What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 6, 2010

C Street Revisits (Some Things I Didn't Know) (Updated)

[Blogging from an undisclosed location.]

Peter Boyer has a piece in the New Yorker giving more details on the C Street residence and in the process gives us some more details on Congressman Mike Doyle's place there.

Boyer begins:
One midwinter night in 2008, Senator John Ensign, of Nevada, the chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, was roused from bed when six men entered his room and ordered him to get up. Ensign knew the men intimately; a few hours earlier, he had eaten dinner with them, as he had nearly every Tuesday evening since he’d come to Washington. Now they were rebuking him for his recklessness. They told him he was endangering his career, ruining lives, and offending God.
Doyle was among the six and this was Ensign's first intervention.

UPDATE: This is incorrect. I misread the New Yorker piece. See this post.

At their instruction he wrote a letter to his mistress ending the affair, FedEx-ed it over to her and then called her telling her to disregard the letter. The affair continued.

There was a second intervention. Doyle was a part of that one, too.

I am not sure I knew this. If anything it puts Doyle far closer to the center of things at the C Street house than I thought.

Then there's this about the origins of C Street:
In 1984, Coe was introduced to a man named Michael Timmis, a wealthy recent convert, eager to do God’s work, who had heard that Doug Coe was the man to see. Timmis was a hard-charging overachiever from a working-class Irish Catholic family in Detroit, who had made a fortune in high-risk business transactions. Along the way, he had alienated his wife and two children, and his born-again experience had not helped matters at home.
Long story short, Timmins tragically lost his daughter to suicide, Coe helped Timmins' son. Boyer continues the story:
Timmis and his son reconciled, and Timmis offered Coe any sum he named. No need for that, Coe said, but he added that there was a ministry in Washington that could use some help. “Why don’t you help those guys?” Coe asked.

“Those guys” were Coe’s sons, David and Tim, and their friend Marty Sherman. The Coe brothers and Sherman had been schoolmates at James Madison University, where they were part of a fraternity for believers, and tried to model themselves after the early Christians described in the Book of Acts. After graduating, they apprenticed with the Fellowship, and saw a chance to branch out when the house on C Street became available.
And what does this have to do with anything?
Largent, Coburn, Wamp, and Doyle were the first to move in, and they were soon joined by Bart Stupak.
Now that I did not know, either.

Boyer sums up some of the issues surrounding the C Street residence:
Soon after the Pickering story broke, an exodus from the C Street house began. John Thune, the Republican from South Dakota, who is said to have Presidential aspirations, was the first to leave, in July of 2009. A group of congresswomen who used the house for a Wednesday-morning prayer session found a new venue, and a moderate Democrat who had been considering a move into the house pulled back. John Ensign asked his housemates’ forgiveness, and left, but the taint remained. Stupak and Doyle, pressured by constituents and the press, had moved out by the end of the year. That left only Coburn, DeMint, Wamp, Shuler, and Moran—conservatives who were in little danger of being punished by voters for staying. The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee were said to be scrutinizing Ensign’s dealings with Doug Hampton for possible impropriety. The House Office of Congressional Ethics, however, had decided that the residents’ rental rates were appropriate for the boarding-house arrangement, and did not recommend that any action be taken. District officials revised the house’s tax status, removing much of its exemption.

This spring, a group of core associates gathered at the Cedars and debated whether the time had come to alter the Fellowship’s rigid policy of secretiveness. Some in the group had long argued for greater transparency and accountability, if for no other reason than to counter the darker conjectures about the movement. By most accounts, this view prevailed, despite Coe’s reservations. Change will almost certainly be minor, and come slowly. A Web site has been designed, and is scheduled to be launched this month.
I have an email into Doyle's office for a comment.

[Returning to my undisclosed location.]


spork_incident said...

Unfortunately, Doyle's opponent is a teabagger.


rich10e said...

after reading the article i found this quote most intersting...

"If international dignitaries view the Prayer Breakfast as a reliable means of unofficial access, some Presidents—most notably, Bill Clinton—have been more accommodating than others. “Bill and Hillary got it,” says Doug Burleigh, who is Coe’s son-in-law, and a key figure in the Fellowship. “They came early, they’d meet with the groups early and do a photo op with ’em, hug ’em. They got what this was about.” George W. Bush, on the other hand, made it clear to Coe and the others from the start that he’d show up at the Prayer Breakfast but not to expect much more. “George came late, and left early—he did every year,” Burleigh says.“Now, I appreciate his honesty. He told Doug, ‘You know, this isn’t my thing.’"