A recent congressional letter has me putting two and two together.
First, let me post an article excerpt from The Hill out today:
[mc_name name=’Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’J000255′ ] (R-N.C.) wants to avoid the possibility of a member of the new House GOP leadership resigning from office because of a scandal.
In a letter to House GOP Conference Chairwoman [mc_name name=’Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001159′ ] (R-Wash.), Jones asked that Republicans discuss urging candidates for leadership to drop out if they might one day embarrass the party because of past indiscretions.
“With all the voter distrust of Washington felt around the country, I’m asking that any candidate for Speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican Conference, and the House of Representatives if they become public,” Jones wrote.
Jones, who’s served in the House since 1995, offered former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston, who ran for Speaker in 1998, as examples. Both Gingrich and Livingston admitted to extramarital affairs.
“Some of the most difficult times have been when our Republican leaders or potential Republican leaders must step down because of skeletons in their closets,” Jones wrote.
“As members of the House of Representatives, we need to be able to represent the will of the people unhindered by potentially embarrassing scandals.”
At first glance, this might just be seen as a cautious effort by Jones, simply advising potential leadership candidates to think about more than their personal ambitions.
And I would have taken it that way, had I not already read some convincing rumors dug up by investigator Charles C. Johnson. Now I have the feeling that Walter Jones knows something that he isn’t quite willing to go public with.
According to Johnson, [mc_name name=’Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001165′ ] is in the midst of an affair with Congresswoman [mc_name name=’Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’E000291′ ], who like Jones represents North Carolina.
Johnson cites North Carolina and D.C. sources that claim knowledge of the affair. Also cited as evidence are the frequent campaigns events held by the two together, as well as this 2011 piece from The New York Times:
McCarthy, who can’t stand the sight of blood, appreciates the ex-nurse’s toughness. Ellmers is one of nine women in this high-testosterone freshman class and has to find her own way of being heard. She barraged McCarthy with e-mails and phone calls saying she saw little sense in the G.O.P. leadership’s decision in June to send the White House a message by bringing to the floor a ”clean” (or condition-free) debt ceiling and then resoundingly voting it down. Sometimes when Ellmers is talking to the whip and doesn’t think she’s getting through to him, she claps her hands loudly in front of his face. Sometimes McCarthy giggles and claps back.
To be clear, none of this conclusively proves an affair. But it makes a lot of sense that someone like Jones would have knowledge of it and seek to prevent a major scandal for the GOP ahead of the 2016 election.
At the very least, this needs to be investigated fully before McCarthy is anointed the next Speaker.