Capital affairs to remember

Monica Lewinsky's infamous semen-stained dress isn't on display in the National Archives Building, but scores of sex scandals are as much a part of American political history as the constitution. Politicians in all eras, at all levels of government, have had their share of affairs - and they didn't just wait for Valentine's Day to do it.

Yet Sean Bigley, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs and intern at the White House, describes political interns more as "overworked and undersexed."

"There's definitely that undercurrent at work," Bigley said of the tension. "[People] like to go out after work and blow off steam."

Bigley said office hook-ups do not surprise him because interns are college students who want to have fun.

"I think people in the city kind of work and live hard," he said. "They're more forward, and they work for what they want and get it."

Bill Clinton was not the only man of power who engaged in scandalous shenanigans during his two terms as president. Political sex scandals date back to Thomas Jefferson's time.

A search of "presidential sex scandals" on www.who2.com, reveals that the hanky panky began with the founding fathers. The first president listed is Thomas Jefferson. Rumors published in 1802 claimed that Jefferson had fathered children by his slave Sally Hemings.

Many regarded the rumors as false, but DNA testing in 1998 showed that Jefferson or one of his male relatives was very likely the father of Hemings' last son, according to the Web site.

Jefferson was a widower, and Hemings was the illegitimate child of a slave and Jefferson's father-in-law. Raping slaves was not uncommon before Emancipation.

Another president who "got around" according to who2.com is Warren Harding. One mistress took hush money from the GOP during his campaign. Another, Nan Britton, had a child by him in 1919 when he was a senator. He continued the affair in the White House, and after his death she wrote a best seller about their affair called "The President's Daughter."

John F. Kennedy was infamous for his ladies' man reputation, even after marrying Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953. He supposedly snuck women into the White House, including Marilyn Monroe and mafia girl Judith Exner. Kennedy's closest aides have stopped refuting the stories.

Why have so many presidents engaged in sexual affairs? AU professor and presidential historian Allan Lichtman said this is due to personality types in politics.

"I think it has to do with the arrogance of power," he said.

This arrogance leads presidents to overreach in both their policies and their sexual exploits, he said.

Presidents are not the only ones on Capitol Hill who are infamous for their publicized sex lives. Interns and entry-level workers have made names for themselves as well.

Monica Lewinsky has already been discussed, both in this article, at the dinner table, in the news, in the tabloids, and just about everywhere else. However, the Washingtonienne blog has also started conversations - at least among senators and their spouses.

Jessica Cutler was a Capitol Hill entry-level staff member working for Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine. In mid-May 2004, Cutler's Internet blog that recounted her sexual affairs with numerous partners on the Hill came to the attention of the senator's office. One of her conquests happened to be a married chief of staff of a government agency. She was also paid for some of her services and later posed for Playboy.

Cutler lamented about her low salary and wondered how other workers in her position could get by without outside jobs.

"Most of my living expenses are thankfully subsidized by a few generous older gentlemen," she wrote. "I'm sure I am not the only one who makes money on the side this way: how can anybody live on $25K/year??"

Cutler wrote that she could not be the only person who resorted to unsavory methods of making money.

"I am convinced that the Congressional offices are full of dealers and hos," she said.

Cutler was fired and Washingtonienne is now defunct.

For more sex, profanity and politics, you could also visit Washingtonienne's interviewer, the Wonkette blog, or buy any number of books on the subject, including Marion Clark's "Public trust, private lust: Sex, power, and corruption on Capitol Hill" or Bill Thomas' "Club Fed: Power, Money, Sex, and Violence on Capitol Hill."

Staff Writer Mary Specht contributed to this article.

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