Rep. Josh Gottheimer has denounced as “completely untrue” a forged resignation letter on official congressional letterhead sent to news organizations this week detailing a scandal between the New Jersey Democrat and one of his staffers.
The letter claims Gottheimer had an affair with the staffer and that the congressman would be resigning immediately and “focusing on my family.”
The signature on the letter, which is dated July 29, does not match Gottheimer’s signature on any other letters he has signed as a member of Congress, NJ.com reported.
Gottheimer issued a full-throated statement rejecting the entire contents of the letter on Monday, calling it a “disgusting smear campaign.”
The U.S. Capitol Police are investigating the origin of the letter, Gottheimer said in a statement Monday, the North Jersey Record reported.
It is a federal crime to impersonate a member of Congress and improperly use a federal seal like the one on the official congressional letterhead used for the forged letter.
“I am confident that they will quickly identify and pursue charges against the perpetrators responsible for this crime,” Gottheimer said in the statement.
The letter is the second such message that has been sent to news organizations in the last week to try raise a stir around the fake scandal, multiple local outlets reported.
The writer of the first letter, which arrived in some organizations’ mailboxes late last week, claimed to be a staffer for Gottheimer. The congressman said Monday that that letter, too, was a forgery.
“I am outraged that a dedicated member of my staff has been dragged into this cowardly attack on me,” Gottheimer said.
Gottheimer first won election to the House in 2016, defeating longtime Republican incumbent Rep. Scott Garrett in New Jersey’s 5th District.
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