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Lawmaker seeks probe after allegation

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney, married with a child, declined to say Monday whether he had carried on an affair with a former aide and paid to keep her quiet, but he called for an investigation by the House ethics committee into his own conduct.

Mahoney issued his statement hours after ABC News reported on its Web site that he had agreed to pay $121,000 in March to a former mistress and staff member after being threatened with a sexual harassment lawsuit. Mahoney said he would be vindicated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also called for an investigation.

The network, citing unnamed current and former Mahoney staff members, said the congressman began his affair with Patricia Allen in 2006 while he was campaigning for Congress, promising to return morals to Washington.

Mahoney won the race after former Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Foley resigned when it was revealed he sent lurid Internet messages to male teenage pages who had worked on Capitol Hill. Foley was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by state and federal authorities.

Mahoney’s bid to earn another term representing a district that has traditionally leaned slightly Republican was already considered one of the more competitive House races this fall.

Messages left for Mahoney and his staff were not returned Monday.

A Mahoney spokesperson told ABC that Allen resigned willingly and “has not received any special payment from campaign funds.”

In addition to the cash payment, ABC News reported that Mahoney promised Allen a $50,000-a-year job for two years at the agency that handles his campaign advertising.

That company, Nashville, Tenn.-based Fletcher Rowley Chao Riddle Inc., resigned from Mahoney’s campaign later Monday.