Mahoney Denies Wrongdoing, Apologizes for ‘Embarrassment and Heartache’

Posted October 14, 2008 at 10:51am

Updated: 3:40 p.m.

Facing allegations that he paid off a scorned mistress, Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) denied on Tuesday morning that he broke any laws, but said he took “full responsibility for my actions and the pain I have caused my wife Terry and my daughter Bailey.”

“I would have come forward earlier but making sure my family is OK is far more important than any political career,” Mahoney said in a statement. “No marriage is perfect, but our private life is our private life, and I am sorry that these allegations have caused embarrassment and heartache.”

On Monday, ABC News alleged that Mahoney recently gave Patricia Allen $121,000 and promised her a job with his political consultant, Fletcher Rowley Chao Riddle Inc., after the fired staffer threatened to go public with their affair.

Bill Fletcher, the chief executive officer of Nashville-based firm, denied any wrongdoing in a statement on Monday, saying that his firm “did not agree to any legal settlement.”

“As of today, FRCR Inc. has resigned from Tim Mahoney’s campaign and permanently ended our relationship with him,” Fletcher said. “If these allegations are true, Tim Mahoney’s actions are unacceptable and not in line with FRCR’s business ethics.”

Mahoney also confirmed that he is asking the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to investigate allegations that he illegally channeled Allen the money through his campaign committee.

“I want to be clear that I have not misused campaign funds and I’m confident that when all the facts come to light, I will be cleared of any wrongdoing,” Mahoney said.

The allegations against Mahoney come as the freshman lawmaker, who was the beneficiary of Rep. Mark Foley’s (R-Fla.) sex scandal last cycle, already faces a tough re-election battle with former Judge Advocate General and Pittsburgh Steelers heir Tom Rooney (R).

Rooney and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) appeared at a news conference Tuesday morning to address the allegations. In a statement early Tuesday afternoon, Cole called Mahoney’s explanation of the alleged affair “incomplete and insufficient” and implicated Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders in a possible coverup.

“It’s clear Speaker Pelosi would like to sweep this matter under the rug through a lengthy investigation, rather than shine the light of truth on the facts,” Cole said. “Based on news reports, the Democrat Leadership had at least some knowledge of Congressman Mahoney’s inappropriate and potentially illegal behavior, which begs the question: What did the Democrat Leadership know and when did they know it?”

Meanwhile, Republicans nationally also began making political hay out of Mahoney’s woes on Tuesday morning. In an e-mail blast, the opponent of Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), former pharmaceutical executive Tom Manion (R), said that the lawmaker should return $14,000 he has received from Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel’s (Ill.) leadership PAC.

Emanuel’s office confirmed to ABC that the Windy City-based lawmaker warned Mahoney about the alleged affair in 2007.