U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers joined a group of lawmakers for a trip to Israel that the FBI looked into after reports one congressman swam nude in the Sea of Galilee. Her staff said she did not join others swimming.
Politco reported this morning that the FBI has looked into the Aug. 2011 trip when, one evening after dinner and drinking, Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., took off his clothes and jumped into the water. He was joined swimming by a number of members, their families and GOP staff after having dinner at a restaurant along the water. Yoder was the only person who was fully undressed, according to the paper.
Al Lytton, Ellmers’s chief of staff, confirmed that Ellmers was on the week-long Aug. 2011 trip to Israel and had dinner with the group. But Lytton said she and her husband did not participate in the swim and instead returned to their hotel.
The Dunn Republican and her husband were among dozens of members of Congress their spouses and staff who were part of the week long fact-finding visit. It included meeting top officials such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and touring the country. The approximately $19,000 trip was paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, according to congressional records kept on the Legistorm website.
Staff said Ellmers was never contacted by the FBI.
Politico reported that the FBI investigated whether any inappropriate behavior occurred, but did not appear to have sought formal allegations.
“A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel," Yoder said in a statement to Politico. "After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit. It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize.”