If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: If you are a state representative who is the vice-chairman of the legislature’s commerce committee and a member of its ethics committee, are married with two children and are known as a staunch defender of conservative family values, make sure your microphone is OFF before bragging about and giving disgustingly lewd details of your affair with a much younger woman who is also a lobbyist whose clients have business before your committee, and also laughing about the fact that you are simultaneously cheating on your wife and your mistress with yet another woman.
I cannot stress this enough, people.
The Orange County Weekly broke the story that Michael Duvall, a second-term California assemblyman, had in fact done the above. While waiting for a televised committee hearing to begin, Duvall began bragging to a colleague about his sexual conquests, apparently not knowing that the microphones go live about one minute before the start time. Not content with mentioning the fact he was having an affair, which would have caused problems enough, Duvall—who I am now officially christening “Open Mike”—launched into explicit details, many of which are too nasty to reprint here, and all of which were captured by his microphone.
The age difference he referred to was enough for some to confirm the identity of his lobbyist partner, although an anonymous staffer reportedly said that the relationship was “the worst-kept secret in Sacramento” anyway. In addition to the adultery problem, Open Mike’s admissions might also raise an ethical issue because the lobbyist represents a client that (like many businesses) has interests in legislation before the Utilities and Commerce Committee, and has donated to Duvall’s campaign.
The fact that Duvall is actually a member of the ethics committee might also raise an ethical issue. Or maybe it’s just awkward.
Surprisingly, Duvall seemed to have no interest in speaking to reporters about the matter yesterday. The reporter for the Weekly said Duvall had “fled” from him and another reporter three times, and ignored interview requests. The Weekly also ran a picture of Duvall fleeing, a picture it captioned “Duvall ran from reporters today in the capitol.”
As I have also mentioned before, you should do everything you can to ensure that your picture never appears above the words, “ran from reporters.”
The scandal is already prompting calls for Duvall’s resignation, although he has tried to pitch it as a purely personal matter. “He wants us to ignore it,” another elected official told the Weekly. “But I don’t think that is possible at this point. He’s screwed himself.”