2.10.11 --- What the snaps??Another day, another Washington sex scandal.
Rep. Chris Lee resigned from the House Wednesday evening effective immediately, an announcement that came just hours after a Web site reported that the married congressman had sent a shirtless image of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist.
"I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents," Lee said in a statement announcing his resignation. "I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness."
The woman who unwittingly forced married upstate Rep. Chris Lee from office says she doesn't feel bad because she assumes he has a history of cheating on his wife.
"You never get caught the first time," the 34-year-old woman, who wants to remain anonymous, told TheLoop21, a black issues blog in Washington.
"Chances are he's probably met more women online," she said. "Cheaters eventually get caught. He didn't have to resign. He made that choice himself."
She noted that the congressman was stupid enough to use his real name and an email that led to his Facebook page when he answered her Craigslist personal ad.
"The lesson is: if you're going to do dirt, do it anonymously. People cheat everyday, but only dumb people get caught," she said.
TheLoop21, which was written by a friend of the woman, describes her as a single, successful African-American "leggy glamazon" who works for the government and spends her weekends "sharing cocktails in posh spots" with her friends.
Fed up with the famously abysmal dating scene for women in Washington, the woman idly posted her ad on Craigslist's "Women Seeking Men" section last month, looking for men who didn't "look like toads."
"I was bored one day. And I posted a tongue-in-cheek post on Craigslist basically trying to see what was out there," she said. "I wanted them to prove to me that they were not trolls...I thought it would be fun to see what type of men would send me their photos."
She got 30 responses. Among them was a Gmail from Lee, who called himself a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist and a "very fit fun classy guy."
Lee is a married, now ex-congressman, from western New York with a young son. He is 46.
Congressional sources told the Daily News that Lee's party animal rep spread quickly on Capitol Hill after he won election in 2008.
He was warned, both privately and publicly, to knock it off, political sources said.
House Republican Leader John Boehner even gave Lee a primo seat on the influential Ways and Means Committee in an effort to set him straight.
"The deal was: you get a seat on Ways and Means, you clean up your act. He didn't do it. Gone, goodbye," one source said.
Lee's downfall began when he sent the woman a photo that she complained was so generic it looked like "a JC Penney's ad."
"I just assumed it was a fake person sending me a fake photo," she said.
So Lee sent her a shirtless snap, showing off his sculpted chest. She was impressed. She went to look him up on Facebook.
"I didn't expect to see anything out of the normal," she said. Then I saw that his employer was listed as the United States Congress.
"First reaction was holy sh*t. Second was, he's probably done this before. Third was, he's married. Fourth was, oh my God, he's 46," she told TheLoop21.
She giggled about it with friends for a few weeks, then sent on the emails and photos to the gossip blog Gawker.
Gawker posted the correspondence and embarrassing photo on Wednesday at At , Lee announced his resignation "effective immediately."
The woman told Gawker Thursday that she had a message for Lee's wife: get tested.
Besides the late night parties, Lee also had a rep for getting too cozy with lobbyists. He was among a group of five House Republicans and three Democrats, including Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens), who were cited by the Office of Congressional Ethics for possible violations last year.
The eight - who were eventually cleared of wrongdoing - would meet with Wall Street lobbyists at a townhouse off Capitol Hill on days when key votes on financial regulation were coming up.
Despite the history, Boehner denied ordering Lee to quit.
"Congressman Lee made his own decision that he thought was in his best interests and in the interests of his family," Boehner told reporters Thursday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have to call a special election to fill the seat, which is in a solid Republican district.