Would you go nude hot-tubbing with Republican Rep. Kevin Garn of Utah?
Utah’s House majority leader resigned from the Legislature Saturday, two days after acknowledging he paid a woman $150,000 to keep quiet about a nude hot-tubbing incident that took place a quarter century ago when she was a teenager.
Republican Rep. Kevin Garn’s Thursday night confession came in a speech before House colleagues and stunned this conservative state. On Saturday, he apologized in an e-mail to House Speaker David Clark for becoming a distraction.
"After discussing this matter with my family, I have decided that it is in the best interests of them, my colleagues and the people of Utah," he wrote.
Garn, 55, acknowledged the indiscretion with the legal minor immediately after the Legislature adjourned for the session.
"Although we did not have any sexual contact, it was still clearly inappropriate — and it was my fault," he said from the House floor Thursday night.
Lawmakers responded with a standing ovation for his honesty and embraced him, a move some found offensive given the nature of what Garn was saying. In hindsight, the ovation may not have been the best move, but it shouldn’t be misconstrued to indicate support for unethical behavior, Clark said Saturday.
Garn told colleagues he paid the woman, Cheryl Maher, after she began contacting reporters about the incident during his unsuccessful bid for a congressional seat in 2002. Despite a confidentiality agreement, the now 40-year-old Maher began contacting local news media last week to retell her story about being naked with Garn when she was 15, he said Thursday.
It’s unclear whether Garn was 29 or 30 at the time of the incident. He’s more than 14 years older than Maher, who now lives in Derry, N.H.
This happened a quarter century ago. She was legal (at 15???). He was conservative and Republican. They were both nude. There was no sex. (Really???) He paid her $150,000 to keep silent. What could go wrong?
I honestly don’t know Rep. Kevin Garn at all. My favorite from all of this is from Utah Republican Party Chairman Dave Hansen, who says the party will bounce back from this and the January resignation of Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack following his arrest on a charge of driving under the influence.
"I would’ve preferred neither one of them had happened, obviously, but they did," Hansen said of the Garn and Killpack resignations. "But I don’t think in the long run it’s going to have any effect."
That’s a nice attempt to spin bad news, but, somewhere along the line, we all have to surrender our sanctimony, on the left and the right.
Anyhow, enjoy the vintage Eddie Murphy video.