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Former Rep. Chris Lee, who sent shirtless picture online, returns campaign money

This undated photo provided by Gawker shows Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., posing shirtless in front of a mirror. The gossip website Gawker reported Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011 that Lee, a married two-term Republican lawmaker, had sent the shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist.
AP Photo/Gawker
Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y.,
This undated photo provided by Gawker shows Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., posing shirtless in front of a mirror.
AP Photo/Gawker

Former Rep. Chris Lee, the New York Republican who became known as the "Craigslist Congressman" after the photographs and messages he sent to a woman he met online went public, has apologized to more than 1,000 donors and returned the money he raised in 2010 and 2011.

The Buffalo News reports that Lee wrote in a letter to donors than he regrets the impact of his actions.

"I make no excuses for my behavior," he wrote. "It was wrong."

Lee, who is married, resigned last month amid revelations that he emailed a shirtless photograph of himselfto a woman seeking a relationship on Craigslist. Lee, then a 46-year-old member of Congress, described himself to the woman as a 39-year-old lobbyist and a "fit fun classy guy."

In his letter to donors, Lee wrote his first priority is now "to try and pull back together a life for my family."

"God willing, with the continued support of family and friends, it will happen," he added.

Lee told the Buffalo News that every donor who gave him money in 2010 and 2011 will be repaid in full.

Lee raised more $1.7 million in the 2010 campaign cycle, according to his Federal Elections Commission filing, and had more than $734,000 in cash on hand at the end of 2010.

A special election to fill Lee's seat is set for May 24.