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Burton Admits Fathering Child During Affair

U.S. Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana  

Clinton critic offers apology, takes responsibility

INDIANAPOLIS (AllPolitics, Sept. 4) -- U.S. Rep. Dan Burton, who accused supporters of President Bill Clinton this week of disseminating information about Burton's personal life to discredit him, has acknowledged that he fathered a child out of wedlock during an extramarital affair in the early 1980s.

Burton, of Indiana, is the outspoken Republican chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, which has been investigating allegations of fund-raising irregularities by the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign.

"I have apologized to my wife and family, whom I love. I apologize to my constituents," Burton said in a statement released Friday and reported in Saturday's editions of the Indianapolis Star. "We live in a society that rightfully depends upon people taking responsibility for their actions. I have done so in this matter."

A spokesman for Burton's committee, Will Dwyer, said Burton made the admission to preempt rapidly surfacing reports of the affair. The congressman has been in Indiana for the past two days, meeting with the woman involved and their son.

"One of the things that prompted me to go public is the harassment this woman's family has been subjected to by the media," Burton said in his statement. "This week, they were forced to call the police to have a TV camera crew leave their property."

"Discussion of the matter has gone too far, and I hope that members of the media will accept my admission and allow people to continue their lives in peace."

Wife aware of relationship

Burton, 60, an eight-term congressman who represents the suburbs of Indianapolis, said he has paid child support through the years for his now teen-age son. He said his wife of 38 years, Barbara, was aware of the relationship.

"I have tried to be as straight as I could be with my family on all this. I tried to keep it between my family and this lady's family," he said.

However, Burton has never previously publicly acknowledged the child as his son. His campaign literature only mentions the three children he has with his wife, and the boy's birth certificate does not list a father, according to the Star. Burton's son also does not use his last name.

The relationship took place in the early 1980s, when Burton was a member of the Indiana Senate and the woman, now married, worked for a state agency. The newspaper chose not to identify the woman, and she declined to discuss her relationship with Burton.

'This is private'

Although Burton has been an outspoken critic of the president -- including making a now-infamous remark last April calling Clinton a "scumbag" -- the congressman has generally confined his comments about the president to fund-raising allegations and other matters, not Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

Asked for reaction after one court ruling in Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton, Burton commented that it would have no effect on his work, because "our investigation was never involved with the sex problems of the president."

On Tuesday, Burton told constituents in Indiana that he expected the magazine Vanity Fair to print a "scandal story" about him, and he accused Clinton supporters of spreading information about his private life.

While Vanity Fair has been preparing a story about Burton, a spokeswoman for the magazine, Beth Kseniak, dismissed as "totally ludicrous" the suggestion that Clinton supporters were helping decide the magazine's content. The White House also denied the charge.

In his statement, Burton sought to put distance between his own actions and the accusations against Clinton stemming from the Lewinsky matter.

"I have never perjured myself. I have never committed obstruction of justice," he said. "I have been as straight as an arrow in my public duty. But this is private."

In Other News

Friday September 4, 1998

Burton Admits Fathering Child During Affair
House Leaders Will Discuss Starr Report
McDougal Trial Will Begin Tuesday
Judge Stays Action On Tripp Filegate Deposition
FEC Wants Clinton-Gore Campaign To Repay Matching Funds
Senate Republicans Push Alternative Tax Cut Plan

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