WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The FBI is investigating whether Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney broke any laws or misused federal money when he hired a mistress to work in his office, a senior federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press.
Federal agents also are examining whether a second affair Mahoney was having with a high-level official in his Florida district was the reason behind his decision to push for federal emergency funds for her county, the official said.
The person spoke to The Associated Press only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
The FBI is looking into whether Mahoney hired the first mistress — and put her on the federal payroll — so she would not reveal their affair, the person said. The woman, Patricia Allen, has not returned calls for comment.
The agency also wants to know whether any sexual favors were exchanged for Mahoney helping Martin County secure a $3.4 million reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for hurricane damage there while having a second affair with a high-level county manager.
The second affair was confirmed by a person close to Mahoney's campaign. Mahoney has not returned calls for comment and repeated attempts to reach the manager have been unsuccessful.
Mahoney won his seat two years ago while promising to return morals and family values to Washington after former Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Foley resigned amid revelations that he sent lurid Internet messages to male teenage pages on Capitol Hill. Foley was later cleared of criminal wrongdoing.
Mahoney is embroiled in a tough re-election challenge in a district that traditionally leans slightly Republican.
Though Mahoney has not directly addressed the affairs, he said in a statement earlier this week he takes "full responsibility for my actions and the pain I have caused my wife Terry and my daughter Bailey."