Congressman Christopher Lee resigns amid Craigslist scandal

Chris Lee

The Gawker leak of e-mails and photos sent to a Craigslist personals ad has caused Chris Lee to resign from the New York House of Representatives. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Christopher Lee has resigned as congressman because of a leaked photo, which he had sent to a woman he met on Craigslist. Lee is a Republican congressman from New York and in the middle of his second term. He announced his resignation seemingly to head off a scandal before it got out of hand.

False claims in personals ad response by ‘Craigslist congressman’

Christopher Lee’s resignation from the New York House of Representatives was the culmination of events that began on Craigslist. Photos were leaked to popular site Gawker.com, according to the Washington Post. Lee responded to a personal ad on Craigslist by an unnamed woman who lived in Maryland. In the ad, the woman asked “will someone prove to me not all CL men look like toads?” Lee, beginning his second term in the House of Representatives, wrote her back claiming that he was a lobbyist on Capitol Hill and that he was younger than his actual age of 46. The two bantered back and forth, but the ruse was discovered once he sent her pictures of himself.

Pictures lead to Gawker leak

When Lee sent shirtless pictures of himself, his Craigslist correspondent asked if he habitually sent pictures of himself topless, and he said that it was “all I had.” As the two kept e-mailing each other, eventually she asked about his marital status, to which he replied that he was divorced. Lee is married and has a son. Vaguely recognizing the photograph, she searched the internet for his name and discovered he was actually older than 40, married and a congressman from the 26th District of New York. She sent the e-mails and pictures to Gawker.com, and the news broke.

Gawker forces resignation

Gawker.com published the pictures and the e-mails on Wednesday., Feb. 9, and the story quickly gained online momentum. Lee wrote a letter to John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, notifying him that he was resigning within hours of the news breaking, according to NPR. A clerk read the letter aloud on the floor later in the day. A special election will have to be called by Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, to replace him.

Sources

Washington Post

NPR

E-mails and photos on Gawker

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