The Varieties of the Sex Scandal

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 26 2011 2:59 PM

The Varieties of the Sex Scandal

The resignation of David Wu brings the number of resignations in this Congress to five. Only one resignation -- that of Jane Harman -- had nothing to do with a sex scandal. But let us take a closer look at those sex scandals.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

David Wu (D) - Accused of "inappropriate sexual contact" with a girl who was either 18 or 19 years old.

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Chris Lee (R) - Revealed to have been trolling for dates/sex on Craigslist with a fake identity; more reports would reveal, after he resigned, that he was especially interested in transgendered people.

Anthony Weiner (D) - Flirted, using his phone to send shirtless and crotch-bulge-revealing photos, with young girls. One girl -- who did not receive sexually explicit photos, but was contacted -- was in high school.

John Ensign (R) - Had affair with a friend's wife and shuffled money and jobs around to cover it up.

In three cases, the trigger for the resignation was not a revelation of sex. Lee and Weiner were flirting; Wu was doing something else. The commonality between Wu and Weiner is that no scandal can be survived if the words "high school girl" appear in it.

 

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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