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In 1984, a young brunette walked into former entertainer Sonny Bono”s restaurant in Palm Springs, California and, before long, was sitting on the aging star’s lap while he looked down the front of her blouse, which was open to the waist with a clear view of both her breasts.
Within months, the brunette was Mrs. Sonny Bono. Sonny was proud of his wife’s sexy looks. On his desk, he kept a photo of her astride a motorcycle in leather hip huggers and a low-cut leather halter. Bono died in a skiing accident while in Congress and Mary Bono shocked everyone by winning his seat. She also shook up the Washington establishment with an active social life, including a fling with a country rock band drummer before marrying and divorcing one Congressman and then marrying Florida Senator Connie Mack.
But while Mary Bono’s public lifestyle may seem more California Housewife than Washington conservative, the truth is that Congress has long been more of a soap opera than the tawdriest of shows from Tinseltown. Members of Congress cheat on their spouses openly, engage in debauchery that would shame a fraternity and spend more time screwing bedmates than constituents — even though some bedmates are also constituents.
Each session of Congress is rocked by a number of juicy scandals while many others go largely ignored. It’s an old pattern that goes way back.
During the Reagan years, while Republicans railed against the “sins” of homosexuality, the chairman of the powerful National Conservative Political Action Committee — Terry Dolan — was gay and his homosexuality was the worst-kept secret in town. A number of officials of the GOP political parties were also gay.
Mississippi Congressman Jon Hinson, a right-wing Republican who campaigned against the “sins” of homosexuality, resigned from Congress after a Capitol Hill cop caught him sodomizing a male staff member in the men’s room of the Cannon House office building.
But sex and scandal were limited to gays. Texas Congressman Charles “Good Time Charlie” Wilson bragged about his endless conquests and his staff of mostly attractive women were known on the Hill as “Charlie’s Angels.”
One night at the Democratic Club on Capitol Hill, I watched an attractive female lobbyist crawl under Wilson’s table and perform oral sex while he talked with other members of Congress. Wilson even bedded the daughter of one of his Congressional district’s powerful ministers.
Republican Firebrand Newt Gingrich served divorce papers on his first wife while she lay dying of cancer in the hospital.
In 1992, 10 women came forward with stories about sexual harassment from then Sen. Bob Packwood from Oregon. His colleagues knew about the harassment for years but did nothing.
Men weren’t the only ones enjoying the favors of the willing. Female members of Congress too often demanded service from male staff members.
While I worked in Washington, only female lobbyists once told me that in DC “power is everything. Sex is secondary.” Then she invited me to her apartment.
Over the years, more than 250 women who worked on Capitol Hill have appeared nude in Playboy magazines or other publications. The list includes three former Congressional wives and more than 50 staffers. In 2004, Jessica Cutler, a member of Senator Mike DeWine‘s staff, was outed as the author of an x-rated blog that detailed her active sex life with members of Congress and a married Bush official.
She lost her job but ended up nude in Playboy and got a book deal,