Indiana Rep. Mark Souder officially resigned Friday after serving as a member of Congress for more than 15 years.
Souder, who was once named by Congressional Quarterly magazine as one of the four most effective "conservative true believers" in Congress, confessed Tuesday to having "sinned against God, my wife, and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff."
Without going into further detail, the churchgoing congressman said he wanted to step aside so that his mistake could not be used as a "political football in a partisan attempt to undermine the cause for which I have labored all my adult life."
"Human beings, like me, will fail, but our cause is greater than individuals," he said, maintaining that the ideas he advocated "are still just and right."
"In the poisonous environment of Washington D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain," Souder stated. "I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process."
On Thursday, Souder's two-sentence resignation letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was read into the House record, freeing up the seat representing northeastern Indiana that the Republican was first elected to in 1994.
A date has not yet been set for a special election to determine who will serve the remainder of Souder's eighth term, but Gov. Mitch Daniels said he will call a special election this summer.
As for Souder, the father of three and grandfather of two said his plans are focused upon repairing his marriage, earning back the trust of his family and community, and renewing his walk with the Lord.
Souder and his wife, who attend a United Brethren church in Fort Wayne, have been married for over 35 years.