The wife of former Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) has filed a complaint in a Mississippi circuit court alleging that Pickering had an extramarital affair while serving in Congress and that his decision not to seek retiring Sen. Trent Lotts (R) seat followed an ultimatum from his mistress.
Leisha Pickering filed an alienation of affection complaint July 14 that alleges her estranged husband conducted an affair with Elizabeth Creekmore-Byrd of Jackson, Miss., while living in the C Street complex in Washington, D.C.
Chip Pickering filed for divorce from Leisha in 2008, but the divorce is not yet final. The couple has five children.
Leisha Pickering alleged in the court document that the Mississippi Republicans decision to leave the House at the end of the 110th Congress came after Creekmore-Byrd told him as long as he remained in public life that she and he could not have a private life together.
The complaint also asserts that Creekmore-Byrds ultimatum led to Pickerings decision to not seek the Senate seat vacated by Lott.
Ultimately, Creekmore-Byrd gave Pickering the option to remain a public servant or become a private citizen and continue relations with her, the complaint reads.
Pickering announced in 2007 he would retire from the House the following year, citing the need to spend more time with his family.
Pickering is the third prominent lawmaker with ties to the C Street complex whose personal life has made news in recent weeks.
Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), who has lived in the house, admitted to having an extramarital affair. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has not lived in the house, but cited it as a place where he has sought spiritual consultation in dealing with his own extramarital affair. The building has connections to a Christian group that sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast.