Kansas Congressman Apologizes For Skinny Dipping

By: KAKE News - Posted by Suzie Gilbert
By: KAKE News - Posted by Suzie Gilbert

(KAKE) -- A Kansas lawmaker has apologized for an incident that occurred during a congressional trip to Israel where, after a night of partying and drinking, sources say he took off all of his clothes and jumped into the Sea of Galilee, a Christian holy site where, in the Bible, Jesus is said to have walked on water.

Politico reports that in August of 2011, Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder joined a number of other Members of Congress, their families and GOP staff in the late-night dip into the sea after a night of drinking. Sources who were in attendance say while some swimmers partially removed their clothes, Yoder was the only one who stripped completely naked.

The American Israel Educational Foundation sponsored the trip, which ran from Aug. 13 to Aug. 21, 2011. Politico reports the trip cost AIEF upwards of $10,000 per person, according to records filed with the House Ethics Committee. More than 60 people took part in the trip.

The group of lawmakers was staying in Tiberias, a town located on the banks of the Sea of Galilee at the Scots Hotel where rooms run up to $1,000 a night. Politico reports that according to an itinerary filed with the House Ethics Committee, the group met for dinner at a popular restaurant located on the sea. According to sources who attended the dinner, after the dinner and some drinking, more than 20 lawmakers and senior aids decided to jump into the sea wearing all their clothes, partially undressed, or, in Yoder's case, fully nude.

In a statement to Politico, Yoder admitted what happened and apologized for his actions.

"A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. 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," Yoder said. "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."

Politico reports the FBI looked into whether any inappropriate behavior occurred, but their investigation did not result in any formal allegations of wrongdoing. Travis Smith, Yoder's chief of staff, says Yoder has not been interviewed by the FBI. The FBI declined to comment on its probe, saying its standard policy was not to comment on such matters.

Yoder has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since January of 2011. He represents Kansas' 3rd Congressional District, which includes Johnson County, Wyandotte County and part of Douglas County. He currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee, the committee responsible for allocating federal spending. He also serves on the Financial Services, Commerce, Justice and Science and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittees.

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