Archive for Thursday, October 5, 2006

Ex-aide to Foley cites warnings made in ‘03

October 5, 2006


— House Speaker Dennis Hastert's political support showed signs of cracking Wednesday as Republicans fled an election-year scandal spawned by steamy computer messages from former Rep. Mark Foley to teenage male pages.

At the same time, Foley's former chief of staff said in an Associated Press interview that he first warned Hastert's aides more than three years ago that Foley's behavior toward pages was troublesome. That was long before GOP leaders acknowledged learning of the problem.

Kirk Fordham, who was Foley's top aide until January 2004, said he had "more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene" several years ago.

Fordham resigned Wednesday as staff chief for another lawmaker caught up in the scandal, New York Rep. Thomas Reynolds, the House GOP campaign chief who says he alerted Hastert to concerns about Foley last spring.

The aide's claim drew a swift, unequivocal denial from Hastert's chief of staff. "What Kirk Fordham said did not happen," Scott Palmer said through a spokesman.

Republican officials said at least a few disgruntled members of the GOP rank and file had discussed whether to call on the speaker to step aside. It was not known how far the effort had gone. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue.

Ron Bonjean, Hastert's spokesman, said the entire matter had been referred to the House ethics committee. "We fully expect that the bipartisan panel will do what it needs to do to investigate this matter and protect the integrity of the House," he added.

GOP on defensive

Foley, 52, a Florida Republican, resigned Friday after he was confronted with sexually explicit electronic messages he had sent teenage male pages. He has since entered an alcohol rehabilitation facility at an undisclosed location. Through his lawyer, he has said he is gay but denied any sexual contact with minors.

His abrupt departure left behind an Internet-age sex scandal that has shaken Republican confidence - and poll numbers - little more than a month before elections at which their control of the House will be tested.

It also plunged Hastert and others into an intensive effort to grapple with conflicting claims about what senior lawmakers knew, when they learned it and what they did about it.

Fordham said that more than three years ago, he repeatedly asked GOP staffers to intervene with Foley, his boss at the time. He declined to identify them, but officials said Palmer, Hastert's chief of staff, was one of them. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Fordham also disputed allegations that he covered up any misdeeds by Foley. "At no point ever did I ask anyone to block any inquiries," said Fordham, who was Foley's longtime chief of staff until leaving in January 2004.

He said he intends to fully disclose to the FBI and the House ethics committee "any and all meetings and phone calls" about Foley that he had with senior aides in the House leadership.

Investigations prepared

State and federal investigators swung into action.

The Justice Department ordered House officials to "preserve all records" related to Foley's electronic correspondence with teenagers, and one law enforcement official said FBI agents had begun interviewing participants in the House page program.

It was not clear whether those questioned were current or former pages, or both.

The request for record preservation often is followed by search warrants and subpoenas, and signals that investigators are moving closer to a criminal investigation.

Rep. Deborah Pryce, who chairs the House Republican caucus, asked the House clerk to investigate what she described as rumors that Foley, while intoxicated, had once tried to enter the page residence hall but was stopped by Capitol Police.

Pryce, in a letter Tuesday after GOP House members had a conference call the night before, also asked the clerk to look into claims that the director of the page program had taken complaints about Foley's behavior to a former House clerk.

David Roth, Foley's attorney, would not comment Wednesday night.


acg 9 years, 1 month ago

agnostick, I really love you, man!!

craigers 9 years, 1 month ago

You're so right acg. I mean it must be tough to stand for something and then when you mess up people call you hypocrites. I had no idea that republicans couldn't make mistakes either.

ksmoderate 9 years, 1 month ago

Agnostick: Well put.

RT: The "traditional" values espoused in recent years by the Republican party are those of fundamentalist evangelical christian wackos who thump their bibles as often as possible with no regard to the beliefs and convictions of others (read: normal people).

It's interesting to watch the Blame Game being played in the GOP, becuase it sure is hypocritical (after Katrina, the GOP called the Blame Game a democratic smear strategy....remember?).

craigers 9 years, 1 month ago

There is a difference for standing up on moral ground and falling down rather than saying that you believe one thing and doing the opposite as a lifestyle. Labeling people as a hyprocrite should be done if their lifestyle displays that, not if they screw up. I wasn't refering merely to this case but to the overall blanket statement you made about those that are on the conservative right. You can't make a blanket statement :
"But the republicans are the "morality" party. They're always trying to tell us what to do in our bedrooms, what to do with our bodies, how to get closer to God and then stuff like this comes out and I laugh and laugh and laugh. Hypocrites! Mouthpieces!! Losers!!!!!"

And then when I respond try to bring it back to the one instance. As for this man, yes his lifestyle mirrors the hypocritical, but not everybody that has a moral lapse of judgement is hypocritical.

acg 9 years, 1 month ago

Mess up? This wasn't a mess up craigers. This was a sick, freak, pedophile trying to entice young boys into sexual situations. People do screw up in life. I will attest to that, as I have done myself several times. But being a sicko that wants to diddle boys isn't your typical screw up. And yes, they're hypocrites. "Gays can't marry! Don't get that abortion! Don't smoke that joint! Don't drink that alcohol! Don't have sex outside of the marriage bed!! You had better go to church and get right with God" "What? Oh yeah, ignore the fact that I'm a pedophile." You don't find that behavior hypocritical? Then there's something off in your head.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

It's always a good thing when hypocrisy and corruption are exposed.

But I understand that it must be uncomfortable to have your blissful ignorance disturbed, RT.

acg 9 years, 1 month ago

I have to dance the jig when I read this stuff. It kills me! We all know politicians are lying scum, all of them, dems and repubs alike. But the republicans are the "morality" party. They're always trying to tell us what to do in our bedrooms, what to do with our bodies, how to get closer to God and then stuff like this comes out and I laugh and laugh and laugh. Hypocrites! Mouthpieces!! Losers!!!!!

Richard Heckler 9 years, 1 month ago

Ex-Aide Says Speaker's Office Told About Foley 3 Years Ago

By JEFF ZELENY and CARL HULSE Published: October 4, 2006 WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 - A former Congressional aide said today that he alerted House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's office at least three years ago that Congressional pages had lodged complaints about Representative Mark Foley's "inappropriate behavior," asserting that Mr. Hastert's staff had been warned about Mr. Foley far earlier than the speaker's office has acknowledged.

Bone777 9 years, 1 month ago

This is how leaders in politics and the Catholic church have been built for generations.

What will we do without our leaders be tempered by the fires of pedophile passion.

Sick! I know.

drake 9 years, 1 month ago

This story has not been confirmed yet, but it is starting to look like you libs had a little premature eja* on your witch hunt to get the Speaker of the House to resign. More about these pranksters will be forthcoming soon now that the page has hired an attorney.

Kodiac 9 years, 1 month ago

Yeah right Drake,

It was a prank so he resigns??????????

Give me a break.

bunnyhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Welcome to America!!! Government by they who have the least compunctions about sucking up to big money.............why do we expect elected leaders whose primary loyalties must be to their wealthiest patrons to suddenly be individuals of high moral character??? Our current campaign funding structure for congress and the presidency virtually assures us that we will end up with the candidates least likely to be individuals of high moral character who make decisions for us based on the best information and designed to provide the greatest good for those who need it most!

Kodiac 9 years, 1 month ago

So 75x55, why does Foley resign?

If the facts are different then stated then why does he not defend himself and/or stay the course.

Are you saying you believe it was a prank too?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.