UPDATE: The Washington Post reported late Wednesday night, Rep. Joe Barton told a woman he would report her to Capitol Police if she “exposed his secret sex life.”
The paper even posted part of the transcript of a recorded phone call between the two.
Barton fired back Wednesday night saying this is a potential crime and “the transcript referenced in the Washington Post may be evidence.”
The statement went on to say:
This woman admitted that we had a consensual relationship. When I ended that relationship, she threatened to publicly share my private photographs and intimate correspondence in retaliation. As the transcript reflects, I offered to take the matter to the Capitol Hill Police to open an investigation. Today, the Capitol Police reached out to me and offered to launch an investigation and I have accepted. Because of the pending investigation, we will have no further comment.
ENNIS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Veteran Republican Congressman Joe Barton is apologizing to his constituents after a nude photo of him began circulating on social media.
Barton, a fixture in the Sixth Congressional District, which includes Ellis and parts of Tarrant County, was first elected in 1985.
His spokeswoman said Wednesday he isn’t stepping down and has filed to run for his 18th term in office.
Barton issued a statement about the nude photo:
“While separated from my second wife prior to my divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women. Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry that I did not use better judgment during those days. I’m sorry that I let my constituents down.”
It is unclear who posted the photo, which was part of a text message with sexual overtones.
The photo raises questions over whether the Texas law against revenge porn was violated.
Intimate photos are not allowed to be posted if they were meant to be kept private.
During an event in Dallas Tuesday, Barton appeared via Skype because he said he was in Arizona with his fiancée for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Earlier this year, Barton and two sons were shot at during baseball practice in the Washington, D.C. area, but they escaped serious injuries.
While Barton’s spokeswoman says he’s running for re-election, SMU political science professor Cal Jillson says, “It’s difficult to see how a man of his age is going to recover and successfully run for reelection. This is a very powerful push to the exits.”
Jillson believes the Congressional seat will be up for grabs.
He says he expects Barton to face a primary challenge. “There’s time for people to get in and I think there will be candidates who will jump in because even if Congressman Barton would choose to try to continue, I think he will find it very rough-going, and people will want to be there and pick up the pieces if he does get out.”
There are a number of Democrats who’ve indicated they are vying to run against Barton in the general election one year from now.
Jillson says the demographics of the district are changing, which could prompt a different outcome in the race.
One of the Democratic candidates, Jana Lynne Sanchez, issued a statement saying in part, “After the release of graphic photos online, Barton has apologized for poor judgment and letting down constituents. Barton said he was deliberating his political future.
“Texans, just like all American people, are tired of poor behavior of elected officials distracting us from the real issues affecting us – the unbearable cost of healthcare, the poor and sliding quality of public education and the lack of good jobs for our high school graduates. No matter who the Republican nominee is, I look forward to a civil and respectful campaign on the issues – not one sullied by personal attacks.””
One of Barton’s colleagues, Republican Congressman Michael Burgess of Lewisville, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, “This story is disturbing, and moving forward I expect Mr. Barton to make the correct decision for his constituents and his family. I’m saddened for everyone involved.”
Here are the images:
Barton joined the U.S. House in 1985. He’s the longest-serving member of Congress from Texas.