A Louisiana newspaper claims to have surveillance video showing Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA), a married freshman member of Congress who ran for office last year as a conservative Christian with the backing of the stars of the “Duck Dynasty” reality show, “passionately embracing and kissing” one of his female staffers.
The video was published online Monday by The Ouachita Citizen, a conservative-leaning newspaper that endorsed McAllister’s opponent in last November’s special election to fill Louisiana’s 5th District seat in the House. The newspaper, which has a paid circulation of 5,200, credited an “anonymous source” with providing the surveillance video of what it described as an “extramarital encounter.” According to the Citizen, the video shows McAllister kissing a woman the newspaper identified as Melissa Peacock — McAllister’s district scheduler — at his district office in Monroe.
McAllister’s office did not respond to requests for comment from TPM. (See update below.) Attempts to reach Peacock were unsuccessful. According to the Citizen, McAllister’s chief of staff promised to provide the newspaper with a statement by noon Monday, and then did not.
The Citizen describes at length the ways in which McAllister touted his Christian faith during his campaign. On his campaign website, McAllister listed “faith and family” at the top of his “issues” page, and touted his 16-year marriage to his wife. The couple has five children. During the campaign, McAllister scored endorsements and campaign support from stars of the TV show “Duck Dynasty.” He also invited one of the show’s stars, Willie Robertson, as his guest to this year’s State of the Union.
According to the Citizen — which denounced McAllister as a “liberal” in an editorial last fall — Peacock and her husband, Heath Peacock, donated a combined $10,400 to McAllister’s campaign. The paper endorsed state Sen. Neil Riser (R), who also had the backing of the Republican establishment. (McAllister came out in favor of Medicaid expansion during the race.)
After his election win, The New York Times wrote an article about McAllister focused on the fact that he had never set foot in Washington, D.C. before being elected to Congress.
“Just remember I ran a little to the left of my opponent, but my opponent was so far to the right you couldn’t help but be a little bit left,” McAllister told the Times. “We’ve got to make government work, and you’ve got to take every bill, every amendment, every vote and figure out how does this affect your district first. And then you’ve got to figure out how does it affect the country as a whole.”
Update 5:22 p.m.: McAllister issued a statement Monday afternoon saying that he was asking for forgiveness “from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve.” The statement did not directly address the content of the video itself, or the identity of the woman in it.
Watch the video, courtesy of The Ouachita Citizen (www.ouachitacitizen.com):