Archive for Monday, August 20, 2012

Rep. Yoder apologizes for nude Sea of Galilee swim

August 20, 2012, 9:18 a.m. Updated August 20, 2012, 1:51 p.m.


U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder

— A Republican congressman representing Kansas has apologized for embarrassing his supporters by swimming naked at the holy site of the Sea of Galilee while on a fact-finding mission to Israel.

Freshman U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, 36, has not been charged in the Aug. 18, 2011, incident in which he and about 20 other lawmakers and staff members jumped into the water. POLITICO reported Sunday that he was the only one among them who wore no clothes.

"It's an embarrassing situation, and I regret it," Yoder said during an interview on public radio station KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Mo. "I know that many constituents out there are sort of scratching their heads, saying, 'What is this guy up to? What was he doing? What was he thinking?'"

Yoder had been scheduled to participate Monday in a discussion on energy policy at an oil and natural gas industry convention in Wichita, but he did not attend. However, he did the radio interview at the station's studio, accompanied by his wife, Brooke.

Some Christians consider the Sea of Galilee a holy site because they believe Jesus walked on water there. Swimming in the lake is permitted but public nudity is not allowed, according to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

"If someone walks around the beach naked, that's an offense," Rosenfeld said in Jerusalem. He said no official complaint had been made against Yoder, but it was possible he could still be charged even a year later.

"If that kind of incident takes place and someone makes an official compliant, we'll investigate," Rosenfeld said Monday.

Kansas Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon called Yoder's behavior "inexcusable" and said if the incident had occurred in Kansas, he would be forced to resign. She later issued a statement calling for him to step down.

"I'm astonished these people think they can go on these junkets like this and no one will know what they do," Wagnon said.

The Aug. 13-21 trip was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charity whose mission is to provide grants for educational programs and conferences, and to educate politicians and influential people about the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

"At the time, it seemed very spontaneous," Yoder said. "Somewhat afterwards, maybe the next day, I started thinking that maybe that wasn't the smartest decision."

Yoder said it was dark and he was in the water for only about 10 seconds. He said his wife was with him but did not go into the water. He said members of the party jumped in individually, not as a group, and not everyone did.

"I jumped in, was in for 10 seconds, jumped back out," Yoder said during his radio interview. "Just in and out — just to have the experience, really."

Yoder acknowledged that he and his wife had wine with dinner before the incident but added, "Alcohol really played no role in the decision to go in. It was really a spontaneous moment with members at the Sea of Galilee, which is obviously a special place."

Yoder said in his radio interview that Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the senior Republican on the trip, was "very frustrated and upset" over the swimming and scolded delegates for their behavior.

Yoder's sole opponent in the upcoming general election is Libertarian Joel Balam, of Overland Park. Yoder served in the Kansas House from 2003 through 2010 and was chairman of its Appropriations Committee. He also is a former University of Kansas student body president.

In February 2009, Yoder, then the Appropriations Committee chairman, was cited by the Kansas Highway Patrol for speeding and refusing to take a breath-alcohol test following an early-morning traffic stop on a state highway in the Lawrence area. He later pleaded guilty to refusing to take the test and paid a $90 fine.

The traffic stop briefly caused ruffles during his successful 2010 run for Congress, but Yoder's campaign said he'd refused to take the breath test because he'd passed another field sobriety test and wasn't driving under the influence.

Wagnon promised that Democrats would field a strong candidate against Yoder in 2014 and would remind voters of the incident.

"I'm just sorry I don't have anyone running against him, and it isn't for lack of trying," Wagnon said.

Associated Press writers Blake Sobczak in Jerusalem and Roxana Hegeman in Wichita, Kan., contributed to this report.


SageonPage 5 years ago

Really? No explanation, such as I wanted to swim but not get my clothes wet, or I did it on a dare, just I was only in 10 seconds like this helps at all. This will be fodder for political enemies for a long time for a silly mistake.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

It'll be alright, sage. Soon, you'll find a way to admire his hypocrisy again, since it's a trait the two of you have in common.

Jefferson_County 5 years ago

What is not pointed out more clearly in this article is one aspect that other media outlets are reporting - that also among the other lawmakers and staff were the daughters of some of the other congressmen. Very poor judgement - too bad he's unopposed. And Politico is a conservative outlet.

beatrice 5 years ago

Silly mistake, or really bad judgment on the part of someone elected to represent others? If this were a private business trip, this employee would likely be fired.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years ago

Brings a whole new meaning to the term "drunk with the Holy Spirit". He is human after all.

akuna 5 years ago

Actually Dems don't hate Fox for being conservative. Fox is hated because they lie and sue for the right of their "journalists" to lie. A well founded counter argument is embraced by most liberals. Bold-faced lying is not.

blogme 5 years ago

Pass me some more of THAT Koolaid Kansas Liberal. Soledad O'Brien reading from the Talking Points ring a bell???

blogme 5 years ago

Pass me some more of THAT Koolaid Kansas Liberal!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

So, does that mean you want to believe there is no such thing as a liberal media, but you think that drinking koolaid is the way to get there, rather than reviewing the facts, as others have done in arriving at that conclusion?

ksjayhawk74 5 years ago

You mean when Soledad confronted John Sununu for the lying about Medicare cuts and countered with the actual facts?

That's not being Liberal, that's being a professional journalist.

Facts do have a well known Liberal bias so I can understand why you're upset.

geekin_topekan 5 years ago

Desecration of the holy by white people? Color me shocked!

meggers 5 years ago

How right you are. Remember, he refused to take a breathalyzer back in 2009 after he was pulled over for speeding:

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years ago

"Human after all"?????? YOu got documentation on this?

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years ago

You are right, purely speculative on my part. I give most people the benefit of the doubt. The sentence was meant to represent sarcastic surprise at the fact he is capable of making mistakes despite his self-righteous, God fearing stance and intolerance of others that do not believe in his choice of religion. That's all.

kufan1146 5 years ago

I wouldn't care two ways if he had some drinks and went skinny dipping in a friend's backyard - in fact, that would be great, congressmen definitely need to lighten up, but since this was a business trip representing the US in another country at a holy site, it's a big deal.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Bottomline-- you only want dirt on Democrats, not on Republicans, and you want fairy tales about what RyanRomney would do if elected.

Ceallach 5 years ago

It was definitely bad judgment on Yoder's part (not a trait we look for in our representatives). But, considering where most congressmen do their dipping -- the Sea of Galilee seems pretty tame.

bad_dog 5 years ago

A "one eye", in the vein of "Grumpy Old men"?

jaywalker 5 years ago

What the hell does skinny dipping have to do with "family values"?

ksjayhawk74 5 years ago

Skinny dipping in front of girls, while visiting a holy site...

beatrice 5 years ago

Why should s/he try again? Do you really think it okay for anyone, let alone conservative men, to strip naked in the presence of children and wives of colleagues? How exactly does that fit in with your take on conservative family values?

Jay, it looks to me like you are just trying to defend a Republican for no reason other than he is a Republican.

jaywalker 5 years ago

"Do you really think it okay for anyone, let alone conservative men, to strip naked in the presence of children and wives of colleagues?"

No point in conversing with someone who'll make up anything just to make the point a tad more scurrilous. And if you're really looking for "family values" - which we both know you could give a rat's heinie about unless it opens the possibility of ripping into "the other side" - he disrobed away from the group in front of his wife. But let's not let the facts get in the way of a good, useless, pointless bile fest.

beatrice 5 years ago

I don't care for family values? Where did I ever write anything of the sort? I just don't believe in the Bible thumping version.

Glad to know you were there to confirm that he was "away from the group." Hopefully you kept your clothes on.

By the way, if he was so far away from the group, how did we find out? Are you really saying Yoder himself let the story leak? (rolling my eyes)

dncinnanc 5 years ago

The other missing point to this story is the timing of the debauchery.. This was right after the Tea Party nearly caused a global economic meltdown by even debating the debt ceiling, and also just after the US credit rating was downgraded by the S&P. Doesn't sound like an appropriate time for our reps in Congress to be living it up, does it?

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

There are times for apologies and there are times for resignations. This is a time for the latter.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

"Amid calls for an investigation Frank asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate his relationship "in order to insure that the public record is clear." The Committee found no evidence that Frank had known of or been involved in the alleged illegal activity and dismissed all of Gobie's more scandalous claims."
(From the NY Times)
Keep drinking the KoolAid, Sage. And you better go look up that old baseball bat if you're going to keep up with the gay bashing.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Frank was certainly guilty of bad judgement in the company he kept, but the facts (something that are clearly foreign to you) are that he had nothing to do with this "prostitution ring."

But your rehabilitation of Yoder is well under way. Way to go!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Yep, the cozy relationship between the financial industry and Congress ran deep, and Frank is likely guilty of playing that game. But that begs the question of why you felt the need to repeat the lies about his participation in a prostitution ring?

And what does it have to do with Yoder skinny-dipping in Israel? (Rhetorical question-- I know it's just part of your rehabilitation campaign for some guy named Kevin.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

I don't think that this should result in Yoder's resignation.

But if I were an uptight Republican voter, I'd certainly find his behavior hypocritical, at best.

chootspa 5 years ago

"Some Lib?" Bwahahahahaha! You so do not ever read anything by that poster.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Hiring a prostitute is not the same thing as running a prostitution ring, which is what you initially contended.

bad_dog 5 years ago

Yes, this truly isn't one of Sage's better reincarnations.

WilburM 5 years ago

Oh come on. this was stupid, and tasteless, but resignation? Hardly. In the end, it may make him a better legislator. (and this is coming from someone who disagrees strongly with most of Yoder's policy decisions/votes).

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

We hire (elect) representatives to use their best judgement when deciding the important issues of the day. If this is an example of him using his best judgement (drinking, skinny dipping, maybe in front of others who might not want to see that, maybe at a site people might consider holy, etc.), then we're in trouble.

It's unfortunate that in today's political climate that I feel it necessary to disclose that I'm no liberal calling for this resignation based on a differing ideology. I'm not a Democrat making this call for partisan reasons. I'm calling for his resignation as a consequence of his actions.

BTW - I am very troubled that it's taken a year for this incident to become public. Had it been known, a legitimate challenge to Mr. Yoder could have been mounted. But the delay in reporting as virtually assured the fact the we voters will not be given the chance to force consequences on him. Hence my call for him to do what we voters might well have done had we had all the information.

beatrice 5 years ago

I agree with the first part, but I don't believe it warrants his resignation. However, people should know the type of judgment Yoder is capable of.

Centerville 5 years ago

A tough one for the Boomers - since they spent a big part of their early adulthood doing this (thouth not in the Sea of Gaililee).

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

Yeah. No. I did my share of this in my youth but I didn't do it in the Sea of Galilee and I sure as heck wasn't a government representative on a tax payer funded trip. Not tough for me at all.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

Heehee! I saw what you did there :D

CheneyHawk 5 years ago

Why does Goerge Castanza come to mind from Seinfeld???? - "It's shrinkage. I was in the pool! I WAS IN THE POOL!

gccs14r 5 years ago

So why is there no D on the ballot this time? Did his opponent end up in the 2nd with redistricting?

purplesage 5 years ago

What juvinile behavior for a U.S. Congressman! The 10 second thing reminds me a bit of a student who tried pot but didn't inhale and later became President.

I have had several thoughts on this. One is what were they thinking - Yoder and the rest of the entourage? What is a U.S. fact finding delegation getting soused in Israel? Why is the FBI involved? Was this criminal or an immature, sophmoric lapse? And if it wasn't criminal, why is it being reported? Of course it has to include that he is a conservative, but isn't that a given being from Kansas?

I hear he is unopposed for reelection and of course, he is now recipient of all the benefits of serving in Congress. I don't like it - and I'm a conservative Republican.

Clark Coan 5 years ago

That reminds of when Billy Carter, Jimmy's wayward brother, urinated on the Wailing Wall. Billy's Beer! He was a registered foreign agent for the government of Libya.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Yoder has always seemed like a grade A-1 d-bag. I've heard so many things about him and not one of them good. This didn't surprise me in the least.

LogicMan 5 years ago

"Yoder is unopposed for re-election in Kansas' 3rd District."

Not even a single Democrat will run against him? That's impressive, or scary.

Tom McCune 5 years ago

Excellent! Let's all vote for the Libertarian.

Richard Payton 5 years ago

I got to vote for Yoder in the primary. I wonder if Clinton will endorse him while smoking a cigar.

RoeDapple 5 years ago

Rumor has it he was born naked too! In front of nurses and everything!

beatrice 5 years ago

Does his birth certificate verify this?

Fatty_McButterpants 5 years ago

The next report will be of him peeing on a statue of the Buddha because no one appeared to be around, he really had to go, and it was only for about 10 seconds or so...

blindrabbit 5 years ago

While Diana Nyad swims 90 miles from Florida to Cuba looking for Fidel Castro; Kevin Yoder swims nude 10 feet into the Sea of Galilee. Several possible explanations: (1) He was testing to see if his right-wing beliefs were strong enough to allow him , like Jesus, to walk on water, (2) Since Eric Cantor, a Jewish member of congress, and leader of the group wanted to see if Yoder was Christian or perhaps a candidate for conversion to Judism, (3) Yoder wanted to see if he could float, but later realized that was not Galilee but The Dead Sea instead, much to his embassasment, (4) Since he was voted one of the most "hot" members of Congress, he wanted to impress both members of Conress as well as their wives with his physic (5) wanted to see if he could repeat the story if by catchiing a few fish he could therefore convert them into masses enough to feed them all, (6) wanted something more sensational to deflect comments about his refusal to take a blood/breath test from a suspected DUI incident last year (7) Wanted to see how much loyalty his conservative constituents in Johnson County were willing to put up including his bigoted ways, (8) Since his original baptism did not take, he wanted a re-do!

Steve Jacob 5 years ago

I've said it before, and I will say it again, any knucklehead can win a congressional election. Look at Yoder, Todd Akin, Ron Paul, Paul Ryan, ect. Winning statewide elections is a whole different story.

beatrice 5 years ago

Paul Ryan should not be on your list. I may not agree with some of his ideas, but he is no knucklehead, thank goodness.

beatrice 5 years ago

If someone had a cell-phone picture of this event, this representative would likely already be out of office.

Ya gotta love the "only 10 seconds" excuse, like that matters. Try that excuse on a judge some day. Besides, if you are tipsy and out partying, it is going to take more than 10 seconds to strip, dip, and dress.

chootspa 5 years ago

Or some Israeli agent could have taken a pic for blackmail purposes.

jaywalker 5 years ago

Doesn't matter which side of the aisle, this string further proves that it's never ok to let a non-story remain a mole hill. What a waste of bile.

beatrice 5 years ago

Yes, I am very sure that if the story was about Nancy Pelosi stripping naked in front of Democratic families during a congressional trip you wouldn't even bother reading the story.

Admit it, it is a Republican so you think it isn't worth a story. Could you be more transparent?

Topple 5 years ago

Could you be more transparent in your blatant prejudice against anything Republican?

beatrice 5 years ago

You mean, like when I defended Paul Ryan as not being a knucklehead just above? As I recall, Ryan is a Republican.


jaywalker 5 years ago

"Doesn't matter which side of the aisle...."

Read the whole post and THEN spew your brand of bile. Besides, I'm not a Republican. BTW, you're creeping perilously close to bozo's MO of inflating stats and manufacturing "facts" in a transparent effort to further your argument. Do better.

beatrice 5 years ago

That is okay. I know you are creeping perilously close to telling me to "seek help," as you so often do.

Topple 5 years ago

Wow. Who friggen cares? This is really making international news? Maybe the lesson here is people need to get over the naked body stigma. We could learn something from European countries who are much more open about sexuality. Something I would expect Liberals to be able to appreciate. But I forget, he's a Republican, which explains all the Liberals on here crying for his resignation, punishment, etc. etc. Just proves all they care about is that he's a Republican.

beatrice 5 years ago

It isn't the naked body that is bothersome, it is the situation. The fact that a Republican got naked in front of co-workers and their spouses while on a business trip to a foreign nation while representing America apparently doesn't bother you tells me you will allow a Republican to get away with anything simply because they are a Republican.

pace 5 years ago

He got drunk, he got naked, probably didn't mean to show his fruit to some young girls. His first response was, it was because of the sacred nature of the sea?

beatrice 5 years ago

Even if he didn't know some young girls were there, he had to know that at the very least the wives of his co-workers were.

How well you think something like this would go over on a private business outing?

As Mitt Romney says, he likes to fire people. If this had been Romney's company outing, I suspect Yoder would have been looking for other employment.

jayhawklawrence 5 years ago

I guess you have to laugh at this one and if you were not completely brainwashed you would have to laugh at the absurdity of conservative politicians who spend so much time preaching moral arguments about the evils of our society while their real work is padding the pockets of rich constituents.

I guess I am curious why a visit to the holy land would inspire such carnality among our nation's best and brightest.

Bob Forer 5 years ago

I really wouldn't give a damn about his drinking and skinny dipping if he didn't wear his right wing so-called "family values" persona in huge letters around his neck. His actions violated his professed values and renders him an unmitigated hypocrite. It doesn't surprise, as it seems many right -wing politicians are shameless opportunists who talk the talk to get the vote, but never walk the walk. His duplicity, and not his actions per se, warrant condemnation

tolawdjk 5 years ago

Let me fix that for you...

I guess I am curious why a visit to the holy land would inspire such carnality among our nation's "best and brightest".

Just have to use some spare quotation marks from our resident punctuation master.

Synjyn Smythe 5 years ago

I applaud Yoder. If I was at the Sea, any Sea, with my wife and I was wearing a $2500 suit and $3000 alligator shoes, you bet I'd strip down to dive in!

beatrice 5 years ago

Don't forget, you are also with a bunch of co-workers and their spouses. Still stripping down in front of your co-workers?

patkindle 5 years ago

geez louise, count your blesssings, at least he didnt pull a Todd Akin

Tom McCune 5 years ago

Everybody write in The Tan Man. Even the Tan Man keeps his shorts on when the ladies are around.

secrettoalonglife 5 years ago

"I jumped in, was in for 10 seconds, jumped back out," Yoder said during his radio interview. "Just in and out — just to have the experience, really."

Yoder acknowledged that he and his wife had wine with dinner before the incident but added, "Alcohol really played no role in the decision to go in. I remember saying that to the officer.... In February 2009, Yoder, then the Appropriations Committee chairman, was cited by the Kansas Highway Patrol for speeding and refusing to take a breath-alcohol test following an early-morning traffic stop on a state highway in the Lawrence area. He later pleaded guilty to refusing to take the test and paid a $90 fine.

The traffic stop briefly caused ruffles during his successful 2010 run for Congress, but Yoder's campaign said he'd refused to take the breath test because he'd passed another field sobriety test and wasn't driving under the influence. I must have been driving much faster...90 bucks with no DUI?

Katara 5 years ago

I think it bothers me more that he claims the decision to strip nekkid & hop in the Galilee was done while he was sober.

turn12358 5 years ago

Wow. The sotted fool went into the Sea of Galiliee, balls out for all to see within peeking distance, and his best explanation is "Just in and out. . .just to have the experience, really". And that helps 10 second man's case how? The over-aged frat boy just made it sound worse by making it sound like he was having sex with the sea when he should have been setting a good example overseas. So unimpressive and immature. . .

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