Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Foley Scandal & The Party of Values

Latest breaking and rather damaging news from Capitol Hill:

As the FBI investigation picked up steam, with agents contacting former pages across the country, there were new allegations that Foley's suspect behavior towards pages was no secret to the Speaker of the House and his top staff for at least three years.

Kirk Fordham, former chief of staff for Foley, told ABC News today that sometime in late 2003, he told the Speaker's chief of staff that Foley was getting too close to young male pages.

Fordham says the Speaker's aide, Scott Palmer, then met with Foley. Fordham also said the Speaker knew about the meeting.

Fordham says there had been a series of warnings from page supervisors that Foley was spending too much time with the pages in ways that were inappropriate and would not stop.

This is a "cute" way of saying that House leadership knew for quite some time that Foley was engaged in this sort of behavior. Oh - did we forget to mention that he was a fairly formidable GOP fundraiser, donating as much as $100,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee as early as July 2006.

Obviously, this was someone the House Republican leadership didn't want to get rid of.

Here's an Associated Press report about NRCC Chairman Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-NY) role in all of this:

Reynolds said he alerted House Speaker Dennis Hastert about the issue in the spring, but at the time they had not seen the e-mails in question. Hastert said he doesn't remember talking about it with Reynolds, but he didn't dispute Reynolds' account.

Flanked by about 30 children of supporters and as many parents, Reynolds defended his actions at a press conference late Monday in Amherst.

The congressman said that like anyone who hears a complaint about a co-worker, he alerted his supervisor, in this case Hastert.

"I don't think I went wrong at all," said Reynolds. "I don't know what else I could have done. What's a good citizen to do?"

You could've been a lot louder about the situation and pressed a bit more. This goes way beyond a simple "complaint about a co-worker."

Swift resignations are warranted in this matter. Hypocrisy abound considering Republicans (especially the very ferocious ideologues on the House side) paint themselves as the "party of family values."