House Ethics Committee Won't Release Report On Foley Before Election Day
The House Ethics Committee is not planning to issue a report on former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) before Election Day.
The lack of a report leaves voters to sort through conflicting Republican accounts -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) vs. most other top House Republicans -- in deciding whether GOP leaders failed to protect teenage pages in their care.
Still, the damage from the scandal -- which briefly dominated headlines in September -- may have been the final nail in the coffin for GOP hopes of retaining control of the House.
"It demoralized Republicans and threw them off message," said John Pitney, Jr., a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College in California. "They wanted desperately to talk about Osama Bin Laden and had to talk about Mark Foley. It may add to the sense that Republicans aren't managing the House very well."
Recent polls suggest that voters consider the Foley issue important. In a CNN poll last month, 55 percent said the Foley scandal would be very or extremely important in their vote. The same poll found that 57 percent thought Republican leaders covered up Foley's behavior.