Lee apologizes to donors, pledges refunds
March 14th, 2011
08:37 AM ET
3 years ago

Lee apologizes to donors, pledges refunds

(CNN) – Chris Lee, the New York congressman who resigned his post abruptly last month after it was revealed he had posted shirtless photos of himself on the website Craigslist, is now refunding the money he raised during 2010 and formally apologizing to more than 1,100 donors.

"I regret very much how my actions affected my family, staff and constituents," writes the Republican in a letter that some recipients received last week, according to the Buffalo News. "I make no excuses for my behavior. It was wrong."

Lee quickly stepped down last month hours after the gossip website Gakwer posted a shirtless photo of Lee which the ex-congressman had reportedly sent to a woman he met on Craigslist. Lee, who is married and has a son, said in a short statement at the time that he had made "profound mistakes."

"Now, as a private citizen, my first priority is to try and pull back together a life for my family," Lee also wrote in the letter to former contributors. "God willing, with the continued support of family and friends, it will happen."

According to a filing with the Federal Elections Commission at the end of 2010, Lee has nearly $750,000 cash on hand and raised more than $1.7 million last year. In an interview with the Buffalo News, Lee pledged every contributor would be refunded in full.

Lee, whose district ran north and east of Buffalo, easily defeated businessman Philip Fedele in November. A special election has been set for May 24 to fill the seat. New York State Assembly member Jane Corwin, a former businesswoman, has the support of the local GOP chapter while Democrats have yet to announce support for a candidate.


Filed under: Chris Lee • New York
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Refunding the money is a good start. He needs counseling to help him work through why he would do such a dumb and risky thing, given his public job and the effect his behavior has on so many people, including his family.

    If I were married to him, I'd give him six months to get his act together and then Buh-Bye!

    March 14, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. Carol Auburndale, Fl

    So much for those "Family Values". What a joke!!

    March 14, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Gotta love those family value Republicans!!!!!

    March 14, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Mikey

    Wow!!! Someone who actually takes responsilbility. I am simultaneously impressed and stunned.

    March 14, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Incredible that someone in Congress would behave in such a manner.

    March 14, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. Alina77

    He didn't have sex with any body but he resigned, at least I respect that. Many other Republicans were in their worst behavior (and yet some were reelected (by their so called "conservative base", one of those "cowboys" actually running for President- Gingrich. IF YOU RUN YOU CAMPAIGN on family values and doing opposite, please have the guts to admit the mistake and get the hell out of politics.

    March 14, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Ken in NC

    Ya gotta love that "FAMILY VALUE PARTY". They preach Family Values all day long and after night fall it's like the retirn of the vampire until one is exposed Then after a royal screw up it's all "I'm sorry". "I faltered". "I had a moment of weakness" or "My parents paid the victimes $96,000 to make easy the pain I caused but it was not hush money". That would be wrong. It's like listening to the preacher on Sunday morning and seeing him at the Whore House on Sunday night where he quickly claims he is seeking their salvation. Gimme a break.

    March 14, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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