The western New York Republican resigned today after media reports alleging a flirtatious exchange between Lee and a woman on Craigslist.


Rep. Chris Lee, R-Clarence, resigned today after a firestorm of media reports detailing a flirtatious exchange between Lee and a woman on Craigslist. A statement was posted on his website this afternoon:

"It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.

"The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately."

Lee was elected to a second term in November.

The scandal started with a posting on the website Gawker.com, which reported today that Lee, or someone using his e-mail, responded to a Craigslist personal ad Jan. 14 from a 34-year-old woman who posted, "Will someone prove to me not all CL (Craigslist) men look like toads?"

Lee reportedly responded, sharing at least two pictures of himself, one of them shirtless, and chatting flirtatiously with the woman. He is married and has one child.

All three of Lees offices  — in Greece, Williamsville, N.Y., and Washington, D.C. — had recorded messages Wednesday, one of which says, "We are unable to take calls right now."

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