Work to continue normally despite Souder resignation
Even as evangelical Christian Rep. Mark Souder, R-Indiana submitted his resignation letters already, his 19 staff members will continue to work as normal.
According to FOX news, Souder submitted his resignation letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels on Thursday.
An evangelical Christian, Souder resigned over an extramarital affair he had with a staffer with whom he made a video touting the benefits of abstinence education.
However, even in his absence his 19 staffers will continue to work as they normally do. They will be supervised by the clerk of the House until a replacement is selected in a special election this year, according to FortWayne.com.
According to FortWayne.com, at least half a dozen times in a year, a House member may die or resign, sometimes in scandal and other times to run for another office. However a backup procedure referred to as a caretaker provision exists so the office can continue its normal functions.
Under this provision, no one can cast a vote on the House floor or ask a question in a committee meeting. Any administrative work that would require an elected official’s signature will be handled by someone from the clerk’s office, FortWayne.com said.
Other functions will include inquiries from constituents which may range from people with sewer system issues who don’t know where to call, or navigating constituents on how to deal with federal agencies. They may also referee misunderstandings that may arise between a constituent and a federal agency, FortWayne.com said.
Souder, 59, was known for his outspoken views on religion. In a news conference at his Fort Wayne office, he apologized for his actions, and expressed regret for hurting those he loves and for letting his friends down.
He had an affair with Tracey Jackson, who had been working for Souder since 2004, according to the Associated Press.
After a 2008 hearing on abstinence-only education, Jackson recorded a video interview with Souder in which the congressman said the only fully reliable way young people can protect themselves from pregnancy and STDs is by “abstaining from sex until in a committed, faithful relationship,” according to the AP.
Potential replacements for Souder include State Sen. Marlin Stutzman, a tea party favorite who finished second in the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate two weeks ago. Other possibilities are two Republicans Souder defeated in the primary — Bob Thomas and Phil Troyer — as well as state Rep. Randy Borror of Fort Wayne and Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Liz Brown, the AP said.
According to the AP, Souder’s resignation follows that of Democratic Rep. Eric Massa of New York in March amid an investigation into whether he sexually harassed male staffers and admissions of extramarital affairs by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Nevada Sen. John Ensign — both Republicans who have held onto their offices.