Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) told a woman he would report her to the Capitol Police in Washington, D.C. if she exposed his private sexual behavior, according to The Washington Post.
The Post on Wednesday reported that Barton had sent the woman sexually explicit messages, photographs and videos.
Barton warned the woman in a secretly recorded 2015 phone call against using the explicit materials “in a way that would negatively effect my career.”
The woman described contact and encounters with Barton lasting five years after she posted a message on his Facebook page in 2011.
The initial post ultimately led to sexually explicit exchanges between the pair and two physical sexual encounters in Texas and Washington, D.C.
The woman told The Post that she eventually became of and corresponded with several other women who were engaged in relationships with Barton at the time.
Barton then confronted her during the 2015 call, she said, and she interpreted his mentioning the Capitol Police as an attempt at intimidating her.
“I want your word that this ends,” he said, referencing her communications with the other women and her decision to share explicit materials he had sent.
“I will be completely straight with you,” Barton continued in the recording, which was reviewed by The Post.
“I am ready if I have to, I don’t want to, but I should take all this crap to the Capitol Hill Police and have them launch an investigation. And if I do that, that hurts me potentially big time.”
“Why would you even say that to me?” the woman responded. “The Capitol Hill police? And what would you tell them, sir?”
“I would tell them that I had a three-year undercover relationship with you over the internet that was heavily sexual and that I had met you twice while married and had sex with you on two different occasions and that I exchanged inappropriate photographs and videos with you that I wouldn’t like to be seen made public, that you still had apparently all of those and were in position to use them in a way that would negatively affect my career. That’s the truth.”
Barton later Wednesday confirmed that he had previously discussed getting the Capitol Police involved with the woman.
“When I ended the relationship, she threatened to publicly share my private photographs and intimate correspondences in retaliation,” he said.
“Today, the Capitol Police reached out to me and offered to launch an investigation and I have accepted,” Barton added.
The woman said she never intended to use the various explicit materials in retaliation against Barton.
Barton earlier Wednesday apologized after a nude photograph of him circulated on social media earlier in the week.
The Texas Republican is 68 and the longest-serving Republican in the House, now in his 17th term.