Dome: Ellmers went to Israel, did not skinny-dip

FROM STAFF REPORTSAugust 20, 2012 

Renee Ellmers

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers joined a group of lawmakers for a trip to Israel that the FBI looked into after reports that one congressman swam nude in the Sea of Galilee. Her staff said she did not join others swimming.

Politico reported that the FBI has looked into the August 2011 trip when, one evening after dinner and drinking, Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., took off his clothes and jumped into the water. He was joined swimming by a number of members, their families and GOP staff after having dinner at a restaurant along the water. Yoder was the only person fully undressed, according to the paper.

Al Lytton, Ellmers’ chief of staff, confirmed that Ellmers was on the weeklong trip to Israel and had dinner with the group. But Lytton said Ellmers and her husband did not participate in the swim and instead returned to their hotel.

The Dunn Republican and her husband were among dozens of members of Congress, their spouses and staff who were part of the weeklong fact-finding visit. The trip included meeting top officials such as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and touring the country. The approximately $19,000 trip was paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, according to congressional records on the Legistorm website.

Staff said Ellmers was never contacted by the FBI.

Politico reported that the FBI investigated whether any inappropriate behavior occurred, but did not appear to have sought formal allegations.

“A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel,” Yoder said in a statement to Politico. “After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit. 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.”

Prominent Dems head to N.C.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, are among eight prominent Democrats who were added to the roster of speakers Monday for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Also speaking: California Attorney General Kamala Harris; Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who hosted the party’s 2008 convention as Denver mayor; former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who is running for U.S. Senate; Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.

Holding brings in Cantor

George Holding is bringing in House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to raise money for his congressional bid.

The former U.S. attorney and Republican candidate in the 13th District is sailing with the wind at his back. But he’s still aiming to raise a serious campaign war chest.

Hosts for the event include Leo Daughtry, Lauch Faircloth, Beverly Lake, Joe Lanier and Bob Schaff.

Staff writers Franco Ordoñez, Rob Christensen and John Frank

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