Sacramento, Calif. A scandal involving a family-values legislator caught boasting about his sexual escapades with his lobbyist mistresses created an embarrassing distraction for lawmakers Thursday, further diverting attention from California’s major policy issues in the crucial final days of their session.
Republican Mike Duvall resigned Wednesday after a videotape surfaced in which he described to a colleague in lurid detail his sexual conquests, including a spanking fetish, the skimpy underwear of one mistress and his carrying on two affairs simultaneously. He sought to deny the affairs on Thursday.
The fallout from the scandal began to emerge, with calls for an outside investigation in addition to the internal ethics probe to determine whether the alleged affairs might have influenced his votes.
California lawmakers, who face growing public distrust and few accomplishments for the year, were hoping for a flourish of activity on major issues such as water and prison reform as their regular session drew to a close this week.
But the scandal filled the Capitol with gossip and distracted many legislative staffers from the more important business at hand, while further tarnishing the image of an institution that is seen as increasingly ineffective.
“This is a real black eye,” said Derek Cressman, regional director for the government watchdog group Common Cause. “I think it’s imperative that the leadership of both parties take this very seriously and address it in a fast and strong way.”
The videotape shows Duvall during a break from a July 8 committee hearing detailing his extramarital exploits to fellow Republican Assemblyman Jeff Miller of Corona. He is overheard on an open microphone bragging that he slept with an energy industry lobbyist who wore “eye-patch underwear” and that he enjoyed spanking her when they hooked up. He told Miller, a longtime friend, that he also was sleeping with another lobbyist.
“Oh, she is hot!” Duvall said about the second woman, who has been identified by Capitol sources as a one-time lobbyist for several different interest groups.
Duvall said Thursday his “decision to resign is in no way an admission that I had an affair or affairs.” The 54-year-old married father of two issued a statement denying he had affairs.
“My offense was engaging in inappropriate storytelling and I regret my language and choice of words. The resulting media coverage was proving to be an unneeded distraction to my colleagues, and I resigned in the hope that my decision would allow them to return to the business of the state,” he said in a statement posted on his Web site.