Former Senator Domenici Kept Son Secret For Decades

It took 30 years, but former senator Pete Domenici (N.M.-R) has decided to clean his closet of skeletons.

Pete Domenici has remained active in politics since his retirement, as seen in this video lending his support to Heather Wilson during the 2012 election.

It took 30 years, but former senator Pete Domenici (N.M.-R) has decided to clean his closet of skeletons. And what a skeleton it is: Domenici says he fathered an out-of-wedlock son with the lobbyist daughter of a fellow Senate Republican, Nevada’s Paul Laxalt. Domenici says he kept the child a secret at the request of the mother, Michele Laxalt. The 90-year-old is still active in politics, and worked behind the scenes to build support for Romney in Nevada in 2012.

WaPo:

“More than 30 years ago, I fathered a child outside my marriage,” Domenici told the Albuquerque Journal in a statement. “I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior. I hope New Mexicans will view that my accomplishments for my beloved state outweigh my personal transgression.”

Domenici said he kept the matter secret because the mother of the child, Michelle Laxalt, asked him to do so. Her father, Paul Laxalt, was himself a U.S. senator from Nevada from 1974 to 1987 and served as chairman of the Republican National Committee. He is still active in politics; the 90-year-old worked behind the scenes to build support in Nevada for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Laxalt declined to comment.

In her own statement to the paper, Michelle Laxalt said she asked Domenici to “agree that this remain private between the two of us.” She raised the son, Adam Paul Laxalt, as a single mother. According to past Virginia voter registration records, he was born in August 1978, 35 years ago. Michelle Laxalt would have been 24 at the time; Domenici would have been 46.

Domenici's last term in office was marked by scandal when he came under investigation by the Senate ethics committee in 2006 for a phone call he placed to then-federal prosecutor Iglesias in a possible attempt to pressure him to indict New Mexico Democrats in a corruption probe just before the November election. Shortly after Iglesias said he rebuffed Domenici, his name appeared on a list of U.S. attorneys to be fired that was compiled by top Justice Department aides. Iglesias was dismissed Dec. 7, 2006.

Fellow Republicans also singled out Domenici as “Worst in the Senate in 2006” on environmental issues. Republicans for Environmental Protection in addition to assigning Domenici a score of zero for his environmental voting record, issued him “environmental harm demerits” for what they saw as two particularly irresponsible acts: first, for spearheading efforts to include in federal budget legislation provisions for “speculative revenues from oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; second, “for sponsoring and securing passage of S. 3711, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which would perpetuate America’s dangerous oil dependence, set a precedent for drilling in sensitive marine waters, and direct a disproportionate share of federal royalty revenues from a public resource to four states."

Domenici also received an exceptionally low environmental rating from the nonpartisan League of Conservation Voters, who claimed in 2003 that “d]uring the last decade his voting record has become even more strikingly anti-environmental.” The LCV went on to criticize Domenici for voting in 1995 “to allow mining companies to ‘patent’ (purchase) public lands in order to extract minerals from them, without environmental standards, for the ridiculously low ‘price’ of $5 an acre or less.

Also worth noting, Senator Domenici voted to impeach Bill Clinton over a "personal transgression."

I have concluded that President Clinton's actions do, indeed, rise to the level of impeachable offenses that the Founding Fathers envisioned.

How can anyone, after conceding that the President lied under oath and obstructed justice, listen to this quotation and not conclude that this President has committed acts which are clearly serious, which corrupt or subvert the political and government process, and which are plainly wrong to any honorable person or to a good citizen?
[...]
Truthfulness is the first pillar of good character in the Character Counts program of which I have been part of establishing in New Mexico. Many of you in this chamber have joined me in declaring the annual "Character Counts Weeks." This program teaches grade school youngsters throughout America about six pillars of good character. Public and private schools in every corner of my state teach children that character counts; character makes a difference; indeed, character makes all the difference...read on

About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.