By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
Here's a talker: Former senator Pete Domenici is acknowledging he fathered a son outside of his marriage 30 years ago - with the daughter of another senator, Paul Laxalt.
Domenici, a New Mexico Republican who was once the top budget expert in Congress, revealed his secret to the Albuquerque Journal. The Associated Press picked up the story Wednesday.
Domenici, who is now 80 years old, and Michelle Laxalt released statements to the Albuquerque paper saying Domenici is the father of her son, Las Vegas lawyer Adam Laxalt. "One night's mistake led to a pregnancy 30 years ago," she said.
The former senator and Michelle Laxalt indicated they were disclosing Adam Laxalt's fatherhood "because they thought somebody might soon attempt to make it public, with her statement saying she thought someone would shop it to the media to smear Domenici," according to the AP.
Michelle Laxalt also said they agreed to keep the fatherhood a secret because Domenici and her father, a Nevada Republican, were serving in the U.S. Senate at the same time.
Domenici is a former Senate Budget Committee chairman, who is also known for his advocacy on mental health and nuclear energy. He served from 1973 to 2009, and was New Mexico's longest-serving senator. He retired because of health reasons and has a brain disease.
"I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior," Domenici said in his statement. "I hope New Mexicans will view that my accomplishments for my beloved state outweigh my personal transgression."
Domenici told the Albquerque paper that he has apologized to his wife, Nancy, with whom he has eight children. The ex-senator appeared before the Senate earlier this month, introducing Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew at his confirmation hearing.
It's not the first time that a lawmaker has been quiet about a child. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., revealed that he has a 24-year-old daughter -- which he did after inquiries were made about the woman he was texting during the State of the Union.