Republican Congressman Mark Souder of Indiana announed his resignation today after he copped to an affair with a female aide. “I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff,” Souder told reporters at a press conference at his congressional office in Ft. Wayne. The former staffer to Dan Coats (the once and hopeful future Senator from Indiana) told Minority Leader John Boehner Sunday about the affair, who asked Souder to resign, Politico reported. It wasn’t long ago that members could have affairs and survive them — ahem, David Vitter, Bill Clinton and Henry Hyde — but in the wake of Mark Foley and Eric Massa it seems both parties’ tolerance for such shenanigans has decreased. “Boehner has been perfectly clear that he will hold our Members to the highest ethical standards,” Boehner spokesman Mike Steel, said in an e-mail.
Souder once said he is “most defined by the fact that I’m an evangelical Christian.” As he told interviewer with the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette: It “isn’t like it takes away all problems. It’s just that you get a peace about the problems.” Souder, a former leader of the Conservative Action Team, hails from a solidly GOP district. He just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fending off two primary challengers, though, upset by his votes to support the bank bailout and the “cash for clunkers” program and his broken pledge to serve only 12 years in Congress. His resignation could help his Democratic opponent, Tom Hayhurst, a retired pulmonary physician and Fort Wayne City Council member whom Souder beat with 54% of the vote in 2006.
TPM is reporting that woman questioning Souder in this Congressional Hearing on Abstinence Education is the purported mistress: