Huffpost Politics

Tom Marino, Pennsylvania GOP Congressman, Denies Sea Of Galilee Skinny Dip

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 Rep. Tom Marino (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call via Getty Images)
Rep. Tom Marino (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- Did somebody say McDonald's?

Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) said he did not attend a nude, late-night swim with Republican colleagues in the Sea of Galilee during a trip to Israel last summer, according to 1070 WKOK News Radio. He opted instead for a fast-food dinner at a nearby McDonald's.

“Tom was not part of this incident that occurred on August 18, 2011. In fact, he did not even take part in the dinner that preceded the incident, choosing instead to join with a few others to eat at a McDonald's near the Sea of Galilee," said a statement released by Marino's staff. The trip for the Republican members of Congress was funded by the American Israel Education Foundation.

Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) and more than 20 other people, including GOP Congress members, their families, and staff, jumped into the Sea of Galilee, either fully or partially clothed, according to Politico. The swim was legal, though it has led to embarrassment for the participants.

The FBI has investigated. No charges have been reported. Politico said that at least six GOP members of Congress participated, including Yoder, Reps. Steve Southerland (Fla.), Tom Reed (N.Y.), Ben Quayle (Ariz.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), and Michael Grimm (N.Y.). Marino was among a larger group of freshmen congressmen on the Israel trip.

Yoder continues to enjoy a sizeable fundraising advantage, over his Libertarian challenger, Joel Balam. Yoder has more than $1.2 million in funds, while Balam has only $2,000.

Democrats have asked Yoder to step down. "Rep. Kevin Yoder's grave error of judgment calls into question whether he is fit to serve Kansas and our nation," said a statement released by the office of Kansas Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon. "It is beyond inappropriate for a sitting congressman, acting in his official capacity, to strip naked in the presence of other congressmen and their families."

An aide to Democrat Phil Scollo, who is challenging Marino for Congress, said in a statement on Monday that the Israel trip “sounds more like a frat party than a respectable congressional delegation.”

“The people who Rep. Tom Marino represents deserve to have questions answered about this trip, starting with: why were dozens of members of Congress partying it up at a $1,000/night resort in August 2011 when the U.S. unemployment rate was at 9.1% and Pennsylvania families and seniors were struggling to make ends meet,” asked Will Sharry, Scollo’s campaign manager, in a press
release
.

10 more election stories from beyond the presidential field:

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Bean And Weinstein Set Spending Record In GOP Primary For Florida State Senate [Florida Times-Union]

Steve King (R-Iowa) And Christie Vilsack Compete For Iowa's 4th Congressional District At State Fair [NPR News]

Kansas House Member Withstands Recount, Wins By Just 8 Votes [KSN News]

Freshman Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) Visits Every County In The Quaker State [Politics PA]

Shadow Spending From Conservative Organizations Finds Way Into Florida Senate Race [Marketplace.org]

Rhode Island Retirement Board Position Has 10 Candidates Competing For The Post [Providence Journal]

Kim Vann Enlists The Help Of John Boehner To Help Unseat Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) [ San Francisco Chronicle]

Montana Gubernatorial Race To Intensify In The Coming Months [The Montana Standard]

Female Dems Winning The Fundraising Battle Against Their Republican Opponents [Las Vegas Sun]

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