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Ex-Calif. GOP lawmaker denies affairs

September 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Republican state lawmaker who resigned after being caught on tape boasting about his sexual conquests has denied having an affair, and says he simply was engaging in "inappropriate storytelling."Assemblyman Mike Duvall, R-Yorba Linda, resigned after a videotape surfaced in which he was overheard talking about his extra-marital affairs with at least two women. However, he claims he is guilty of inappropriate storytelling -- not adultery.

Duvall made the comments about the affairs to Assemblyman Jeff Miller during a break in a committee meeting inside the Capitol on July 8, apparently unaware that the microphone at the desk was on.

"I'm getting into spanking her," Duvall is heard saying on the videotape, which was made as a matter of routine by a legislative office.

Miller asks if she likes it too. Duvall responds: "She goes, 'I know you like spanking me.' I said, 'Yeah, that's 'cause you're such a bad girl."'

But the married 54-year-old Orange County Republican said Thursday that his "decision to resign is in no way an admission that I had an affair or affairs."

"My offense was engaging in inappropriate storytelling and I regret my language and choice of words. The resulting media coverage was proving to be an unneeded distraction to my colleagues and I resigned in the hope that my decision would allow them to return to the business of the state," he said in a statement posted on his Web site.

Duvall is known for his family values, but constituents say the tape speaks for itself.

"He is going to have some explaining to do. People are going to want to hear what he has to say," said Dolly Bolivar from Brea.

"It is a sad comment for the state of our legislatures. It is sad that these things even happen, but to talk and brag about them is horrible," said Connie Rosso from Brea.

One of the women Duvall talks about on the tape is a lobbyist for Sempra Energy. Duvall was the vice chairman of the Assembly Utilities Committee.

He is now being investigated by the Assembly Ethics Committee.

Watchdog groups believe Duvall's views on energy were aligned with Sempra's.

"He took their side and it's that type of thing that's probably the most troubling -- it's not just the questionable ethical behavior, but it's the influence of special interests like Sempra Energy," Derek Cressman of California Common Cause said.

Some groups think Attorney General Jerry Brown should launch criminal investigation.

While Brown wants to first wait for the committee's report, California Common Cause says laws could have been broken.

"That could be tantamount to bribery or violating gift rules for the Assembly," Cressman said.

Sempra Energy says it also will be looking into any wrongdoing of one of its employees. The company says the employee has denied the reports.

Meanwhile, Gov. Schwarzenegger will have to call a special election to replace Duvall.

The Duvall scandal sheds light on what some say is actually commonplace in Sacramento -- lawmakers and lobbyists trading sexual favors.

One Capitol insider wants to remain anonymous because of the risk of losing his job.

ABC7: "How often does this happen between California lawmakers and lobbyists?"

'John': "It's been going on for years. It makes my job tougher. If I have to compete against someone who wants to engage in prostitution to get a piece of legislation passed, that's not something I'm willing to do for my client, and so it gives them a leg up, and it really dirties up the process."

Well-financed lobbyists are cramming the Capitol hallways this week because it is their last chance to influence lawmakers before session ends Friday.

That gives little chance for ordinary Californians to have a voice, says the insider.

"The problem is, the people in the Capitol don't talk about this and it's very incestuous and it's festering and the people of California have a right to be worried," he said.

Assemblyman Jeff Miller (R-Corona), who was listening to Duvall talk about his sexual escapades during the committee hearing, has been removed from the ethics committee because of a possible conflict of interest. Miller denies he leaked the tape to the media. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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