Former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) admitted on Tuesday to fathering a child with Michelle Laxalt, the daughter of former Nevada Gov. and Sen. Paul Laxalt (R) after what she called "one night's mistake" more than 30 years ago.
"I have apologized as best as I can to my wife, and we have worked together to strengthen our relationship," Domenici said in his statement. "I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior. I hope New Mexicans will view that my accomplishments for my beloved state outweigh my personal transgression."
Domenici served six terms in the Senate, from 1973 until 2009.
According to her autobiography statement on Politico's "The Arena," Michelle Laxalt worked as a lobbyist, and was named one of the "top 50 lobbyists in D.C." by The Washingtonian in 1993 and 1998. Her most recent lobbyings were made in 2010, on behalf of the American Gaming Association, and three companies connected to American financier T. Boone Pickens: BP Capital, Clean Energy Fuels and Mesa Wind and Mesa Water. It is unclear whether she ever lobbied Domenici.
"I come from a political family and learned early in life the value of privacy," Laxalt said in her statement to the newspaper. "I vowed that I would make personal decisions based not on politics, but on my values. This self-pledge was tested when one night's mistake led to pregnancy more than 30 years ago."
She also said she raised Adam Laxalt as a single parent, and admitted to her dalliance with Domenici in order to protect his father.
"Recently information has come to me that this sacred situation might be twisted, re-written out of whole cloth, and shopped to press outlets large and small in a vicious attempt to smear, hurt and diminish Pete Domenici, an honorable man, his extraordinary wife, Nancy, and other innocents," she said in her statement.
The Atlantic Wire reported that Michelle Laxalt praised Domenici's character in an appearance on CNN in 2007, when the then-Senator was accused of being behind the firing of a U.S. attorney in his state.
"When you're attacking the integrity of someone who has been in public service for his entire lifetime, at great sacrifice, supporting no fewer than eight children and with the many sacrifices and the many contributions Senator Domenici has made, not only to the country, but to the state of New Mexico," she said at the time. "I don't think one political appointee who has a chip on his shoulder because he was asked to leave a position that he wasn't offered permanency in to begin with, should ever take a crack at the integrity of Pete Domenici."
UPDATE, 2:31 p.m. EST: According to The Washington Post, Domenici supported the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton for covering up his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky.
All reasonable observers admit that the President lied under oath and undertook a substantial and purposeful effort to hide his behavior from others in order to obstruct justice in a legal proceeding. My good friends and Democratic colleagues, Senators Joe Lieberman, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Bob Kerrey, Diane Feinstein, and Robert Byrd, among others, have bluntly acknowledged publically [sic] that the President lied, misled, obstructed, and attempted in many ways to thwart justice's impartial course in a civil rights case. The sticking point has been: Does this misbehavior rise to the level of impeachable offenses?
I have concluded that President Clinton's actions do, indeed, rise to the level of impeachable offenses that the Founding Fathers envisioned.
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