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Ex-Sen. Domenici discloses son born in secrecy

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DOMENICI: Kept secret for three decades

DOMENICI: Kept secret for three decades

Former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici told the Journal on Tuesday he fathered a son outside of his marriage over 30 years ago, revealing a secret kept for decades.

Statements given to the Journal by Domenici and the son’s mother, Michelle Laxalt of Alexandria, Va., identified the son as Adam Paul Laxalt, a Nevada lawyer. Michelle Laxalt formerly was a prominent government relations consultant and television political commentator in Washington, D.C. She is a daughter of former U.S. senator and Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt.

“More than 30 years ago, I fathered a child outside of my marriage,” Domenici said in his statement.

“The mother of that child made me pledge that we would never reveal that parenthood, and I have tried to honor that pledge and so has she,” Domenici said.

The 80-year-old Republican, who decided not to seek election to a seventh term in 2008, citing health reasons, said he remains concerned about privacy for Michelle Laxalt, and their son. Domenici indicated he was disclosing the family matter to the Journal because he anticipated someone else was about to make the story public.

“Rather than have others breach this privacy, I have decided to make this statement,” the former senator said. “These circumstances now compel me to reveal this situation.”

Domenici said the story is painful to all involved.

“My past action has caused hurt and disappointment to my wife, children, family and others,” he said. “For that I am solely responsible.”

Domenici, who continues to live in Washington, D.C., with his wife, said his family “has been aware of these events for several months.”

“I have apologized as best as I can to my wife, and we have worked together to strengthen our relationship,” Domenici said.

“I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior,” he said. “I hope New Mexicans will view that my accomplishments for my beloved state outweigh my personal transgression.”

Domenici asked that “everyone respect the privacy of my family and the son’s mother” and said he alone “should bear the brunt of this matter.”

Michelle Laxalt, who worked for several U.S. senators but never for Domenici, indicated in her statement that she believed others might soon reveal the relationship.

“Recently information has come to me that this sacred situation might be twisted … and shopped to press outlets large and small in a vicious attempt to smear, hurt and diminish Pete Domenici, an honorable man, his extraordinary wife, Nancy, and other innocents.” Michelle Laxalt said in her prepared statement.

“Why, after more than 30 years, would anyone insinuate pain and ugliness where joy and beauty have presided?” she asked.

Michelle Laxalt said “one night’s mistake led to pregnancy” and she chose to raise the son as a single parent.

“Given the fact that both my father and the father of my child were United States senators, I felt strongly that I would make this choice according to my values and would not seek advice, input or permission,” Michelle Laxalt said.

She said she told Domenici of her decision and asked that “he agree that this remain private between the two of us.”

She said her son “lived surrounded by love and joy and opportunity. I am proud of him, yet saddened that the circumstances of his birth might be used like a weapon to hurt many we love.”

Adam Paul Laxalt is a former U.S. Navy officer who graduated with honors from Georgetown University in 2001 and from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2005, according to his law firm’s website.

Domenici said his son participated in the drafting of the statement he issued. Laxalt declined by email to comment and asked that his privacy be respected.

Adam Paul Laxalt

Adam Paul Laxalt

Before serving in the Navy, including general counsel duties in Iraq, Laxalt worked as a law clerk for the U.S. Air Force general counsel. He also worked as a special assistant to John Bolton, undersecretary of state for international security and arms control, and as a staff member for Sen. John Warner, R-Va.

Michelle Laxalt formed her own consulting firm in Washington, D.C., and once was identified by Washingtonian magazine as one of the district’s top 50 lobbyists. She was active in the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush.

Domenici, the father of eight children with his wife, Nancy, is a lawyer and served on the former Albuquerque City Commission before winning the first of six terms in the U.S. Senate.

He won national recognition as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee before his retirement in early 2009. He was on George H.W. Bush’s short list for vice president in 1988.

Domenici remained highly popular in New Mexico throughout his political career and became the state’s longest-serving U.S. senator.

 

Statement by Pete Domenici More than 30 years ago, I fathered a child outside my marriage. The mother of that child made me pledge that we would never reveal that parenthood, and I have tried to honor that pledge and so has she. I have been concerned about the burden of privacy on the son Adam Laxalt.I am also worried about the impact of these revelations on his mother, Michelle Laxalt. However, rather than have others breach this privacy, I have decided to make this statement today. These circumstances now compel me to reveal this situation.My past action has caused hurt and disappointment to my wife, children, family, and others. For that I am solely responsible. My family has been aware of these events for several months. I have apologized as best as I can to my wife, and we have worked together to strengthen our relationship.I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior. I hope New Mexicans will view that my accomplishments for my beloved state outweigh my personal transgression. I only ask that everyone respect the privacy of my family and the son’s mother. None of them wanted this publicity, none of them deserve the hurt of this revelation, and only I should bear the brunt of this matter.
Statement by Michelle Laxalt
I come from a political family and learned early in life the value of privacy. I vowed that I would make personal decisions based not on politics, but on my values. This self-pledge was tested when one night’s mistake led to pregnancy more than 30 years ago. I chose to go through with that pregnancy, although other choices were available. I also chose to raise my child as a single parent.Given the fact that both my father and the father of my child were United States senators, I felt strongly that I would make this choice according to my values, and would not seek advice, input or permission. My interaction with my child’s father consisted of telling him my decision, asking that he avail himself for health-related purposes, and asking that he agree that this remain private between the two of us.I raised my son, Adam Paul, as a single parent. He lived surrounded by love and joy and opportunity. I am proud of him, yet saddened that the circumstances of his birth might be used like a weapon to hurt many we love. Recently information has come to me that this sacred situation might be twisted, re-written out of whole cloth, and shopped to press outlets large and small in a vicious attempt to smear, hurt and diminish Pete Domenici, an honorable man, his extraordinary wife, Nancy, and other innocents.Why after more than 30 years, would anyone insinuate pain and ugliness where joy and beauty have presided?

— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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