Ten years before being elected to represent Tennessee's 4th Congressional District, Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a physician, had an affair with one of his patients and pressured her to get an abortion— according a Huffington Post report published Wednesday.
The report relies on a phone call transcript obtained by the publication, which includes remarks the congressman made with a patient in September of 2000. According to three independent, unnamed sources, the report says DesJarlais made the tape himself while in the midst of an unraveling marriage with his former wife, Susan DesJarlais.
It is not the first time the congressman has dealt with allegations related to his past marriage when running for office. In 2010, the congressman overcame allegations of harassing, intimidating and abusing his ex-wife.
DesJarlais, whose campaign website says "all life should be cherished and protected," was not endorsed this year by Tennessee Right to Life because he failed to return a questionnaire and to sign on as a supporter of pending legislation being pushed by the National Right to Life.
In an emailed statement, Robert Jameson, press secretary for DesJarlais, described the report as "character assassination."
“This is old news from the last election cycle that Tennesseans have already widely rejected," Jameson said. "Desperate personal attacks do not solve our nation’s problems, yet it appears that there are those who choose to continue to engage in the same gutter politics that were characterized by national media as the nastiest in the nation just two years ago. Since the congressman’s opponents cannot attack him on his independent, conservative and pro-life record in Congress, they have once again resorted to pure character assassination.”
The congressman is running for re-election against state Sen. Eric Stewart.
Nooga.com will have updates to this story as they become available.