WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A married Republican U.S. representative apologized on Monday after a Louisiana newspaper posted a surveillance video showing a man it identified as the congressman kissing a woman from his office staff.
“There’s no doubt I’ve fallen short and I‘m asking for forgiveness,” Representative Vance McAllister said in a statement issued by his office. “I‘m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve.”
McAllister, who took office last November in a special election that he won partly by touting his Christian values, made the statement after the Ouachita Citizen in West Monroe, Louisiana, posted the video on its website.
It shows a man the paper identified as McAllister walking into the frame and turning out the lights in front of an office doorway. The camera shifts into a grainy, low-light mode before a woman enters the frame. The two embrace and kiss passionately for about 30 seconds before leaving together, picked up by other security cameras in the building.
The paper said the woman was a married member of McAllister’s staff.
The Citizen said it obtained the video, which appears to be captured by a hand-held camera pointed at a multi-frame security system monitor, from an anonymous source. It said the incident occurred on December 23, 2013, inside McAllister’s district congressional office in Monroe, Louisiana.
McAllister, 40, has been married for 16 years to his wife, Kelly, and has five children. The U.S. Army veteran, who has business interests in oil, gas, pipelines and Subway sandwich shops, was a newcomer to politics when he ran to fill a congressional seat vacated last year.
After coming to Washington, he was best known for inviting Willie Robertson, the star of the hit cable TV series “Duck Dynasty” to be his guest at January’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama. Robertson, who heads the Duck Commander duck-call business, had appeared in a campaign ad for McAllister.
McAllister’s statement did not address the video directly, but he apologized for his actions.
“Trust is something I know has to be earned whether you’re a husband, a father, or a congressman,” McAllister said in his statement. “I promise to do everything I can to earn back the trust of everyone I’ve disappointed.”
“From day one, I’ve always tried to be an honest man. I ran for Congress to make a difference and not to just be another politician. I don’t want to make a political statement on this, I would just simply like to say that I‘m very sorry for what I’ve done.”
Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Peter Cooney and Eric Walsh