most effected school districts.

When we again wondered to ISTA how he can be certain that Tony Bennett. who apparently left his heart somewhere, and the Governor can be trusted to rehire laid-off teachers and not replace then with under-certified hacks with no educational training, Shellenberger again did not jump at the chance to criticize, but rather cited that he is certain the teacher contracts in effect in each district will be adhered to and that “retired Lilly chemists won’t be hired over trained laid-off chemistry teachers.”

We are proud of Shellenberger for not jumping at our hot-headed rhetoric but rather cooly sticking to his guns. He has a long fight to impress Hoosier members of congress to pass this bill this summer and avoid huge lay-offs in September.

We know Congressman Mike Pence won’t vote for it, even though several of the most impacted districts including Anderson, Muncie and Richmond are in his district. Why? Because he is a doctrinaire flag-waving patriot who doesn’t vote for spending unless its attached to a bullets, missiles and tanks, his home district be damned.

And because he loves carrying Daniels’ and Bennett’s water.

Enough of our partisanship. Go here if you want to breakdown the nuts and bolts of how many teaching jobs can be saved by this bill: http://edmoney.newamerica.net/node/30915. If you don’t want to read it we can tell you it is 210,000 teaching jobs nationwide.

US News & World Report: Souder the Hypocrite and the Hypocrites of the Class of ’94

From Linda Killian of US News & World Report comes this piece that properly compares Mark Souder’s problems and those of his fellow hypocrites of the lauded Class of ’94 who rode Newt Gingrich’s cheap marketing ploy The Contract With (on) America, a slow economy and some dissatisfaction with the Clinton Administration to the so-called Republican Revolution. Paul Wachter of AOL’s The Filter adds another point on the cronyist and corrupt Class of ’94.

She points out the inordinate, actually record amount members of that Congress who have since gone down to scandal. This is important to remind ourselves heading into the first Obama administration off-year elections that a) we are in for tough battles in November and b) the circumstances, electorally aren’t as dour as they were then. There was no outside-the-Republican-Party Teabagger movement in ’94 and the Clinton Administration had failed to pass health care reform, which we at ALO feel will strengthen the case for Democrats this year.

In many ways the rotting fruit from the Class of ’94 may well be the greatest reminder to voters of the continuous culture of corruption the Rs have instigated like organized crime into the process.

But enough of our yappin’. Here is Linda Killian’s piece:

Indiana Rep. Souder’s Affair Is a Lesson for Angry Voters

May 18, 2010 05:33 PM ET | Linda J. Killian |

By Linda Killian, the Thomas Jefferson Street blog

So, another one bites the dust. This time it’s Mark Souder. Yet another unseemly scandal has taken out a Republican member of the House Class of ’94, one of the most celebrated and historic classes in congressional history. Souder, a nerdy, intense conservative who once described himself to me as a policy wonk, admitted Tuesday to having a relationship with a part-time staff member and announced his resignation from Congress effective Friday.

Souder is an Evangelical Christian who grew up in the Apostolic Church and is extremely conservative on social issues. He made seven references to God in his brief resignation statement.

Not of course, that someone who believes in God can’t transgress, but there is a certain amount of irony in the fact that the woman he was involved with recorded a daily radio spot for a Christian radio station in Ft. Wayne with Souder. She also made conservative issue-related videos with Souder including one on teen abstinence. Obviously, there wasn’t much abstinence going on with this couple.

[See who is donating to Rep. Souder’s campaign.]

Back in 1996, when I was covering the re-election campaigns of members of the Class of ’94 for my book,

The Freshmen: What Happened to the Republican Revolution?

I visited Souder’s Indiana district and attended a church service at which he spoke.

“The devil is right outside,” he told the congregation. “If we honor Jesus Christ, if we do everything we can, it’s in his hands…We would be going straight to hell if it wasn’t for him.”

Souder undoubtedly believes in the religious concepts of forgiveness and redemption, and made reference to them in his statement Tuesday, but it appears he does not also trust the voters to forgive his transgression.

In his statement, Souder said, “It has been a privilege to be part of the battle for freedom and the values we share.” One wonders exactly what values he is talking about.

When Souder and the other 72 new Republican House members were elected in 1994, giving the GOP control of the House for the first time since the Eisenhower administration, they made a big deal out of their family values and purity on fiscal matters. They even shut down the government over the issue of reducing spending and balancing the budget.

But scandals and missteps, both personal and professional, have felled a disproportionately large number of the class. Only 14 of the original GOP class of ’94 remain in the House and, counting Souder, five of them are leaving Congress this year. Several succumbed to the temptations of Washington and the flesh almost immediately and lost their bids for re-election. Others flamed out in more spectacular ways.

Mark Foley of Florida had been a subject of speculation and rumor for years until his unseemly behavior with Congressional pages cost him his seat and contributed to the Democrats winning back the House in 2006.

Robert Ney of Ohio was caught up in the Abramoff scandal and served jail time.

Mark Sanford, a member of the class before becoming governor of South Carolina, became the poster boy for the lovesick and the foolish.

Nevada Sen. John Ensign, also a member of the class, is still facing investigation over sexual and financial issues both by the Senate Ethics Committee and reportedly the FBI.

And of course, former Speaker Newt Gingrich was engaging in his own extramarital affair at the same time he was fighting with President Bill Clinton over shutting down the government. Gingrich’s reign as speaker didn’t last nearly as long as the Republican hold on the House.

The Republicans promised to be different, more fiscally responsible. And while they were for a while, their desire to do whatever it took to get reelected overtook their conservative fiscal instincts. When the Democrats were given back control of Congress, they too promised change. But the voters don’t think they’ve delivered.

Voters are angry again and in the mood to throw the bums out. But if history is any guide, just changing the faces in Washington or the party in control won’t do the trick.

Citizens have to keep a closer eye on their elected public servants and make it very clear what they expect from them. They have to call, write and show up at town meetings. It’s essential to be an active partner in democracy, not just vote every couple of years and figure the job is done. Otherwise, groups like the Tea Party, who are all too happy to take control of the election process, will determine the future direction of the country. And that’s far too important a matter for all of us not to make our voices heard.

And here is Paul Wachter’s piece:

Catch of the Day: With the election news dominating the headlines, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank offers a retrospective, picked up by The Daily Beast, on the last time there was a great congressional upheaval — the 1994 Gingrich revolution. A flood of new GOP members entered the House that year, committed to an anti-Washington policy of lower taxes, term limits and less spending that was advocated by Speaker Newt Gingrich. But now, that freshman class is remembered more for its sexual revolution than anything it did in government, Milbank says. “No fewer than 15 of the 73 elected in the landslide that year have entertained the nation with flaps that include messy divorces and a suspicious car accident,” he writes. Those 15 include Mark Sanford, who went on from the House to governor of South Carolina, where he famously “hiked the Appalachian trail” — the excuse he gave when he was actually off cavorting with his Argentinian mistress. Also, Florida’s Mark Foley, who sent lewd text messages to House pages. And Indiana’s Mark Souder, who on Tuesday admitted to having an affair with a staffer.

All the Questions Raised By Souder’s Exit

Aren't They Darling?

We at ALO will ignore the pontification as to who will ascend to be the new Republican candidate but we are scratching our heads about the wisdom on that side of the aisle.

First of all it sounds like a lot of people knew about this Congressman Mark Souder-Tracy Meadows Jackson affair and yet he was allowed to win a primary.

MSNBC.com gives us a better idea of how it unfolded:

Indiana congressman Mark Souder’s resignation, announced Tuesday, came after anonymous tipsters called his aides and his opponents in a Republican primary to say he was having an extramarital affair with a part-time staffer, according to sources familiar with the calls.

The conservative Christian congressman’s chief of staff, Renee Howell, confronted him last week over the rumored affair with Tracy Meadows Jackson, according to a source in the office. On Tuesday morning, two weeks after winning the primary, Souder publicly admitted the affair — without naming the staffer — and said he would resign effective Friday.

The affair began after Jackson was hired in 2004, according to the source in the office. Jackson, who is married, was to be a guest host with Souder for a daily radio spot he recorded for WFCV, a Christian radio station in Fort Wayne, Ind. Jackson also at one point played host for a local cable-access show that served as a platform for Souder to discuss conservative issues, and she helped produce numerous videos of Souder’s speeches and positions, including one in which they discussed his strong support for teen abstinence.

Jackson did not respond Tuesday to repeated e-mails and calls. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to freely discuss the sensitive matter.

After aides to Souder learned last week of the congressman’s affair, they contacted Minority Leader John Boehner’s office. A Souder aide met on Sunday with members of Boehner’s leadership staff, and Boehner spoke by phone to Souder on Monday night, just hours before the Souder announced that he would resign.

House members are prohibited from having sexual relationships with their aides.

House Republican leaders, who hammered Democrats over the sexual harassment scandal that toppled Rep. Eric Massa in March, said little Tuesday about the Souder resignation. The minority leader “has been perfectly clear that he will hold our members to the highest ethical standards,” a spokesman for Boehner said.

Less than a week before the May 4 primary, the sources said, anonymous callers told Souder’s Republican rivals he was regularly meeting a girlfriend for romantic trysts in state parks near Fort Wayne. One caller alleged that Souder and a staffer went together late at night to the remote and heavily forested Robinson Lake boat launch in Whitley County.

//

Video

Amid sex scandal, congressman resigns
May 18: Family values conservative Rep. Mark Souder is resigning after admitting to an affair with a female staff member.

msnbc tv

But the opponents questioned the reliability of the information and did not make a public issue of the claims.

As of Tuesday, Souder and his wife, Diane Zimmer Souder, remained together, according to one source. Souder and his wife have three grown children — two sons and a daughter — and two grandchildren.

In the primary, Souder survived a serious challenge from car dealer Bob Thomas, who spent considerable sums of his own money on the race. Nate Bullock, a Thomas spokesman, said Thomas considers this a sad episode, but ultimately a personal matter for Souder to handle without politics.

“It’s inappropriate to comment at this time,” Bullock said. “We are not going to make political hay by jumping on some family’s troubles or demise.”

A spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels said a special election will be held to fill the vacancy, The Associated Press reported.

Within 30 days, the precinct leaders of the counties in his district must gather to choose nominees for the special election, and GOP precinct officials would choose a candidate for the November ballot. One name being bandied about is state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate earlier this month.

Souder joins a succession of congressmen embroiled in sex scandals in recent years, including Massa, and Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev., and David Vitter, R-La.

Ensign and Vitter are still serving in the Senate.

But IndianasNewsCenter.com reports that several people in the district knew about the affair as early as February. Steve Shine, Allen County Republican chair admits he knew six months ago. Surprising since Shine was a supporter of Souder’s primary opponent Bob Thomas and Thomas’ campaign never dropped this bomb.

It’s weird. But, hey, we’re still drinking champagne over here at ALO HQ. Good riddance. Apparently as our friend The Broom has noted, he ultimately did believe in self-imposed term-limits.

Vanity Fair: Souder the Hypocrite

Avi Zenilman has this tale on VanityFair.com that puts the personal touch on Mark Souder’s moral hypocrisy. Enjoy:

Cheating Congressman Mark Souder Once Lectured My Father on the Evils of Sex

May 18, 2010, 12:15 PM
mark-souder.jpgA newfound respect for extramarital sex?

Politico is reporting that longtime Indiana congressman Mark Souder, a socially conservative Republican who railed against consensual sex outside of marriage, is resigning because he had an affair with a female aide. He is a married father of three.Oops. Souder frequently meddled with CDC research into at-risk behavior, and made life difficult for medical researchers of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. For example, in March 2004, Souder hauled Dr. Jonathan Zenilman, a former C.D.C. officer and S.T.D. specialist at Hopkins who happens to be my father, before his committee and proceeded to lecture him on the sins of condoms and sex outside of wedlock and its liberal enablers.

My dad, at the time “speaking as a proud parent of three teenagers” (I’ve grown up since then!), thought it was important to push a message of delay, but that demanding celibacy was just not going to work. “An
abstinence-only approach which excludes safer sex messages and includes messages that emphasize intercourse only within the context of marriage, is therefore clearly out of touch with the realities and practices of the vast majority of Americans,” he said, complaining that the whole debate was “framed in an absolutist stark context.”

Souder ultimately responded by saying that teen sex needs to be aggressively confronted, like date rape, because out-of-wedlock sex always leads to pregnancy and ruins lives. My dad said well-informed people use condoms. This led to the following exchange:

Zenilman: Teenagers having consensual intercourse or adults having sexual intercourse is not the same as a date rape or sexual harassment. The latter has a lot more of the consequences that you mentioned previously.Souder: I don’t think this data backs that statement up. I believe they are awful and I have worked with them, but you are not going to argue here that out-of-wedlock pregnancy and related things are less damaging overall to a life’s career than somebody who has been sexually harassed, which, by the way, may also occur in the teen pregnancy and the out-of-wedlock or non-married sexual activity.

Zenilman: A consensual adult who is actually having sexual relations and is properly informed will be contracepting.

Souder: This isn’t really a debate, and I am sorry I got us off into that. We have a substantial disagreement.

If Souder was my dad, I’d be very confused.