Indiana congressman Mark Souder
's resignation, announced Tuesday, came after anonymous tipsters called his aides and his opponents in a Republican primary to say he was having an extramarital affair with a part-time staffer, according to sources familiar with the calls.
The conservative Christian congressman's chief of staff, Renee Howell, confronted him last week over the rumored affair with Tracy Meadows Jackson, according to a source in the office. On Tuesday morning, two weeks after winning the primary, Souder publicly admitted the affair -- without naming the staffer -- and said he would resign effective Friday.
The affair began after Jackson was hired in 2004, according to the source in the office. Jackson, who is married, was to be a guest host with Souder for a daily radio spot he recorded for WFCV, a Christian radio station in Fort Wayne, Ind. Jackson also at one point played host for a local cable-access show that served as a platform for Souder to discuss conservative issues, and she helped produce numerous videos
of Souder's speeches and positions, including one in which they discussed his strong support for teen abstinence.
Souder, who was elected in the GOP
wave of 1994, said in a statement
Tuesday: "I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part time member of my staff. . . . I am so shamed to have hurt those I love."
Jackson did not respond Tuesday to repeated e-mails and calls. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to freely discuss the sensitive matter.