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   C Street: where scandal meets spirituality

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Parent

News Date

7/20/2009 6:00 am

Author

Lisa Lerer and Kathryn McGarr

Media

Category

Investigation

Database Record

Entered 7/20/2009, Updated 7/20/2009

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Lawmakers flock to 113 C St. S.E. for cheap rent, weekly dinners, Bible studies and spirituality sessions that serve as a sort of group therapy for some of the country’s most powerful men. But now the stately brick house is becoming known for something else: It’s ground zero for Republican sex scandals.In February, Nevada Sen. John Ensign — who lives at the house — was confronted at C Street by colleagues who wanted him to end his affair with a staffer. Earlier this month, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford — who lived at C Street when he served in the House — said C Street was where he’d been asked the “hard questions” that were “very, very important” in his decision to admit an affair with an Argentine woman. And last week, the estranged wife of former Rep. Chip Pickering said he carried on a long-term extramarital affair while living at the “well-known C Street Complex.” The trifecta of trysts has made C Street an easy target for charges of “family values” hypocrisy — see the New York Times columns by Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins over the weekend. But Christian lawmakers say Washington prayer and Bible-study groups — and the secrecy that surrounds them — provide crucial counseling for their lives in the nation’s capital.


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