Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister is keeping a low profile, far from prying eyes in Washington, after a video surfaced that reportedly shows him kissing a married co-worker.
The first-term Republican, who ran on his Christian conservative credentials, skipped out on the last two day of votes on Capitol Hill to be with his family in Louisiana. No word yet on when the congressman plans to return to D.C.
A local Louisiana newspaper, The News-Star, is reporting that McAllister’s office may send a letter to the Justice Department and House Speaker Boehner, formally requesting a probe into the leaked surveillance video.
The woman allegedly seen locked in a passionate embrace with McAllister has been identified as district scheduler Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock. There have been conflicting reports on whether Peacock was fired from her job or quit, but the congressman's office claims she left on her own.
"According to Congressman McAllister, Melissa Peacock voluntarily resigned," his office said, according to NBC News.
On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said McAllister did the right thing by apologizing, but declined to comment on whether the congressman should resign.
“I think that his constituents deserve an apology. I'm glad he issued an apology,'' said Cantor, who has not personally spoken to the congressman about the issue. “I will say that the American people deserve all of their representatives here in Washington to hold to a very high standard of behavior.''
McAllister, a married father of five, didn’t mention any specifics about his extramarital dabblings in his apology statement. But he admitted a mistake, saying he’s “very sorry” for his actions and vowed to “earn back the trust” of those he’s disappointed.
“There’s no doubt I’ve fallen short and I’m asking for forgiveness. I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve,” said McAllister. “I don’t want to make a political statement on this, I would just simply like to say that I’m very sorry for what I’ve done.”
A newspaper, The Ouachita Citizen, first posted a clip online of a man they claim is the congressman, allegedly recorded at McAllister’s district office on Dec. 23, 2013. The paper said they obtained the video from an anonymous source.
McAllister, an Army veteran and owner of three Subway sandwich shops, came to Washington after winning a vacated congressional seat last year in a special election.
He first made national headlines in January for inviting “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson to be his guest at President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
While not naming any politicians by name, a newly released Quinnipiac University poll suggests U.S. voters generally dislike lawmakers who abuse power more than those who cheat on a spouse.