WASHINGTON – The man who wants to represent Chautauqua County next year in Congress says he and his wife did nothing wrong when they went for a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee during a trip last year to Israel. Congresman Tom Reed (R-Corning), who is serving his first term in Congress representing New York’s 29th congressional district, was one of several Republican congressmen and staff members were on the eight-day trip to Israel last summer sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charity whose mission includes educating politicians about the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
- LISTEN TO AUDIO OF REED TELECONFERENCE INVOLVING ISRAEL TRIP
During the trip, it was learned that several members of the group – including Reed and his wife – went for a late-night swim following a dinner party with cocktails. One of the congressional members – Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) – reportedly went swimming without any clothing on. Swimming in the lake is permitted but public nudity is not allowed. The incident drew criticism from various parties in Washington, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Nate Shinagawa (D-Ithaca), Reed’s opponent in the 23rd Congressional District race, responded to the incident in a press release saying, “we must be able to trust our elected officials to behave appropriately while representing our district in Washington and our country while overseas.”
Shinagawa is also challenging Reed to join him in signing a pledge to put an end to free trips paid for by special interest groups.