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What’s With All the Sex in the City?

Richard Drew/AP Photo
Rep. Anthony Weiner may face an ethics investigation after he admitted Monday to sending sexually explicit photos and messages to women online.

After originally insisting that his Twitter account had been hacked, the New York Democrat confessed Monday that he sent several lewd photos over the Internet to six women during the past three years, saying he had done "a regrettable thing."

While it's unclear how "Weinergate" will play out, so far the lawmaker has said he will not resign.

Weiner is just the latest New Yorker to face potential ramifications for getting caught with his pants down.

For Lee, who had been a rising GOP star, it was a case of getting caught with his shirt off. The married Republican sent a shirtless photo from the waist up to a woman he'd met online.

Lee resigned hours after the photos became public, and his disgraceful exit served as comic fodder for politicians on the trail during the special election to replace him in the 26th district. (Now-Rep. Kathy Hochul won that election, handing the Democrats another seat in one of the state's most conservative districts.)

During the campaign, third-party candidate Jack Davis reduced the Lee incident to little more than a running joke.

"Jack would always joke that, 'I promise I'll work hard and I won't take my shirt off,'" said Ellis, who served as Davis' campaign manager.

Other scandals haven't been so funny. Another upstate lawmaker, Massa, who became known as "Rep. Tickle," resigned in March 2010 after it became public that he had used inappropriate language directed at staff and also allegedly groped a male staffer.

Former Rep. Vito Fossella (R) opted against running for re-election in May 2008 after it was exposed that he had a child out of wedlock with a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel.

It's not only Congressional New Yorkers who have faced scrutiny over their sexual conquests. Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) resigned in 2008 after having sex with a prostitute. After taking office, his replacement, David Paterson (D), also copped to having had extramarital affairs and using drugs.

And New York has a long history of lawmakers facing charges of corruption. Former Rep. Fred Richmond (D) is an infamous example. Richmond faced charges in 1978 for soliciting sex from a 16-year-old boy, and he later resigned his seat as part of a plea agreement for getting caught with marijuana and for making an illegal payment to a government employee.

Still, getting caught in a scandal is not necessarily a career-ender. Former Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., who was expelled from the House after using official funds to pay for personal travel, was re-elected in the special election that had been set to replace him.

Powell famously asked his supporters to "Keep the faith, baby," a motto that was later used as the title of a TV movie about his life.

Perhaps Weiner may want to keep Powell's slogan in mind.

Steve Peoples contributed to this report.

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