Another Florida sex scandal

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I think part of the requirement of being a libertarian is that you have to be very suspect of all politicians. Let me make this personal. I once deemed it safer to walk home alone after midnight in my not-the-safest neighborhood rather than accept a ride from one of the senators I was hanging out with. I'm always surprised that people place their hopes and dreams in the political class considering how completely corrupt and immoral the group is. I'm sure there are exceptions, but how do you know which ones are the exception, you know?

All of which is to say, we have another sex scandal on our hands! And in a delicious twist, it involves the congressman who was elected to replace Mark Foley after he was embroiled in that famous 2006 sex scandal linked to Congressional pages and IM software (not in that order).

This new scandal hasn't gotten a lot of media coverage but ABC News has had some coverage. In a blog post that featured the image depicted above, the story mentioned lots of juicy details:

West Palm Beach Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL), whose predecessor resigned in the wake of a sex scandal, agreed to a $121,000 payment to a former mistress who worked on his staff and was threatening to sue him, according to current and former members of his staff who have been briefed on the settlement, which involved Mahoney and his campaign committee.

Mahoney, who is married, also promised the woman, Patricia Allen, a $50,000 a year job for two years at the agency that handles his campaign advertising, the staffers said.

The story goes on to note that Democratic leaders are aware of the affair and the settlement. There's also this:

The affair between Mahoney and Allen began, according to the current and former staffers, in 2006 when Mahoney was campaigning for Congress against Foley, promising "a world that is safer, more moral."

At the time, Mahoney's campaign ads featured a picture of him with his wife, Terry, with the line, "Restoring America's Values Begins at Home."

The story talks about some of the ethical problems such as the hiring of Allen at taxpayer expense and the phone call he made firing her. Friends say she broke off the affair when she learned he had other extra-marital relationships going on concurrently with theirs. After she was fired, she threatened to sue the Congressman for more than $1 million.

Anyway, this is all very interesting but it's interesting how the faith and values of the Congressman aren't mentioned at all. As the reader who sent in the story wrote:

For ABC News to include a Campaign Flyer that lists "Faith and Family" and to never refer to the faith of a congressman accused of an affair seems a little bit negligent.

It would certainly help to know.

It's also interesting to me the disparity in coverage between Mahoney and Foley. The two situations are different -- Foley was inappropriately IMing teenage boys while Mahoney was engaging in extramarital affairs. Foley was hypocritical for sponsoring legislation aimed at protecting adolescents from predators and Mahoney is hypocritical for claiming he would remove the ethical cloud caused by Foley. But when Foley's tawdry exploits were unveiled two years ago, it was huge news and might have played a role in devastating Republican electoral hopes that year. I really doubt that Mahoney's sexual indiscretions and pay-offs will register. And I'm curious about why this is. Why do some sex scandals generate so much media coverage and others don't? 

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