The FBI investigated a trip to Israel by several freshmen congresspeople that included an alcohol-fueled nude dip in the Sea of Galilee, political website Politico reported early Monday.
According to the report, Kansas representative Kevin Yoder disrobed and went for a late night swim in the lake on August 18, 2011. Some 20 other lawmakers and senior aides joined Yoder, many of them partially disrobing before entering the water.
Sources told Politico that alcohol may have been a factor in the nude swim. The lake’s religious significance, as the place tradition hold Jesus walked on water, may have also played a part.
The members of Congress, all Republican, were in Israel as part of a trip by the American Israel Educational Foundation, an AIPAC-linked group which brings representatives to Israel to learn about the issues facing the Jewish state.
The FBI found no wrongdoing in its investigation, but the Politico report detailed that House majority leader Eric Cantor, who was also in Israel with the group, was angered by the antics and rebuked members of the trip.
“A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. 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,” Yoder said in a statement to Politico. “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.”
Yoder’s spokesman denied he had been questioned by the FBI over the incident.
According to Cantor’s chief of staff, the FBI questioned a staffer over the incident, but did not take the probe further.
The AIEF told Politico the trip was a serious endeavor and some members of the group decided to go swimming because of the lake’s religious significance. The spokesman said AEIF had not been contacted by the FBI.