Hastert, Boehner And Reynolds Knew Of Foley's E-Mails To 16-Year-Old Boy Months Ago. Why Didn't They Do Anything?
House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) now admits that he knew earlier this year of inappropriate e-mails from Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) to a 16-year-old page, contradicting earlier statements that he had only learned of the e-mails last week.
Hastert made the admission after two prominent House Republicans acknowledged they knew of the inappropriate e-mails, and said they had informed Hastert several months ago. Those House "leaders" were House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-NY), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Foley, who was considered a shoo-in for re-election next month, abruptly resigned his seat Friday.
How could three top Republicans not demand that Foley resign months ago?
Is this simply party before country? Party before the safety of the teenage boys? Or were the GOP leaders hoping the Foley matter would stay quiet until after the election -- in case they needed Foley's seat to guarantee the GOP retains control of the House?
As JABBS noted last month, Boehner wouldn't commit to Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace that Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) should resign from the House, even after pleading guilty to influence-peddling.
But while that may demonstrate party before country, it's not as selfish as allowing a Congressman to continue in office even after multiple complaints that he was sending "over-friendly" e-mails to 16-year-old boys, and asking for photographs -- which one of the boys described as "sick."
The various House leaders claim they were unaware of "sexually explicit instant messages" sent by Foley, as revealed Friday in a report from ABC News. Of course, given that Hastert lied once with regard to Foley, it calls into question any other statements his office makes on the matter.
Another element to the story was the way the GOP leadership dealt with the question of whether Foley was fit to serve.
GOP leaders told the Post they referred the matter to Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), who heads a three-lawmaker panel that oversees the House page program. But Foley convinced Shimkus that the e-mail exchanges were innocent, Shimkus and Republican leaders said.
Here's the rub: Rep. Dale E. Kildee (D-MI), the only Democrat on the House Page Board, said yesterday: "I was never informed of the allegations about Mr. Foley's inappropriate communications with a House page, and I was never involved in any inquiry into this matter."
That decision of party before country may backfire badly. The district's Democratic nominee, Tim Mahoney, has seen his candidacy take on new life with Foley's resignation. Charlie Cook, editor of a nonpartisan newsletter that tracks congressional races, told the Post that if Foley's name stays on the ballot, "it's going to be hard for Republicans to hold on to the seat."
I hope the Democrats regain control of the House by one seat -- that seat.