Monday, August 20, 2012

Cong. Steve Southerland among GOP late-night revelers on Israel trip that included drinking and nudity

North Florida Congressman Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, and his daughter, were among a group of late-night Republican lawmakers, their families, and top legislative leadership staff --including one nude member of Congress-- to take a dip in the Sea of Galilee while partying an drinking according to the FBI and more than a dozen sources, including eyewitnesses.

Congressman Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, FL
The late-night of boozing and partying took place on the taxpayer's dime during a fact-finding congressional trip to the Holy Land last summer.  Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) took off his all his clothes and jumped into the sea, joining a number of members, their families and GOP staff during a night out in Israel, the sources told POLITICO. Other participants, including Southerland's daughter, swam fully clothed while some lawmakers partially disrobed. More than 20 people took part in the late-night dip in the sea, according to sources who were participants in the trip.

Southerland's congressional district includes  FAMU, FSU, & TCC.

These GOP sources confirmed the following freshmen lawmakers also went swimming that night: Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) and his daughter; Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and his wife; Reps. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.). Many of the lawmakers who ventured into the ocean said they did so because of the religious significance of the waters. Others said they were simply cooling off after a long day. Several privately admitted that alcohol may have played a role in why some of those present decided to jump in. 

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who was the senior most GOP lawmaker in Israel on the trip, was so upset about the antics that he rebuked the 30 lawmakers the morning after the Aug. 18, 2011, incident, saying they were distracting from the mission of the trip.

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