The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now investigating whether an employee of theirs was responsible for changing House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s, R-CA Wikipedia page to say he was having an affair with Rep. Renee Ellmers. News media first reported the investigation on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. The rumors of the affair are being cited as one of the reasons McCarthy shocked the Congressional Republican Conference on Thursday, Oct. 8 announcing he is dropping out of the race to succeed Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH. Now Gotnews.com the political tabloid behind the affair rumors, is reporting that both McCarthy and Ellmers are planning to resign their Congressional seats over the fiasco.
McCarthy’s was deemed Boehner’s natural successor. At the time, it was believed that he dropped out because of comments he made about Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s falling poll numbers being a result of the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s ongoing investigation. McCarthy also lost the support of the conservative GOP Freedom Caucus and did not have the 218 votes needed to win the election. Now however, it seems the persistent rumors of the affair, the changes to McCarthy and Ellmers’ Wikipedia pages and a cryptic warning letter by Rep. Walter Jones, R-NC about past “misdeeds” were the real reasons for the surprise withdrawal that has put the House in chaos.
Washington Free Beacon reporter Lachlan Markay was the first report about a DHS Internet Protocol IP address being behind the Wikipedia page changes. Markay took to Twitter where he wrote, on Oct. 9 “Someone using a DHS IP address edited Renee Ellmers’ Wikipedia page to allege an affair with McCarthy.” Markay also included screen cap photos of the changes and the IP address linking it to DHS.
The DHS discovered on Thursday, Oct. 8 that the IP address that made the changes was traced back to their offices in Springfield, Virginia. DHS spokeswoman Marsha Catron issued a statement about the investigation, saying, “DHS has immediately launched an investigation into this serious matter. If it is discovered that a DHS employee, using Government property, is responsible for these alleged actions, immediate and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”
The Wikipedia page changes are not the first time the affair rumors have been brought up between the two lawmakers, it has been a an unfounded gossip topic for years. The Wikipedia entries however, came at the most strategic time as McCarthy was running for speaker. Recently, controversial GOP donor from Chicago Steve Baer sent emails personally to Republican representatives informing them of the indiscretions between McCarthy and Ellmers. Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas also said the Texas Congressional delegation confronted McCarthy on Tuesday, Oct. 6 who “categorically denied” the affair.
GotNews.com also wrote exposes about the possible affair that prompted Ellmer’s lawyer to send the political tabloid news site a cease and desist letter this week for two of their articles about the affair. The first article was published on January 23, 2015 and was entitled “BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Kevin McCarthy & Rep. Renee Ellmers Are Having an Affair,” the second article came the day Speaker Boehner resigned on Friday, Sept. 25 and entitled “EXCLUSIVE: #Boehner’s Replacement Is Carrying On Long Running Affair With Congresswoman.” Ellmers’ lawyer “Raleigh, N.C., attorney Thomas A. Farr” sent the cease and desist letter on Oct. 7 to Gotnews.com editor Charles C. Johnson who created the site. Johnson calls himself a “journalist and new media entrepreneur in the spirit of Matt Drudge or Julian Assange.”
The letter did not stop Johnson who is continuing to report on the story, and wrote on Friday, Oct. 9 that McCarthy and Ellmers are both planning to resign from their Congressional seats. Johnson claims the resignation was a hot topic among “lobbyists and reporters” at the “Media Research Center (MRC) dinner.” Johnson also cites Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson as the main source for the news.
The Wikipedia page changes were not the first implied threat to McCarthy to out his affair, Rep. Walter Jones, R-NC sent a letter Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-WA on Oct. 6 “warning” that any speaker candidate with “misdeeds” in their past should withdraw. In the letter, Jones wrote about two other Republican leaders one a speaker, the other a speaker elect that had to resign because of their affairs. It was the insinuation that led many to believe Jones’ letter affected McCarthy’s decision. Jones wrote, “Some of the most difficult times have been when our Republican leaders or potential Republican leaders must step down because of Skeletons in their closets. We’ve seen it with former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Bob Livingston, who ran for Speaker in 1998.”
Jones highlighted and put in a bold font his next paragraph were he warned and discussed about past “misdeeds.” Jones wrote, “With all the voter distrust of Washington felt around the country, I’m asking that any candidate for Speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican Conference, and the House of Representatives if they become public.”
Speaking in an interview on Fox News with anchor Shepard Smith after McCarthy’s withdrawal from the race, Jones denied his letter had anything to with McCarthy or Ellmers. Jones explained, “My belief is that when you have people in leadership position, who have the privilege to service, they need to say to the conference that I have nothing in my background that will embarrass the Congress.” Jones said he does not “deal with rumors” Jones said it was more about integrity about policies and legislation, “The trigger has been the lack of integrity that brought bills to the floor for no reason but to raise money.”
Jones spoke to the press after a GOP conference meeting on Friday, Oct. 9 where he clarified his position about the letter, “I would hope not. How can words asking for integrity create so much trouble? I don’t think so, to be honest with you…. That’s their decision to interpret it that way. Anybody in leadership, male or female, should be a man or woman of integrity. That is nothing personal about anybody.” Later in on Friday, Jones admitted the affair rumors, “prompted the letter.”
So far, McCarthy and his camp are refusing to respond, he only said “No, No. Come on,” when reporters asked him about the affair. Ellmers however, sent the letter from her lawyer to Gotnews.com calling the story about the affair “defamatory and false statements.” Ellmers also issued a response statement denying any affair, saying, “As someone who has been targeted by completely false accusations and innuendo, I have been moved by the outpouring of support and prayers from my colleagues, constituents and friends. Now I will be praying for those who find it acceptable to bear false witness.”