Republican Congressmen and staff, at least one of them nude, swam in the Kinneret at night after a drinking party, according to a FBI probe reported by the Washington-based Politico web site.
The incident occurred during a fact-finding Congressional trip by freshmen GOP legislators last summer,
One Congressman, Kevin Yoder of Kansas, took off his clothes before jumping in the water, while others swam fully clothed, and some were partially dressed in the late-night swim.
Yoder apologized. He told Politico, “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.
“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.”
The Congressman’s chief of staff denied that the FBI probed Yoder. The investigation apparently did not expose any illegal activity.
Several participants or eyewitnesses said that some of the swimmers may have been under the influence of alcohol, while others said they jumped into the lake – also known as the Sea of Galilee – because of its religious significance to Christians.
Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor was on the same trip to Israel but not present at the Kinneret, and he severely rebuked his colleagues after hearing abut the swim.
“Twelve months ago, [Cantor] dealt with this immediately and effectively to ensure such activities would not take place in the future,” said Doug Heye, Cantor’s deputy chief of staff.
The report of the skinny-dipping follows a series of scandals in Congress, several of them involving sex, which forced at least three legislators to resign.