A little over a year after U.S. congressman William Timmons saw his marriage implode over an extramarital affair – an implosion which is ongoing, incidentally – another socially conservative member of the South Carolina congressional delegation is facing allegations of infidelity.
According to a compliant filed on Friday in Laurens County, S.C., Melody Hodges Duncan – wife of seventh-term U.S. congressman Jeff Duncan – is suing her husband for divorce on grounds of “adultery” related to an alleged affair with a Washington, D.C. lobbyist.
Jeff Duncan has “left the marriage” of thirty-five years, according to the filing (.pdf), and has allegedly “admitted to … an ongoing sexual relationship” with a lobbyist named Liz Williams. This news outlet has confirmed the woman referenced in the complaint is Jackson, Mississippi native and former National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyist Liz Williams.
According to Melody Duncan, her husband “has committed adultery during the course of the parties’ marriage with Liz Williams and at least one other woman.”
The other “other woman” was not named in the complaint.
(Click to view)
Why is this newsworthy? Doesn’t our media outlet have a long-established, widely known policy of not reporting on the interpersonal extracurriculars of Palmetto State politicians?
Generally speaking, unless an elected or appointed official is engaged in criminal activity during the course of an affair, using government money or resources in the furtherance of an affair or making official decisions (promotions, appointments, pay raises) based on an affair … I do not care who they are sleeping with.
Williams’ status as a lobbyist could push up against that red line … but probably wouldn’t cross it.
There are other factors to consider, though. The other possible “angle” compelling coverage of such dalliances is the existence of what I’ve previously referred to as a “demonstrable associated hypocrisy” – i.e. when an official campaigns as a pro-family, social conservative or endorsing government as an instrument of morality (but then turning around and behaving explicitly counter to these stated principles).
The filing against Jeff Duncan makes it abundantly clear that his wife believes he is a hypocrite as it relates to the disconnect between his public and private lives – having conducted his alleged affairs despite running for election “with the support of his wife and sons on a platform of family values.”
“As recently as August 28, 2023, defendant hosted a ‘Faith and Freedom BBQ’ where he spoke to the crowd, among other things, about his marriage to (Melody) – calling her a supportive and loving wife and portraying an image of himself as a dedicated, dutiful husband,” the complaint alleged. “Upon information and belief, (Jeff Duncan) then left the next day and went directly to the home of his paramour, Liz Williams, in the Washington, D.C. area.”
According to the filing, Duncan is now “presenting a false narrative of a loveless marriage to (Melody) to justify the hypocrisy of his public statements and his private actions.”
Melody Duncan’s filing sought exclusive use and possession of the couple’s “former marital residence,” with the congressman obligated to be “solely responsible” for all costs associated with that residence. She also asked the court for sixty percent of the “marital estate” as well as attorney’s costs and fees.
(Click to view)
Finally, Melody Duncan asked the court for an order restraining the congressman “from contacting, bothering , harassing, or in any way interfering with (her) in person, by phone, internet/ email, text messages, mail or through third parties.”
Neither Melody Duncan nor her attorneys were immediately available to respond to comment regarding the filing. Duncan’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Certainly in the event we receive comments from the parties associated with this action, we will update this report and/ or provide supplemental coverage.
Jeff Duncan, 57, of Greenville, S.C. was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 2011 – replacing former representative Gresham Barrett. In the intervening years, he has been a generally reliable conservative vote – as well as a pro-free market leader on energy issues.
Earlier this year, in fact, our media outlet praised Duncan for his work on a key pipeline issue.
“Duncan is the politician driving the Palmetto State’s energy policy debate – with a seat at the table in Washington, D.C. and at all the key meetings back home,” we noted in a recent edition of our Palmetto Political Stock Index.
THE FILING …
(Via: S.C. Eighth Judicial Circuit)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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