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Senate Scandal: Lewd Chamber Video Sparks Ethics Inquiry, Staff Dismissal

By CM Chaney · December 17, 2023

In brief…

  • Explicit video shows men engaging in sexual act on dais of U.S. Senate hearing room
  • Video published online led to dismissal of staffer in Sen. Cardin's office
  • Acts may have violated Senate ethics rules though consensual sex not criminal
  • Security and improper use of Senate property concerns raised amid ongoing investigation
A leaked video depicting a sexual encounter between two men inside a U.S. Senate hearing room has led to a staffer's dismissal and raised concerns around security, ethics violations, and misuse of government property.  United States Senate / Wikimedia

A video leaked online showing two men engaged in a sexual act inside a U.S. Senate hearing room has sparked outrage and led to at least one dismissal.

The explicit video, published by the Daily Caller on Friday, depicts the men on the dais in hearing room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building.

“We are aware and looking into this,” U.S. Capitol Police told Fox News.

The identities of the men have not yet been confirmed. Posts on social media claimed one works for Senator Ben Cardin’s office. Hours after the video emerged, Cardin’s office announced an aide’s dismissal but did not confirm links to the video.

A senior Congressional official told Fox News that “if the sex acts were consensual, ‘no crime was committed,’” regardless of location. However, they said it may have violated Senate ethics rules. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office did not comment.

Legal expert Jonathan Turley suggested the men could face charges, writing “One obvious criminal provision under the D.C. code is Section 22-1312 for lewd, indecent, or obscene acts.”

Turley noted that charges would depend on whether the use of the hearing room constitutes “trespass.”

“The question is whether this is ‘in public’ in a locked committee room — any more than sex in a congressional office after hours would be viewed as ‘in public,’” Turley wrote.

Room 216 is famous for high-profile hearings. “The dais where the graphic video was filmed is a place from which U.S. Senators have grilled high-profile presidential nominees, including justices of the Supreme Court,” Fox News reported.

The scandal has raised concerns over security and ethics violations on Capitol Hill. While consensual acts may not be criminal, there are questions if rules were broken by improperly using Senate property. The case remains under investigation.