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It’s an age-old story: Politician meets stripper, stripper talks to media, politician denies entire thing. Now, a prominent Tea Party member is finding himself in boiling water over his sketchy relations with a former Penthouse Pet and stripper.

Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, who plans to run for governor in 2012, is scrambling to denounce rumors that he behaved inappropriately with Tammy Chapman while she was a stripper.

According to Chapman’s interview with the Riverfront Times, Kinder was obsessed with her 16 years ago while she was working at the Diamond Cabaret in Sauget, Illinois. The rising politician became a regular, visiting Chapman twice a week and bringing her letters and baked goods — evidently following the adage that the way to a stripper’s heart is through her stomach. Despite Kinder’s “sweet” attempts to woo Chapman, the stripper refused to attend political functions with him in his hometown, Cape Girardeau. But soon the politician’s infatuation took a turn for the sleazy:

“He became very aggressive with me,” she says. “I couldn’t tolerate what he was making me do.”

Chapman alleges that while she gave the state senator private dances, he would grab her by the shoulders and aggressively try to force her head into his lap. “He’d pull me down to his groin — really, really hard, to the point that it hurt me,” she says. Alarmed by his conduct and the letters he was writing, she told him not to come in any more. “I was willing to give up the money he gave me,” she says simply.

Even then, he’d visit. “He would show up and sit there and just ogle me,” Chapman recalls.

The visits and brownies eventually died off, and Chapman didn’t see Kinder for years. Most recently, the pair ran into each other at Verlin’s Bar and Grill — a joint known for its “pantsless parties.” Even though the two had long since ceased regular contact, Kinder invited Chapman to move into his apartment, which is paid for by his campaign committee. Chapman, who is a lesbian, declined. She says she’s been speaking to the media because she is disgusted that Kinder “uses his political business card to get women.”

Kinder responded to the reports with a statement released via his campaign, saying, “Like most people I am not proud of every place I have been, but this woman’s bizarre story is not true.”

But meanwhile, Missouri Republicans are raising eyebrows and questioning whether someone with such a tumultuous personal past is the ideal gubernatorial candidate.

True, Chapman was never married, so this isn’t another case of infidelity. But that doesn’t make the story any less creepy.

Aspiring politicians should take note: Think with the head on your shoulders, and keep your hands to yourself. Also, remember that you can’t woo a stripper with brownies.

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