Apparently rumors have been going around, so one of the few journalists we have left, Mike Stark, decided to ask Boehner about it directly:
It was Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) who told abstinence education advocate Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) that he had to resign from Congress after having an affair with a staffer. It was also Boehner that told members of his caucus that they had to stop using the “party house” to entertain young Republican female lobbyists.
I began hearing this from several sources last month with increasing amounts of detail, including the name of the lobbyists Boehner is supposedly having a relationship with – Lisbeth Lyons, Vice President for Government Affairs for the American Printers Association.
I decided I’d look into the story, but I hadn’t decided how to pose the question directly to Boehner. Last night, I learned the location of the House Republican Leadership’s “Pledge to America,” event.
I was able to catch up with Boehner just as he was leaving the event. His silence (which does not equal an admission, of course) in the face of the repeated question does not, it seem to me, to be one you’d expect from a happily married man confronted with an accusation of being unfaithful. Note the complete lack of outrage at being asked about allegations that are unfounded or untrue. There wasn’t even a simple “no,” to put the issue to rest.
Boehner’s reaction was indeed strange.
Since Boehner didn’t answer the question, and instead reacted so strangely — as Mike points out, as a married man, the answer to an accusation like that, if unfounded, would be pretty simple: “No.” — Mike Stark decided to ask the woman in question, Lisbeth Lyons. Here’s her equally strange reaction:
“No comment” on whether or not she’s sleeping with John Boehner?
I agree with Mike Stark: This is weird.
For the record, count me as a liberal who personally does not care what politicians are doing with their spare time — except when they use their positions of power to moralize against and vote against gay people. If they’re doing that to appease the heartland wingnuts, and then they’re cheating on their wives in their spare time, it becomes interesting. So let’s review a bit of the Boehner’s record:
Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
Voted YES on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. (Jul 2006)
Voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)
Rated 7% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
I have a feeling this story is going to get bigger, and I’m so glad that there are a few left, like Mike Stark, who will actually commit acts of journalism inside the Beltway.
There wouldn’t really have been a story here if either of them had denied it. At least then, they would be on record when confronted with the accusations. But that is not the case right now, is it?