Vance McAllister, the married Republican congressman caught on video kissing a member of his staff, has been ignoring phone calls from his own state party leaders, according to a report in the Hill. The Louisiana Republican Party is reportedly planning to ask the newly-elected representative for his resignation. However, party chair Roger Villere has been unable to get McAllister on the phone this week to speak to him personally.
Party executive director Jason Dore told the Monroe News-Star in an email that "the chairman attempted to call the congressman (Tuesday night). As far as I know, the congressman hasn’t returned his call yet. As to the purpose of the call, I’m not sure.” Villere reportedly called McAllister repeatedly from Tuesday evening through Wednesday, to no avail. The state Republican party is planning on giving its public response to the scandal sometime on Thursday. McAllister's chief of staff Adam Terry told The Hill that the congressman would basically take the next two weeks off from public life to spend time with his family. He has no plans to resign.
If precedent means anything here, the McAllister might end up rethinking that decision. The "Christian values" Republican belongs to a particular subset of sex scandal-ridden politicians: those caught in the act with a member of their staff. As Roll Call points out, four members of the House have been caught in similar predicaments over the past eight years, and all of them ended up resigning weeks after the scandal broke. Roll Call reports:
Several members in the past few decades have (at least for a while) survived their sexual transgressions, substance abuse admissions, financial improprieties or other personal failings. But the punishment for dalliances with staffers has always been a swift political death penalty — no matter whether the behavior was by a Democrat or Republican, straight or gay, consensual or predatory, back home or on the Hill.
That quick end seems to have one driving reason behind it: the threat of a House Ethics Committee investigation — the committee only has the power to investigate current members, meaning that a resignation is the easiest way to avoid further scrutiny. McAllister has been in office for so little time, however, that it's not clear what other dirt such an investigation would uncover.
McAllister won his first term in the House this past November in a special Louisiana election to replace Rep. Rodney Alexander. He ran on a conservative, family, and Christian values-based platform, winning the endorsement of the cast of Duck Dynasty. A video of the (married) congressman kissing a (married) member of his staff surfaced on Monday after a local paper acquired and published it. He has since admitted to the indiscretion and apologized.