GOP Rep. Souder Blames Affair on Lack of ‘Normal Life’ in D.C.
May 18, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Another evangelical family values Republican bites the dust amid a sex scandal. Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), a eight-term Congressman, announced his immediate resignation from office on Tuesday, admitting to a sinful extramarital affair with a part-time aide, as he invoked “a gracious and forgiving God.” In other words, he will seek forgiveness from Jesus for his temporary fall from grace and continue preaching his hypocritical family values message. In his statement, Souder blamed his affair on the lack of a “normal” life in the “poisonous environment of Washington, D.C.”
Souder came into office in the 90s, running on an evangelical Christian family values platform, during Newt Gingrich’s “Republican Revolution.” His website boasts he is “committed to preserving traditional marriage, the union of one man and one woman.”
Souder, 59, admitted to “having a mutual relationship” with a married staff member, identified as Tracy Jackson. According to Fox news, Jackson, “a woman in her mid-40s, would accompany the congressman to events and to record ads at a Christian radio broadcast station.”
Ironically, as noted by Steve Benen of the Political Animal, Jackson recently taped an interview with Souder, in which he supported abstinence only sex education, to encourage “kids to abstain from sex.”
Souder, married for 30 years, and a father of three adult children, read his prepared statement alone in his Fort Wayne office, choking back tears. According to The Journal Gazette, he deviated from his prepared statement, to acknowledge that his wife was not by his side, claiming he was taking the high road, to spare her the embarrassment. “I’m sick of politicians who drag their spouses up in front of the cameras rather than confronting the problem they caused,” he said.
His prepared statement, released all in caps, spoke of seeking forgiveness from God and his wife. He said he plans to renew his “walk with my Lord,” after he leaves office.
Below is his full statement:
“It is with regret I announce that I am resigning from the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as resigning as the Republican nominee for Congress in this fall’s election.”I believe it is the best decision for my family, the people of Northeast Indiana, and our country.I will submit my resignation to Speaker Pelosi effective this Friday. I can never fully thank all those who have worked so hard, given so much and supported me through eight contested primaries and eight general elections. Only when you have been the recipient can you really feel the humbling power of such generosity.It has been a privilege to be a part of the battle for freedom and the values we share. It has been a great honor to fight for the needs, the jobs, and the future of this region where my family has lived for over 160 years.It has been all-consuming for me to do this job well, especially in a district with costly, competitive elections every two years. I do not have any sort of “normal” life – for family, for friends, for church, for community.To serve has been a blessing and a responsibility given from God. I wish I could have been a better example. I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff. In the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain. I am resigning rather than put my family through that painful, drawn-out process. Diane and my family were more than willing to stand here with me. We are a committed family. But the error is mine and I should bear the responsibility.Not only am I thankful for a loving family but for a loving God. My comfort is that God is a gracious and forgiving God to those who sincerely seek his forgiveness as I do. But I am so ashamed to have hurt those I love. I am so sorry to have let so many friends down, people who have fought so hard for me. The ideas we advocate are still just and right. America will survive and thrive when anchored in those values. Human beings, like me, will fail, but our cause is greater than individuals. It is based upon eternal truths. By stepping aside, my mistake cannot be used as a political football in a partisan attempt to undermine the cause for which I have labored all my adult life.I love this area. This is my home. It has been such an honor to serve you. For 16 years, my family and I have given our all for this area. The toll has been high. As I leave public office, my plans are focused upon repairing my marriage, earning back the trust of my family and my community, and renewing my walk with my Lord.I humbly ask you, for the sake of my family that you respect our privacy in this difficult time. I have no further comments.”
Souder just won a tough primary battle at home and was expected to win another House term in November. But whispers about his affair began to surface during his primary campaign, which he vehemently denied, calling the allegations “revenge politics.”
The family values politician, was absent from Capitol Hill most of last week, citing an ill wife, as the rumors of a sex scandal became more prevalent. According to Fox News, the particular details surrounding his affair would have resulted in an ethics investigation.
Watch Jackson’s abstinence only interview of Souder:
Photo Credit:Frank Gray/The Journal Gazette