Vance-plosion! Five Unanswered Questions On The McAllister Scandal

fun in funroe smFirst, a rundown of the McAllister scandal by The Daily Caller

Fifth District Congressman Vance McAllister, who campaigned for office last fall as a devout Christian and devoted husband and father, was caught in video surveillance two days before Christmas passionately embracing and kissing one of his congressional aides.

The Ouachita Citizen obtained the video recording from an anonymous source. The video can be seen at

The incident occurred at roughly 1:39 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2013, inside McAllister’s congressional office at 1900 Stubbs Ave., Suite B, in Monroe.

The woman who McAllister, 40, was caught kissing for almost half a minute is Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, 33, of 400 Zachary Way, Sterlington. She is McAllister’s district scheduler.

Peacock donated $5,200 to McAllister’s congressional campaign last fall, according to the Federal Election Commission. According to the FEC, Peacock listed her employment at the time of the donation as a self-employed cosmetologist. She joined McAllister’s congressional staff after he took office in November. Photographs posted to Facebook show Peacock was involved in a number of McAllister’s campaign events during last fall’s congressional race.

And now, a number of interesting questions to ask.

Who filmed and leaked the surveillance footage to the The Ouachita Citizen?

Based on how it was shot, what’s on this video appears to be archived surveillance footage, not live surveillance  footage. And there is obviously an individual filming the footage from a camcorder or cell phone. There are three possibilities where the footage could have c0me from, considering that the person recording it on a cell phone must have known where to look in the surveillance archives at McAllister’s Monroe district office to find TMZ/Smoking Gun-worthy material.

Possibility #1:  Someone working for the security company operating the cameras at McAllister’s congressional office in Monroe. But is the security company watching those camera feeds all day? And if not, how is a security guard going to know to look for archived tape from Dec. 23 at 1:39 p.m. to find something worth recording?

Possibility #2: The landlord of the congressional office. Again, the same question comes into play. How would a landlord know where to look for this type of footage unless they were all-out stalking McAllister? And from what we’re told, though this could be wrong, McAllister’s offices are in the same Monroe building that his predecessor Rodney Alexander made his offices – if you’re the landlord, why would you leak damaging footage that might cost you a tenant?

Possibility #3: One of McAllister’s own congressional staffers. This seems to be the most likely of the three possibilities, as it would make sense that a staffer would know exactly where to go to find evidence that McAllister was in a relationship with Peacock – and one might also deduce that it would have been a senior staffer to be able to access the archived footage.

Why would the surveillance footage be sent to The Ouachita Citizen?

Ironically, The Ouachita Citizen endorsed Neil Riser, McAllister’s opponent for the 5th congressional district seat last year, calling McAllister “just another liberal politician.” It is fascinating that a small West Monroe newspaper obtains damaging footage of a congressman over every other major news outlet in the state and nation.

Another fascinating fact is the publisher of the The Ouachita Citizen, Sam Hanna Jr., has political ties to Riser and his campaign guru Timmy Teepell (who also has a similar role with Gov. Bobby Jindal), according to sources.

Further, given that the Citizen has a well-known conservative editorial leaning it’s a reasonable deduction that whomever the culprit in leaking the tape to Hanna was a Republican or a conservative rather than a Democrat. A Democrat would probably be more likely to send it to the Monroe News-Star, the Times-Picayune or even a TMZ or Gawker.

Why did the The Ouachita Citizen release the footage now?

According to the original news post, which broke the McAllister scandal, the footage was released after two weeks of it being held by the local newspaper. Normally, newspapers are quick to release breaking news stories in fear that another newspaper will get to it first. However, The Ouachita Citizen took it’s time releasing the surveillance footage, as if it were certain that no other media outlet would obtain the footage.

Interestingly, this portion of the story, which notes that the newspaper held the footage for two weeks, has been retracted from the updated post. The Advocate, though, has paraphrased it since:

Sam Hanna Jr., publisher of The Ouachita Citizen, said Monday the video arrived in an envelope a couple weeks ago from an anonymous source and his reporters spent the time between then and now verifying its contents and participants.

Also, what exactly does “verifying its content and participants” mean? Did reporters actually call McAllister’s office ahead of time and verify with them that it was in fact McAllister and Peacock kissing?

Why did McAllister keep Peacock on his payroll until now after he allegedly told his wife of his infidelity back in late January? 

The surveillance footage of McAllister’s smooching session is dated at roughly 1:39 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2013. Because it was filmed via camcorder or cell phone, there is no paper-trail as to when the archived footage was then taped. McAllister said he confessed to his wife of his affair with Peacock back in late January or early February. However, according to McAllister’s Chief of Staff Adam Terry, McAllister only fired Peacock “within the last 24 hours,” after the surveillance footage was released.

Adam Terry, McAllister’s chief of staff, said Peacock was taken off of the payroll during the past 24 hours.

McAllister said he confessed to his wife in late January or early February “before the video came out.”

Terry’s quote would seem curious, at least. He’s known as a very sharp political operative with excellent strategic skills, and yet it would seem to be a mistake in crisis management to give the News-Star an admission that Peacock was let go as soon as the tape was made public (or when its release to the public became imminent). Why would he make such an admission rather than issue a “no comment” on that question?

Also, if Mrs. McAllister was told of the cheating back in January or February, is it plausible to think that she would not demand Peacock be removed from her position as district scheduler? Or, why would McAllister not remove Peacock himself out of respect for his wife and family?

And, when McAllister alleges he confessed to his wife “before the video came out,” does that mean he knew that there was footage – the footage we saw on Monday – which would eventually be leaked to the press? Is there more footage that McAllister knows of that will eventually come out? Or is he that rare species of adulterer who confesses his sin without provocation?

Is this McAllister’s first infidelity as he claims?

When asked if his relationship with Peacock was his first infidelity, he said, “Absolutely.”

Is it plausible to believe that McAllister only had one affair during his time so far in Washington? Reports claim that he apparently thinks congress “sucks” and is known to be a bit of a party animal among sources within the political realm. It might be rude to speculate about such things, but experience indicates that cheaters cheat often – and given that this infidelity is with the wife of a man McAllister went to high school with, worked with and took a maximum campaign donation from (he took a maximum donation from Melissa Peacock as well, as it happens), our readers might forgive the author for wondering whether such intimate adulterous choices aren’t evidence of someone who’s a veteran at the cheating game and who doesn’t worry too much about getting caught.

Maybe this line of reasoning overthinks the question, but it could be significant – one affair in office is unfortunate, but perhaps not fatal; multiple affairs in so short a time spells doom for McAllister’s political career.

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