May 18th, 2010
12:37 PM ET
13 years ago

Indiana congressman resigns after admitting to affair

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Souder is stepping down from Congress."](CNN) –Rep. Mark Souder, R-Indiana, abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday, after acknowledging that he “sinned against God” by engaging in a relationship with a member of his staff.

The 59-year-old married father of three, who just won a competitive primary, said he will leave office at the end of the week.

"I believe it is the best decision for my family, the people of northeast Indiana, and our country,” an emotional Souder said at a news conference in his district. “I will submit my resignation to Speaker Pelosi effective this Friday.”

Souder, politically a social conservative, made the stunning revelation that he had an inappropriate relationship outside of his marriage but offered no more details.

"I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff," he said. "In the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C, 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," he added.

Souder won the GOP primary two weeks ago, but failed to receive more than 50 percent of the vote. He was first elected to Congress in 1994 and represents the northeast region of the state.

Souder has been married to his wife, Diane, since 1974. The couple has three grown children and two grandchildren, according to a biography on Souder's web site.

"I am so ashamed to have hurt those I love," Souder said. "I am so sorry to have let so many friends down, people who have fought so hard for me."

Kevin Smith, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, said the Ohio Republican "has been perfectly clear that he will hold our Members to the highest ethical standards.”

Souder's announcement comes two months after Rep. Eric Massa, D-New York, stepped down after admitting to groping male staffers.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer dismissed claims Republicans dealt more swiftly with Souder than did Democrats with Massa.

"As soon as I found out about Massa I said, 'You need to go to the ethics committee. If you don't, I'll do it within 48 hours.' He went and three weeks later he was gone," he said.

"They're trying to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse,” Hoyer added. “And I don't think that's appropriate. There were two different situations, entirely different."

Souder easily won re-election in 2008 and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, beat then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in the district by 13 percentage points in that year’s presidential contest.

Tom Hayhurst, a doctor in the Fort Wayne area, won the Democratic primary in the district earlier this month. Hayhurst ran against Souder in 2006, losing by a 54-46 percent margin. For now, it is unclear who will be the GOP candidate in November.

The seat will remain vacant until a special election is held, the date of which is to be determined by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, according to the Indiana Secretary of State's office. The parties will determine which candidates appear on the special election ballot by caucus.

Filed under: Mark Souder • Popular Posts
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Chris~Albany, NY

    Kevin Smith, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, said the GOP leader "has been perfectly clear that he will hold our Members to the highest ethical standards.”...Really? What about Vitter, Ensign and Craig??? All remaining in office after a lot of crazyness that would get any Dem. booted...just look @ Spitzer!

    May 18, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. scott

    that means this race went from lean repub to a tossup.this is one of the many seats the dems lost n 1994 now they got a chance 2 retake the seat

    May 18, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. Donnatella

    Another family values hypocrite caught in the act, I wonder if Fox News will put a D by his name to fool the idiots that tune in to finish off what is left of their brains.LOL!!!!!

    May 18, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. Paul from Phoenix

    See Ya Loser!

    May 18, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Larry

    Boehner will hold the GOP to the highest ethical standards?

    Thanks! I haven't had a laugh like that in a long time.

    May 18, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. If We Can Defeat Him On Healthcare, It Will Be His Waterloo

    wake up, read the news, another Republican hypocrite, life goes on.

    May 18, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. Home 2 Alaska

    HYPOCRITE alert! Do as I say, not as I do, GOP Party.

    May 18, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. Alex

    You know, I have no problem with these guys having affairs. That's between them and their mistresses/boytoys. However, what I do have a problem with is when they get all high and mighty about family values and morality. Just admit you're human and do your job.

    May 18, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Hongli

    I always wonder why Americans vote for the Republican Party with all these "SICK" men around making wrong decisions all of the time.

    May 18, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. Bob, VA

    Good riddance to this fat, hypocritical slob.

    May 18, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Dave Harris

    Why are the personal lives of their members so important to the Republican Party? They're supposed to be the party of limited government, but they're like old busybodies gossiping about each other and raking the muck. Do they really think they can convince us that they're morally superior to anybody with this kind of behavior?

    May 18, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Henry Miller PHD is an idiot

    shocker, a family values republican not living up to the family values montra? next time i hear a republican preach family values or even fiscal conservatism (another hypocritical issue) i think i am going to ralph.

    May 18, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. PalmReader

    Another *family values* guy bites the dust . . . Gotta love those hypocritical *highest ethical standards* Boehner keeps preaching.

    So, GOPers, how is the pole dancing/bondage club patronage, D.C. hookers, hiking in Argentina, rent-a-boy luggage carrying, mistress pay-offs, bathroom stall shoe tapping, extra marital affairs thingys working out for ya?

    Y'all might want to rethink the whole family values gig . . . it doesn't seem to be working out to well.

    May 18, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Mike, FL

    We all are human beings and we do make mistakes. My only problem is that these so called conservatives present themselves as holier than others and come off as Hippocrates when they get caught doing exactly what they preached against.

    May 18, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    We still have Rep. Senator Ensign and Rep. Gov. Sanford. What is the big deal about family values republicans and their affairs at tax payers expense? As a republican, this guy could have milked this for years.

    May 18, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. S. Studenberg

    The ego on these guys is ridiculous. `The best decision for my family, the people of Indiana and our country.` These people are such idiots they should all be chased out of politics. They have no respect for their family, then how could they be trusted in representing the electorate. I say nobody should vote in this election. Give the morons a constitutional crisis to solve.

    May 18, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    As for Boner and his highest ethical standards, it is apparent that lying, bribes for votes, misrepresentation, and saying "Hell no!" to the American people is acceptable for republicans.

    May 18, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. Stu

    There's a Dem pickup.

    May 18, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Another lying cheating republican who was elected on his family values. Pro war-anti abortion republicans only want people killed in war.

    May 18, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    And we would expect anything different from a member of the party of "No!"

    May 18, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Texas Granny

    EXCUSE me (shaking head), did I read correctly? ..."the GOP leader has been perfectly clear that he will hold our Members to the highest ethical standards.”

    It's about time. We'll see just how serious & truthful they prove to be. The GOP has really missed the mark for a long time now. It'll be interesting to see if they really stick to this.

    May 18, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. Terry - Brownsburg, Indiana

    Send all of the incumbents home. It does not matter if they are Republican, Democrat, or Independent, send them all home. The founding fathers never intended that elected office become a career. These folks are all controlled by PACS, Lobbyists, and Corporate America. Term Limits are needed, and all PACS and Lobbying banned, period.

    May 18, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. CEvans, Texas

    Another imperfect human being!!

    May 18, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. FactCheck

    Oh lookie, another Republican cheater. Between guys like him, the money grubbing/abstinence doesn't begin at home queen Sarah Palin, and the teabaggers, the GOP is doing such a fine job of being the party of morality. Judging by their ever-diminishing base, by Nov 2010, they'll become the party of yesterday.

    May 18, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Thea2b

    Another Big surprise. When will the public understand how hypocritical and anti public the republican party is??? And mike.... please do not use the words staff or member in your future press releases. Im sure John King will be all over this and how it will be the demise of the party on November....oh...whats that, he is a republican...never mind says John, nothing to see here! lololololol

    May 18, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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