(CNN) – A group of House Republicans were scolded last year for their behavior during a fact-finding trip to Israel, including skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee, a spokesman for GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor said late Sunday after reports of the incidents were published online.
"Twelve months ago, [Cantor] dealt with this immediately and effectively to ensure such activities would not take place in the future," Cantor spokesman Doug Heye wrote in a statement.
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On Sunday Politico reported that 30 GOP lawmakers went on the trip to Israel in August 2011, some with their families. At least one traveled to Israel with his wife, who was more than eight months pregnant. According to the report, many of the lawmakers, their aides, and family members took a late night swim in the Sea of Galilee in various states of undress.
The report said Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas went swimming completely nude. He apologized in a statement to Politico, writing "regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit."
"It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize," Yoder continued in the statement.
The wife of a second congressman, Rep. Ben Quayle of Arizona, wrote in a statement to CNN that neither she nor her husband had any knowledge of the skinny dipping incident.
"Ben and I and our daughter Evie were there together that evening in the Holy Land, although I was eight and a half months pregnant with her," Tiffany Quayle wrote. "We were neither party nor witness to any of the inappropriate behavior described in the article, nor were we a part of, or aware of any inquiry. We did return to Arizona with some water from the Sea of Galilee to baptize Evie after she was born."
Other lawmakers named in the Politico report included Rep. Steve Southerland of Florida, Rep. Tom Reed of New York, Rep. Jeff Denham of California and Rep. Michael Grimm of New York. . The report also indicated that the FBI initially looked into the incident.
The Sea of Galilee is an important religious site for Christians, and is where the Bible says Jesus walked on water and fed 5,000 people.
A spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is charged with electing Democrats to the lower chamber, wrote in a statement Monday the Israel antics looked "more like a scene out of Animal House than a delegation of Members of Congress representing America in Israel – one of our most important security partners."
“Republican leaders knew that these House Republicans’ behavior was inappropriate and wrong, but kept the FBI investigation under wraps for more than a year," DCCC communications director Jesse Ferguson wrote. "What other inappropriate, embarrassing behavior have Republican Members of Congress been engaged in that Republican Leaders are keeping under wraps? It’s getting harder and harder to keep track of this House of Scandal given how many House Republicans face FBI investigations.”
CNN's Kate Bolduan and Greg Morrison contributed to this report.
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Was their behavior illegal? If so, then they should turn themselves over to the Holy Land authorities for whatever punishment comes with the crime. If not, who gives a flying duck?
This would seem to be an issue for Republicans because, well, they're Republicans. They tend to get their panties in a wad over insignificant stuff like this. Nudity? God forbid!! We can't have that! Not when unborn children are present!
So what??? And I'm anti repug.
That's the Republicans for you. We get some people acting like free human beings, swimming in their birthday suit in the waters of the planet. I began to think there's hope for the Republicans after all. They do know real freedom, joy and communing with nature. But by criticizing them, the leadership has quelled any hope of their revival as spiritual and free beings who love life and the earth.
I would hope for a party that would glorify and praise such action, showing envy for doing such a beautiful thing as swimming in the Sea of Gallilee – or any sea for that matter. But not the Republicans. They criticize it. Oh, well. I guess there is no hope for them, after all.
This is Horrible!!! I could understand if he was caught smoking crack or buying prostitutes
We all know that republicans keep their eyes closed when confronted by nudity.
Who cares about the swim. YOUR TAX DOLLARS are paying for the "dealing with it" or "the covering it up" or whatever.
Was Congressman Adkin of THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY committee there, were there any "legitimate conceptions" there in the "holy land."????????? Nobody said you had to vote this year, if you don't like Obama, it doesn't mean you have to vote for these nuts.
The bigger issue is why does our government, and elected officials, continue to grovel before Israel? Israel, throughout it's entire existence, has been a taker – never, ever a giver...
If a Democrat had done it the republicans would have blown a gasket condemning it. But since it was a republican – well, what a naughty boy.Boy's will be boy's. No big deal. Hypocrites. Start to finish.
I guess this is considered scandalous behavior to Republicans. Next, a GOP Congressman will be scolded for showing a bit of ankle in public.
Who cares how members of Congress swim? This is only a big deal to their prudish religious constituents. The rest of us couldn't care less. Although it seems weird to go swimming nude with people you work with and their families.
Has anyone asked the Israeli`s how they feel about this ? I mean isn`t what they think more important here. Another point to be made here is how the Christians have responded to this , It seems it was all handled quietly and respectfully . I can only imagine what would have happened if they swam nude in waters that were touched by Mohammed ,Christians would have been murdered in retaliation.
Even democrats will have a hard timing spinning this kerfuffle into anything meaningful
I have no problem with skinny dipping. I do care how other countries view our government representatives. I also have a problem with the action and them tying "Christian conservative" to themselves. Hypocrisy seems to fall short in descriptive terms.
When is Darryll Issa going to call for one of his witch-hunt investigation?..............oh, it's the religious right GOP, so this is okay? NOT!!!!
This incident happened a year ago. Other than the upcoming election, what is the point in dragging it out now? I saw nothing in this article to suggest it bares repeating. This is a cheap shot at republicans, nothing more. I disagree with many republican viewpoints, but this time I would have to side with them. Move on.
Its not a big issue but when the Republican party and the people they serve always bring religion into politics and try to legislate morals then their behavior in public becomes questionable.
This is a case of welfare people who never work other wise they would been doing the country business instead horse around. Enough said.
Drunken Skinny dipping at a Holy site. To think, little Evie was baptised with that water.....
Big deal. Who cares! This should not even be a news item. (I'm a Democrat, btw.)
Thanks, Mr. Cantor, for your candid, Republican-style, admission...a year after the fact. Much like GWB who, on his way out the White House door, told the people of the United States that they'd been in a recession for a year.
These guys say and do opposite things. Reminds me of the Bush years when GOP'ers were guilty of ethics and moral issues one after another.
people are concerned about swimming in the buff? get a life!
you travel in bad company when you hang with cantor and his ilk.
What's offensive is them pouring "yoder" water on their kids head!