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February 9, 2011 - 6:06pm

BREAKING: Rep. Chris Lee resigns his seat following report of sex scandal

posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, Chris Lee.

 U.S. Rep. Chris Lee, representing New York's 26th District, including Genesee County, has reportedly resigned his congressional seat following a report by Gawker.com that he was trolling Craigslist for women.

UPDATE: Chris Lee released this statement:

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.

“The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately.”

Lee became caught up in a sex scandal today when New York City-based Gawker reported the the second-term congressman was apparently trolling Craigslist for women.

According to reporter Maureen O'Connor, Lee exchanged e-mails with a woman who placed a personal ad on Craigslist in the women-seeking-men category. Lee had told her he was divorced and a lobbyist, according to the report, and in the course of the e-mail exchange he sent along a shirtless picture himself.

The woman, according to Gawker, cut off correspondance with him after doing a little Google research and finding out who he really was. She then contacted Gawker thinking it was a 'humorous story."

There's no allegation in the story that Lee actually "hooked up" with that woman or any other woman through Craigslist.

UPDATE: Here's how the Washington Post reported it:

Lee experienced his fall from grace in a single afternoon, undone at the speed of the digital age. At lunchtime Wednesday, he was an obscure but promising second-term congressman. Then, at 2:33 p.m., the Web site Gawker.com posted an alleged e-mail exchange between a man who used Lee's name -- but identified himself as a divorced lobbyist -- and an unidentified woman. Gawker reported that the two had met through the personals section of Craigslist.

After that, the familiar cycles of a Washington sex scandal were compressed into a blur of tweets and news alerts. There was confusion, a hint of denial, then a pledge from Lee to "work it out" with his wife.

By 6 p.m., a clerk was announcing Lee's resignation in the House chamber.

John Roach
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New York State is starting to make this a habit of politicians doing this.
Bea McManis
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http://www.thealbanyproject.com/ The story hit just hours ago. There was a weak response from his office and now he's gone.
Lori Silvernail
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Oh my! Well at least those annoying telephone robot calls will stop!
Bea McManis
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Posted by John Roach on February 9, 2011 - 6:09pm New York State is starting to make this a habit of politicians doing this. Politician is the key word. I will always remember him stating that if he was ever called a politician he would resign. The picture of shirtless Lee is priceless. http://bataviablogmistress.blogspot.com/2011/02/rep-chris-lee-r-ny26-cau...
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As a Republican who voted for Chris Lee, called his office and wrote to him on numerous occasions, I am glad he resigned immediately. I have zero tolerence for infidelity from an elected official of either party. My take has always been that if you will lie to your soulmate, you will tell your constituents anything. Perhaps it is time to consider some sort of automatic recall procedure when politicians hang on after being caught in this crap. Why John Ensign from Nevada is still in office is an embarassment. I'm in favor of the "one strike" rule when it comes to sexual scandal from a married politician.
John Roach
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Lori has a good point. I hated those calls and emails.
Peter O'Brien
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Meh Special election or wait 21 months?
bud prevost
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Nice job Chris. WTF were thinking? If you wanted side action, why put yourself in the public eye? I mean, let's be real, you don't need the money. So why subject yourself to public scrutiny by running for(and winning) a seat in the House of Representatives? I can honestly say right now, I am appalled at how dumb you think we all are. Craigslist...really, dude? You couldn't pony up the coin like Spitzer and at least spring for a prostitute? I am disgusted at the lack of judgment, the display of moral disrespect to your wife and family, and your lack of RESPECT for your seat in Congress!!!! And you know what, I'm sure you could care less about my tirade here, but it's the same shit, different day, and we as NY'ers get the brunt of it, in how other states view us. I am truly, truly disheartened beyond words right now. First Massa, now him in the span of a year. Now what, Mr. Lee. You just made redistricting a whole bunch easier, sir. Un-fucking-real
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Please don't blame Chris Lee for this. It is the kind of thing that happens all of the time in this nation of depraved gluttons. America did not lose it's moral compass, it threw it overboard. America, morally bankrupt, and on the path to financial bankruptcy. Someday, in the not too distant future, school students will read about the rise and fall of this once great nation. In Chinese textbooks. It must all somehow be George Bush's fault!
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Assbook, email and the internet have been the down fall of many a good man, plus a thousand times as many not so good men. And women for that matter. I'm thinking of going back to real mail and printed material. Real mail because I'm too lazy to ever actually send a real letter and newspapers because I've written three letters to the editor in my entire life but I have commented on several thousand letters to the editor, online, that other people wrote. It sometimes makes me feel scuzzy, especially when I find myself hating haters and then realize that I'm one of them.
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Well now I know why I never received a response to e-mails I sent to his office. You want to be disappointed with the man and his poorly made decisions, but at the same time you're not really surprised because it does seem to be a trend with politicians in New York. Maybe his replacement will be able to respond to correspondences from the constituents of the 26th district.
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George your comment made me laugh.
Dave Meyer
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Barber Conable is probably spinning in his grave. Chris Lee...what an a-hole!! I mean seriously, I don't know what I can add to what Bud said. What is it with this district? First Tom Reynolds...maybe the greasiest politician I've ever seen and now this? Whaddya say 26th district voters?? Maybe give a Democrat a shot? How much worse could he/she be?
Mike Kelly
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Well,at least he will still receive his pension and health care FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE.
Howard B. Owens
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WHAM-13's Evan Dawson posted this link on Twitter: http://chrislee.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=78&sectiontree=75,78&itemi... "Private information and images can so easily be transmitted to friends and strangers alike. " And: "That’s why I recently helped pass the Student Internet Safety Act (H.R. 780), critical legislation that gives schools the tools they need to educate students on the dangers of the Internet. " Also, a friend from LA posted this to me on Twitter, which made me laugh out loud: Thing is when I lie about my occupation in the hopes of gettin' some, I lie about having a higher status job. But "lobbyist"?
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Posted by Jeff Allen on February 9, 2011 - 6:23pm As a Republican who voted for Chris Lee, called his office and wrote to him on numerous occasions, I am glad he resigned immediately. Jeff, It would have been nice if he did resign immediately, but he and his staff sent up a trial balloon trying to explain away the breaking news. It was a weak and ineffective attempt to pull the wool over his constituents' eyes. The let's blame a 'hacker' and see how it flies. "Lee's office has as yet not come up with a coherent defense, admitting that the GMail account used does in fact belong to Lee, **claiming that it may have been hacked in a security breach on January 21st.** However, flirtatious emails were sent more than a week before that, starting on the 14th, and Lee's office has not yet explained how the "hacker" would obtain a topless picture of Lee. According to metadata embedded within the photograph, it was taken by a Blackberry smartphone such as the one used by Chris Lee, and it was taken in Washington DC."
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We teach our children what to not to post on the internet, guess we have to start teaching their parents! Geeeez
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he's a married Representative - but he DESCRIBED himself to HER as a "divorced lobbyist" - so he maybe can ACTUALLY predict the FUTURE. Maybe he should be a weatherman !!!!
Tara Pariso
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I'm on the other side of this one. sure he's a shitty husband, but he did his job. who's business is it that he sent a shirtless picture? last time a sex scandal came to light we got stuck with patterson! so tell me that was better than infidelity? put a stip that to be a politician you must be single then, because it happens all over the country, ny politicians just suck at not getting caught!!
Dave Meyer
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Tara, you can NOT be serious! At a minimum, we (at least I) expect our representatives to be honest and to conduct their lives in a manner that doesn't discredit themselves or the district they represent. This A-hole essentially LIED TO HIS WIFE by living this secret life as a "divorced lobbyist" and trying to get a little 'somethin' somethin'' on the side. I don't want somebody who's representing me worrying more about getting side action in DC while the wife and kid are back in Western NY than he is about properly representing his district. At least he did the right thing by resigning. Anybody think the Democrats can field a strong enough candidate in the special election to win this seat?
Chris Charvella
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"Barber Conable is probably spinning in his grave" Yup.
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Lee did right to quit..He didn't try to fight it..It happens all the time ..Married politicians caught cheating..They don't quit .Remember Bill Clinton...Those ones have no shame..Lee must feel awful for what he's putting his family thru.He did the right thing..Like Dave said if he would lie to his wife then what kind of leader can he be..
Daniel Jones
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I wonder if there is another shoe that is going to drop. If he had affairs in New York will he be charged under "Corona's Law"? All speculation of course.
C. M. Barons
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LOL
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It looks like he's been working out...........Just wanted to say something nice. I thought the guy was a d-bag, first time I heard him speak in 2008. I guess I could care less about any affairs he may or may not have had, It's just obvious that he wasn't devoting his full attention to his constituents. US. Doesn't matter that much anyhow, This seat will be eliminated through re-districting later this year. He would've been gone in any event. Best comment so far: Posted by Irene Will on February 9, 2011 - 8:25pm he's a married Representative - but he DESCRIBED himself to HER as a "divorced lobbyist" - so he maybe can ACTUALLY predict the FUTURE. Maybe he should be a weatherman !!!!
Howard B. Owens
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http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/49202.html Quote: Lee, sources said, was one of several junior GOP lawmakers that Boehner allegedly warned to “knock it off” with regard to his partying with female lobbyists last year.
Bea McManis
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...yet, they placed him on the Ways and Means committee. Someone liked him. If they have a special election, there is no doubt that a GOP candidate will get the seat. The GOP outnumbers the rest of the field by over 20,000 votes. In the meantime, if anyone is keeping score on scandals: Dems 1 (Massa) GOP 2 (Alesi and Lee)
bud prevost
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Seriously Bea? Do you really want to open that can of worms? No mention of Mr. Spitzer? How's about Chas Rangel? What he did was criminal, yet nothing criminal came of it. I personally am disappointed with politics in general, and what it has turned into. And Dave is correct. Redistricting is going to eliminate the need for a long term replacement. Hopefully, common sense, logical geography, and a true fairness overcome the gerrymandering ways of past actions. I still marvel at the layout of the 28th district.
Bea McManis
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Bud, I was looking at the current crop, not old history. I didn't want to get into that can of worms. I thought you understood what I meant. No one is immune to acting stupid.
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Jeez, even the worst guy cheater should know enough not to use his real name. That’s like, Guy 101 stuff. That picture is humiliating….and hilarious! Love the sort of, Too-Modest-to-Really-Flex-It look. “Fit, fun and classy!” Sounds like a salesman to me!
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Bea, wheres the cutoff? Massa was last year. Spitzer was only 2 years before that. Alesi just filed a lawsuit...not really a scandal, just kind of pathetic.
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I like Chris Lee.He saved my boys lives when path-stone?HUD ?terminated us because i made a video and they said i threatened them.How come the president Clinton had Monica and it was OK?At least Chris had the gonads to tell the truth.Which doesn't happen all that often in our government does it?I do not think he should have resigned.People are human and make mistakes and this was biggie.My heart goes out to him and his family.I still think he is a great man.I had to come on here and say this.He was good to us.If everyone resigned who lied in washington whod be left??
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Bud: 25 cents in the swear jar for the f banger!

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