In October 2008, media outlets began reporting allegations that Mahoney paid hush money to a mistress to conceal an extramarital affair.
Tim Mahoney ran for reelection in 2008 but lost the November 4 election to Republican Tom Rooney.
Mahoney was born in Aurora, Illinois. He grew up in Summit, New Jersey, and graduated from Summit High School in 1974. He obtained a bachelor's degree in computer science and business from West Virginia University in 1978 and an M.B.A. from George Washington University in 1983.
Mahoney began his career in the computer business. After seven years, he achieved wealth when a company he was working for, Tecmar, which sold personal computer accessories, was sold. In 1986, he moved to Florida and became president of Rodime Systems, a division of Rodime Inc. Rodime Inc., for which Mahoney was also vice president of marketing and sales, manufactured disc drives that were packaged for the retail market by Rodime Systems. In 1995, Mahoney and business partner, Lenny Sokolow, started Union Atlantic, LLC, a venture capital firm. His inability to get the firm listed on vFinance.com, a fledgling matchmaking Web site for venture capitalists and cash-hungry entrepreneurs, led him and Sokolow to purchase the website in 1998, merging it with Union Atlantic.
Mahoney served as chairman and chief operating officer of vFinance, Inc., a financial services company which is located in Boca Raton. vFinance initially grew quickly after buying several other broker-dealer and financial services customers, and during his last year with the company reported revenues in excess of $38 million. Sokolow replaced Mahoney as chairman and COO in 2007.
Mahoney had been a Republican for most of his life, but became a Democrat in the summer of 2005 after having allegedly becoming disillusioned by the GOP.
In the 2006 general election, Mahoney faced six-term Republican incumbent Mark Foley. In a twist of history, Foley had been a Democrat for most of his life before switching parties to run for Congress. In 2006, 42% of the voters in this district were registered Republicans, and 36% were registered Democrats. George W. Bush won this district with 52% of the vote in the 2000 presidential election, and with 54% of the vote in the 2004 presidential election. One poll taken by Hamilton Beattie on September 12, 2006, had Foley leading Mahoney 48% to 35%.
In the campaign, Mahoney sharply criticized the Bush administration for overspending, general mismanagement, and its policies in Iraq. In August, General Wesley Clark endorsed Mahoney.
On September 28, 2006, ABC News reported that Foley had sent email messages, from his personal AOL account, to a then-16-year-old former congressional page, asking the page to send a photo of himself to Foley, among other things that were overtly sexual in nature. After the Republican leadership told Foley that he would face almost certain expulsion from the House, Foley resigned the next day. The Republicans' hold on the seat went from "safe" to "shaky" overnight.
On October 2, 2006, the Florida Republican Party Executive Board selected state Representative Joe Negron as Mahoney's new opponent. However, Negron's name did not appear on the ballot; he only received votes cast for Foley, whose name remained on the ballot by law. On election day, Mahoney narrowly defeated Negron by 1.8 percentage points. While Negron carried most of the more conservative areas of the district near Fort Myers, Mahoney carried the two largest counties in the district, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties, by a combined margin of over 10,000 votes — far more than the actual margin of victory.
Mahoney was the first Democrat to represent the district since its creation in 1973 (it was numbered as the 10th District from 1973 to 1983, and as the 12th District from 1983 to 1993).
Mahoney had been a top target for defeat in 2008, due to the district's Republican voting history. In addition, revelations of his extramarital affair (see below) severely hampered his reelection chances. In the November election, Mahoney was soundly defeated by former assistant state Attorney General Tom Rooney. Mahoney won only 40 percent of the vote to Rooney's 60 percent — the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent in the 2008 cycle.
Mahoney was generally considered to be a moderate Democrat, especially by South Florida Democratic standards. He has taken the following policy stances:Homeland Security: Supports screening of all cargo containers entering American ports, and increased funding for first responders.
Immigration: Supports increased border security.
Seniors: Opposed to Social Security Privatization. Supports reforming Medicare’s Part D Prescription Drug Program.
Environment: Advocate of preserving Florida Everglades from unregulated development. Supports Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project.
Insurance: Supports guaranteed disaster insurance for high-risk areas. Advocate of national catastrophic fund on Financial Services Committee.
Supported the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act of 2007.
He is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of Democratic congressmen (largely from the South) known for moderate to conservative stances, especially on fiscal issues.
On September 29, 2008, Mahoney voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.Committee on Financial Services
Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises
Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit
Committee on Agriculture
Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture
Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry
Mahoney has a home in Palm Beach Gardens (though he was described in the official House roll as "D-Venus") and a cattle ranch in southern Highlands County. He is divorced and has a daughter, Bailey. Currently his daughter is an honor student and a scholarship equestrian athlete. The Mahoneys are members of the Venus United Methodist Church in Venus, Florida. Mahoney describes himself as a "fundamental Christian".
On September 18, 2008, the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call ran an article questioning Mahoney's residency status. It alleged that Mahoney had registered to vote at "a horse barn" for the purposes of having residency in his Congressional District, while his primary residence was actually in another district. The issue came to light after Mahoney missed a rent payment on his Capitol Hill apartment in July 2007. The case itself was dismissed on September 6, 2007. While Mahoney's opponent, Tom Rooney, attempted to make light of the allegations, the attack proved ineffective after Democrats revealed that Rooney himself was registered to vote at a dog track. While members of the House are only required to live in the state they wish to represent, it has become a strong convention that they live in or near the district they represent as well.
On October 13, 2008, ABC News reported that Mahoney had agreed to a $121,000 payment to a former mistress who worked on his staff and was threatening to sue him. Because Mahoney won this seat in 2006 after a sex scandal forced the incumbent to resign, several considered it ironic that a sex scandal of his own coming to light a month before the election, especially since he first campaigned against such corruption. Some professional political pundits, such as Charlie Cook, reclassified the race as "Leans Republican." The FBI looked into whether Mahoney hired the first mistress — and put her on the federal payroll — so she would not reveal their affair.
Mahoney admitted to having "numerous" affairs, "certainly more than two." Mahoney's wife Terry filed for divorce in Palm Beach County court on October 20, 2008. As noted above, Mahoney was soundly defeated for reelection.
On August 6, 2011, Mahoney was booked into the Palm Beach County jail and charged with a DUI offense.