A pro-life, family-values congressman who worked as a doctor before winning election as a Tea Party-backed Republican had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion, according to a phone call transcript obtained by The Huffington Post.

The congressman, Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, was trying to save his marriage at the time, according to his remarks on the call, made in September of 2000. And, according to three independent sources familiar with the call and the recording, he made the tape himself.

UPDATE: Democratic Congressional candidate Eric Stewart suggested Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais is a pro-life hypocrite during a 2:30 p.m. press conference today.

Min's picture

If I was a cartoon...

...my eyes would be doing that big, bulgy thing right now.

Bbeanster's picture


Now you see it...


And now you don't.

Somebody's picture


This is the kind of unseemly crap that would generally be better left out of public discourse.

But then, on his campaign website, under "issues," it says: "Abortion – All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life."

So can a candidate argue that this information is a private matter while at the same time argue that, for everyone else, the issue is not a private decision that should be left to the individuals involved?

Pickens's picture

"Do as I say, not as I do"

"Do as I say, not as I do" comes to mind.

gonzone's picture

Adultery, abortion,

Adultery, abortion, dishonest, hypocrite.
Yup, he's Tea Party certified all right!
All the evangelicals will be itching to vote for him I'm sure.

Next up, did he earn his "doctor" degree or did he pull a Rand Paul and certify himself?

Shouldn't the AMA take action against him for violating the doctor-patient relationship?

R. Neal's picture

"...you lied to me about

"...you lied to me about something that caused us to be in this situation, and that's not my fault, that's yours."


Treehouse's picture

Not in my backyard

My "favorite" quote from this article is, ""If we need to go to Atlanta, or whatever, to get this solved and get it over with so we can get on with our lives, then let's do it," DesJarlais says."

So the anti-abortion folks can work to close down clinics in Knoxville and say they're caring about women and children when in fact, it's the ones that need the help the most that can't just "go to Atlanta to get it over with."

I'm furious at the hypocrisy.

Somebody's picture

Now, do KNS and the local TV

Now, do KNS and the local TV stations seek to independently verify and report on this, or do they pretend it never happened?

It's incredibly unseemly, but it is unfortunately relevant. DesJarlais has taken a public position on the issue of abortion, and assuming the veracity of the transcript (Huffington Post says they've verified it with multiple sources, and that the DesJarlais camp did not challenge the contents of the transcript when asked to comment), DesJarlais has personally sought to take actions that are the direct opposite of his stated position.

If DesJarlais had not volunteered a position on the issue, or if he had a pro-choice position, then there would be no apparent cognitive dissonance, and the matter should remain private. That's not the case. He has said to those who are pro-choice that their rights should be restricted. He has also told his pro-life supporters that he shares their views, and advocates for their position.

Since he's personally done one thing and then taken the opposite stated position, he needs to be asked to clarify this for his constituents. Does he think the rules should be different for him? Has he simply changed his views, and he now regrets his prior actions? Perhaps that's the case, but his supporters certainly need to know about that, so that they can decide for themselves how they feel about it. "Huffington Post" is certainly accessible to some, but the local media should review and report on this, if the information can be verified.

redmondkr's picture

I would never have thought

I would never have thought the KNS would touch this but, touch it they did.

Somebody's picture

The associated press picked

The associated press picked it up, too. This guy may actually be toast. I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but he's going to lose some votes.

R. Neal's picture

Well, it certainly makes his

Well, it certainly makes his opponent's previous tax problems sound like a parking ticket.

lovable liberal's picture

Tennessee's David Vitter

If you made this sh*t up, no one would believe it could be so sordid.

CE Petro's picture

All hypocrisy aside...

had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion

That DesJarlais had an affair with a patient is a huge ethical and licensing problem in and of itself. The medical licensing boards regard a doctor having an affair with a patient as a moral and ethical violation, with often stiff penalties, regardless if it is a consensual affair.

redmondkr's picture

Ellie Mae over at the KNS

Ellie Mae over at the KNS said exactly what was on my mind when I first read about this:

"And who on earth would willingly sleep with that creepy, Uncle Fester lookalike anyway?"

Somebody's picture

The big picture

The far bigger question is this: how "red" is Tennessee right now, anyway? The assumption is that Tennessee is a slam dunk for Romney, but nobody's bothered to do any polling since May, when Vanderbilt U had Romney leading Obama, 42% to 41%. In 2008, Obama lost Tennessee 42% to 57%.

I would say that in Chicago and Boston right now, there are some wonky people trying to figure out what the effect will be if DesJarlais implodes in the 4th District, causing significant changes in turnout. Without recent polling data, it's kind of hard to tell if Tennessee is any more or less "red" than four years ago. If it's the same or more, than nobody is going to worry much about this. If every Republican in the 4th stayed home, it wouldn't matter. On the other hand, if anybody has numbers that show it closer, we may start to see some ad buys in this state after all.

Andy Axel's picture

A values-oriented Republican

A values-oriented Republican : Hypocrisy :: A : A

bluetick87's picture


Clinton was impeached.

Weiner resigned.

DesJarlais will likely be re-elected. Makes you proud to be a Tennessean, doesn't it?

reform4's picture

Well put.

That should be the sound bite for CNN et al. Well done.

Rachel's picture

All day long I've heard folks

All day long I've heard folks excuse DesJarlais by pointing to Bill Clinton. In the first place, the TDIT defense is getting really old.

But here's the main thing: Clinton's behavior was deplorable. No way will I defend it. But as far as I know he wasn't advocating for any law banning, to put it coarsely, blow jobs.

DesJarlais HAS been an outspoken advocate for banning abortion. To do that and then push for a woman in his life to have one is just the height of hypocrisy.

Not to mention a doctor having an affair with a patient is completely unethical, whether or not the doctor happens to be married.

It saddens me that we have become so hyper-partisan that some folks will defend DesJarlais's behavior just because he belongs to their "tribe."

bizgrrl's picture

Thanks, Rachel. In addition,

Thanks, Rachel.

In addition, RE:

Not to mention a doctor having an affair with a patient is completely unethical, whether or not the doctor happens to be married.

Are there some doctor/patient rules against this? Can he lose his license? Maybe that's just for psychologists and psychiatrists, or not at all.

Somebody's picture

Medical ethics

From the American Medical Association's info on ethics:

Sexual contact between physician and patient

Issues of dependency, trust, and transference and inequalities of power lead to increased vulnerability on the part of the patient and require that a physician not engage in a sexual relationship with a patient. It is unethical for a physician to become sexually involved with a current patient even if the patient initiates or consents to the contact.

Even sexual involvement between physicians and former patients raises concern. The impact of the patient-physician relationship may be viewed very differently by physicians and former patients, and either party may underestimate the influence of the past professional relationship. Many former patients continue to feel dependency and transference toward their physicians long after the professional relationship has ended. The intense trust often established between physician and patient may amplify the patient's vulnerability in a subsequent sexual relationship. A sexual relationship with a former patient is unethical if the physician "uses or exploits the trust, knowledge, emotions or influence derived from the previous professional relationship"

Opinari's picture

Sad, indeed.

It saddens me that we have become so hyper-partisan that some folks will defend DesJarlais's behavior just because he belongs to their "tribe."

I'm a fiscal conservative, so I associate myself with TEA Party positions as far as fiscal policy goes. But this behavior, if true, is deplorable, and no right-thinking person would endorse such a candidate. I agree wholeheartedly with Rachel. There is no defense for DesJarlais, whose advocacy against abortion, and then use of said services reaches the height of hypocrisy.

R. Neal's picture

The story is on the front

The story is on the front page of today's Knoxville News Sentinel. The AP report is in the Maryville Daily Times on page 9, the first page of the "Nation and World" section.

Somebody's picture

Now it's up to the voters in

Now it's up to the voters in the fourth District. Are they really "values voters?" Or are they just conservative Republican Yea Party voters?

redmondkr's picture

I predict here and now the

I predict here and now the doctor will warm the same seat in Congress next year and be the same obnoxious f____ing Shore Patrol he's been in the past. His constituents - and Jesus - will forgive him of almost anything simply because he shares with them something they won't get with his opponent, a deep abiding hatred for Barack Hussein Obama.

I hope I'm wrong.

gonzone's picture

As it should be!

As it should be!

CE Petro's picture



redmondkr's picture

"I'm very proud to have the

"I'm very proud to have the support of such a principled and independent conservative as Scott DesJarlais," said Romney.

marytheprez's picture

OH, Yeah, Sanctimonious Mitt walked away...yesterday

But y'all are so right on. The "official TN GOP/TEA" group is standing by this slug...and why? They are pissed off that someone leaked it...again...just like it was leaked in 2010! Not that he was a hypocrite, not that he violated his oath as a doctor or hurt, humiliated and embarassed his (first)wife. No...they are just mad that word got out what a jerk he is. Oh, and Haslam..."I just don't know enough to comment"...phooey. And the ONLY thing that this 'doctor' got done in Congress for his District? He voted 31 times to repeal Obamacare.or the ACA, the law that is now providing many more health benefits to HIS FORMER FEMALE patients and all the females in HIS District.
Eric Stewart is the man! He was recipient of a great fund raiser here in Knoxville, sponsored by Democrats AND some GOPers!

Bbeanster's picture

Not much to choose from here

Lesser of the two evils.
Stewart is anti-abortion rights and voted for DOMA. He's better than Dr. Mustard, but that's a pretty low bar.
But this 'is' Tennessee, after all.

gonzone's picture

Sad but true. Will no one

Sad but true. Will no one step up and protect the rights of over half the residents of this district? Last I heard women were not yet property again.

redmondkr's picture

Uncle Fester Issues Fatwa

Uncle Fester is upset with the Chattanooga Times Free Press for printing an editorial cartoon that shows blatant disregard for his right to suppress the First Amendment.

He has warned them that he can have the US Capitol Police on them in a heartbeat.

This reminds me of the time that Danish newspaper printed a cartoon of another holy man.

Andy Axel's picture

And his repeated denials and

And his repeated denials and explanations of the goings-on amount to career suicide. At least we can hope.

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