Skinny Dipping In Holy Water With GOP Frat Boys Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm And Kevin Yoder
So aside from the Akin rape scandal yesterday, there was another bit of GOP congressional news embarrassing Republicans and making them look like the Animal House Party. Short version: a bunch of GOP yahoos got a free luxury trip to Israel from AIPAC and got boozed up and went for a late night swim in the Sea of Galilee. So far there is no credible evidence that they tried to kill a hog and hold a big luau on the beach. Steve Southerland (R-FL) had his daughter along on the junket but he didn't seem to mind that right-wing lothario Kevin Yoder (R-KS) was running around waving his dick in everyone's face.
The FBI probed a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee that involved drinking, numerous GOP freshmen lawmakers, top leadership staff-- and one nude member of Congress, according to more than a dozen sources, including eyewitnesses.
During a fact-finding congressional trip to the Holy Land last summer, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) took off his clothes and jumped into the sea, joining a number of members, their families and GOP staff during a night out in Israel.
Yoder, who gets arrested for drunken driving from time to time, was intoxicated and feeling his oats because Gawker had named him Congress' "hottest freshman." His competition, Tom Reed, was also there but was persuaded to keep his clothes on. He wallowed around in the lake with his clothes on. Yoder is lucky that Ben Quayle, an Arizona pornographer, who was also stinking drunk and participating in the festivities, didn't make a quick YouTube of him. Yesterday, reportedly sober, Yoder said, “It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize.” Travis Smith, Yoder’s chief of staff, said “Neither Congressman Yoder, nor his staff, have been interviewed by the FBI.”
What did any of this have to do with the FBI anyway? Well if you look at the list of freshmen AIPAC gave the free junket, you'll find one the FBI always tails, Mafia figure Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm. As we reported a couple weeks ago, Grimm was on his merry way to Cyprus. He ditched the AIPAC junketeers and went on a trip paid for by a Cypriot-American criminal, Panicos Papanicolaou, who was subsequently arrested. Grimm, who followed House rules by reporting that AIPAC paid for the Israeli portion of the trip, broke the rules by trying to cover up that a Cypriot crime family was paying for the other part of the trip.
Papanicolaou accompanied him on the trip, as did Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Staten Island Republican who issued a news release about it. They met with the president of the Republic of Cyprus, the foreign minister, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, and other dignitaries.
According to an itinerary that was belatedly filed with the House of Representatives on July 23, the first full day of the weeklong trip featured lunch with Mr. Papanicolau at his home.
While the same prosecutor, Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Capozzolo, is handling both the investigation of Mr. Grimm and the case against Mr. Papanicolaou, it is not clear whether the investigation into Mr. Grimm has examined his ties to Mr. Papanicolaou.
Mr. Papanicolaou was arrested on a criminal complaint June 5, and court papers in his case indicate that he has been discussing a plea deal with prosecutors, though they provide no details.
Mr. Papanicolaou’s lawyer, Paul Schoeman, declined to comment.
According to an F.B.I. affidavit, Mr. Papanicolaou came to the attention of authorities as part of a pay-to-play scheme that has engulfed the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development since Wendell B. Walters, a former assistant commissioner, pleaded guilty to bribery and corruption charges.
The government claimed that Mr. Papanicolaou persuaded a travel agency to rebate $12,390 in charges that the assistant commissioner put on his American Express card for a Greek honeymoon in September 2007, so that Mr. Papanicolaou could pick up the tab.
Cantor and McCarthy were on the very pricey AIPAC junket to Israel too-- a form of blatant bribery that Congress allows-- but the drunken freshmen and staffers didn't invite them to their trip to the Sea of Galilee. Cantor was informed about their inappropriate behavior the next day by the FBI but he didn't do anything except scold them.
The American Israel Educational Foundation, a group related to AIPAC, the prominent pro-Israel advocacy group, sponsored the trip, which ran from Aug. 13 to Aug. 21, 2011. The trip cost AIEF upwards of $10,000 per person, according to records filed with the House Ethics Committee. More than 60 people took part in this AIEF trip.
These trips to the Holy Land are a rite of passage for members of Congress, as they visit the most sacred sites in the Jewish and Christian faiths-- while their Israeli government hosts drive home the huge importance of U.S. support of Israel. That’s partially why, when the trip devolved into drinking and merrymaking, Cantor was livid.
...On the Israel trip that included the late night swim, the group of lawmakers on Aug. 18 departed the posh David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem for Tiberias, a historic seaside town located on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. On the night in question, the GOP group checked into Scots Hotel, where rooms could run up to $1,000 each night. At 8:45 p.m., they headed to Decks, a popular restaurant located on the sea, according to an itinerary filed with the House Ethics Committee.
As dinner was winding down, Cantor and McCarthy left the restaurant, but the most of the other lawmakers and staff stayed behind, and the drinking continued, according to several sources who attended the dinner.
After what they describe as a “long, hot day,” more than 20 lawmakers and senior aides decided to jump into the sea, sources said. Some went in wearing all their clothes, although others partially undressed.
Yoder removed all his clothes, the only person to do so, according to multiple sources.
Some of them said they just jumped into the lake because they were hot and sweaty and drunk. Others claimed they were overcome with religious fervour, calling it a "biblically significant sea." It may not be, however. I suspect Grimm and Yoder and the rest of these clowns don't watch Simcha Jacobovici, "the Naked Archeologist" of the History Channel. He has this one episode of Secrets of Christianity in which he pretty much proves that the Sea of Galilee wasn't the setting of Jesus' boat trip to Gadarenes after all. It was Spain. In fact, it was probably the Balearic Islands, where the kind of behavior Yoder-- if not Grimm-- was demonstrating is much more accepted, appropriate and widely practised.
There is a quaint perception that Jesus spent his entire ministry-- prior to going to Jerusalem where he was crucified-– in northern Israel, walking along the shores of a tiny fresh water lake called the “Sea of Galilee.” But is this historical reality or theological fantasy?
It is explicitly stated in the Gospels that Jesus undertook an adventurous sea journey to a place called “the land of the Gadarenes.” Where is this place? Why did Jesus go there? And why has this story been covered up for over two millennia?
I hope someone asks Yoder-- or even Grimm. Den-mother Paul Ryan scolded both of them yesterday: "I think it's reprehensible. I think it's another terrible mistake by individuals. This is unbecoming of a member of Congress. It's behavior that shouldn't be tolerated. I think they know that."
Grimm's first conversation with Boehner after he was elected was to urge him to allow Members of Congress to pack heat on the floor. Boehner blanched and has avoided him ever since.