Admitting an affair with a staffer, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) announced his resignation at a Fort Wayne press conference today — and, in a comment not in his prepared statement, managed to briefly play the role of moralist by condemning philandering politicians who ask their wives to appear with them.
“My family were more than willing to stand here with me — we are a committed family. But the error is mine and I should bear the responsibility,” Souder said. “And, quite frankly, I’m sick of politicians who drag their spouses up in front of the cameras, rather than confronting the problem that they have caused.”
And in another departure from his prepared remarks, Souder seemed to hint at some possible allegation of legal impropriety:“I’m resigning rather than put my family thorough a painful drawn out process, of which any legal question would have been clearly resolved and I would have been exonerated. But the political price to pay, and the personal price to my family, was not worth it.”
Fox News has reported that Souder’s conduct could have landed him in front of the ethics committee, for reasons that are not clear.
Here’s the full prepared statement:
It is with great regret I announce that I am resigning from the US House of Representatives, as well as resigning as the Republican nominee for Congress in this fall’s election.
I believe it is the best decision for my family, the people of Northeast Indiana, and our country.
I will submit my resignation to Speaker Pelosi effective this Friday.
I can never fully thank all those who have worked so hard, given so much and supported me through eight contested primaries and eight general elections.
Only when you have been the recipient can you really feel the humbling power of such generosity.
It has been a privilege to be a part of the battle for freedom and the values we share.
It has been a great honor to fight for the needs, the jobs, and the future of this region where my family has lived for over 160 years.
It has been all consuming for me to do this job well, especially in a district with costly, competitive elections every two years
I do not have any sort of “normal” life – for family, for friends, for church, for community.
To serve has been a blessing and a responsibility given from GOD.
I wish I could have been a better example.
I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff.
In the poisonous environment of Washington DC, any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain.
I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process.
Diane and my family were more than willing to stand here with me.
We are a committed family.
But the error is mine and I should bear the responsibility.
Not only am I thankful for a loving family but for a loving God.
My comfort is that God is a gracious and forgiving God to those who sincerely seek his forgiveness as I do.
But I am so ashamed to have hurt those I love.
I am so sorry to have let so many friends down, people who have fought so hard for me.
The ideas we advocate are still just and right.
America will survive and thrive when anchored in those values.
Human beings, like me, will fail, but our cause is greater than individuals.
It is based upon eternal truths.
By stepping aside, my mistake cannot be used as a political football in a partisan attempt to undermine the cause for which I have labored
All of my adult life.
I love this area.
This is my home.
It has been such an honor to serve you.
For sixteen years, my family and I have given our all for this area.
The toll has been high.
As I leave public office, my plans are focused upon repairing my marriage, earning back the trust of my family and community, and renewing my walk with my Lord.
I humble ask you, for the sake of my family that you respect our privacy in this difficult time.
I have no further comments.