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A number of Republican Congressmen and others — including the daughter of one member and the wife of another — visiting Israel as part of a Capitol Hill junket last summer, got drunk after dinner, stripped off their clothes and frolicked naked in the Sea of Galilee at the place where Jesus was said to have walked on water.
GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas admitted the drunken indiscretion after the web site Politico uncovered an FBI probe into the night of ribald behavior and reported it Sunday.
A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit. It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was part of the “official” Congressional delegation visiting Israel in August 2011 but denies being present for the drunken evening and skinny dipping. Cantor reportedly was “livid” when he heard about the activities and called each Congressman present with a reprimand.
Said Doug Heye, Cantor’s deputy chief of staff:
Twelve months ago, [Cantor] dealt with this immediately and effectively to ensure such activities would not take place in the future. Last year, a staffer was contacted by the Bureau [FBI], which had several questions, the staffer answered those questions and that appears to have been the end of it.
Maybe not. Questions still remain abut the night of debauchery and sources tell Capitol Hill Blue that severl GOP representatives ventured naked into the waters, along with members of Cantor’s staff. Other included Florida GOP Rep. Seve Southerland and his daughter, New York Republican Tom Reed and his wife; and Republcian Reps. Ben Quayle (New York), Jeff Denham (California) and Michael Grimm (New York).
Some members claim privately they took the evening dip au natural because of the religious significance of the place where Jesus walked on water.
Others say it was booze, not religion, that drove the adventure.
“Everybody was drinking and having a good time,” a staff member supporting the trip told Capitol Hill Blue. Suddenly, clothes were laying on the ground and naked bodies were in the water.”
While neither Cantor or House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy attended the evening of fun and games, some members of their staffs were present and joined the skinny dippers in the water.
“Hey, they got drunk, they got naked and they had a good time,” says one staff member. “Everybody had a good time.”