Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Capitol Hill was rocked over the weekend by the circulation of an explicit video of two men apparently having sex in a congressional hearing room.

The eight-second pornographic clip, first posted Friday evening by right-wing media website the Daily Caller, was reportedly leaked from a private group chat for gay men in politics. The report, which did not name the participants and blurred a face that appeared in the video, claimed it was a congressional staffer in the sex tape and identified the setting as Room 216 in the Hart Senate Office Building.

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The Spectator, a conservative British magazine, reported hours earlier that an unnamed staffer for Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) had publicly shared a series of indecent photos and videos of himself engaging in sex acts in the “so-called hallowed Halls of Congress.” The description of one photo in particular bore resemblance to the video shared later by the Daily Caller.

The news immediately gained traction in conservative media. While details remain scant, outlets including the New York Post and Washington Examiner identified the staffer as Aidan Maese-Czeropski, a legislative aide for Cardin.

In a statement to Politico on Friday night, Cardin’s office said: “Aidan Maese-Czeropski is no longer employed by the U.S. Senate.” It added: “We will have no further comment on this personnel matter.”

Cardin, who has spent nearly four decades in Congress, announced in May his plans to retire next year.

Maese-Czeropski, who is believed to be age 24 and has not responded to a request for comment from TIME, posted on LinkedIn on Saturday: “This has been a difficult time for me, as I have been attacked for who I love to pursue a political agenda. While some of my actions in the past have shown poor judgement, I love my job and would never disrespect my workplace. Any attempts to characterize my actions otherwise are fabricated and I will be exploring what legal options are available to me in these matters.”

(Separately, Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio) told the Daily Caller that Maese-Czeropski had accosted him earlier in the week, shouting “Free Palestine!” while Miller was being interviewed by NBC. Maese-Czeropski denied that accusation.)

Capitol Police have told the media that they are investigating the incident. In the meantime, it has elicited a range of mockery and outrage, especially among conservatives on social media.

Recently ousted congressman George Santos responded to Maese-Czeropski’s statement, posting on X: “Having sex in a United States government building and filming it is the reason you got heat. You being gay and having gay sex NO BODY gives a rats ass…”

Responding to reports that the lewd act took place where Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) sits in the hearing room in question—a room that has also hosted the 9/11 commission hearings 20 years ago, former FBI Director James Comey’s historic testimony on Donald Trump in 2017, as well as several confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice nominees, including Sonia Sotomayor and Brett Kavanaugh—Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.) posted a photo of cleaning wipes at a grocery store, with the caption “Christmas shopping for Senator Klobuchar.”

Madison Cawthorn, a former congressional staffer turned one-term congressman who alleged in 2022 before he lost his reelection bid that Washington is rife with “sexual perversion” posted on X: “I told you.”


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