Republicans allowed sexual predator to remain in Congress

Republicans this weekend are scrambling to spin their way out of their failure to act when they learned a year ago that GOP Rep. Mark Foley of Florida was chasing young male Congressional pages through email.

The monumental failure in leadership and an obvious attempt to put holding on to a Republican seat by letting a pedophile skate has exposed the GOP’s hypocrisy of preaching ethics and family values while looking the other way when one of their own gets caught.

The Associated Press reports:

GOP leaders admit their offices have known for months that a Florida Republican congressman was sending inappropriate e-mails to a boy who had worked as a page in the House of Representatives.

The office of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who earlier said he’d learned about the e-mails only last week, acknowledged that aides referred the matter to the authorities last fall. They said they were only told the messages were "over-friendly."

Rep. Thomas Reynolds, who heads the House Republican election effort, said Saturday he told Hastert months ago about concerns that a fellow Republican lawmaker, Rep. Mark Foley, had sent inappropriate messages to a teenage boy.

Reynolds, a Republican from New York, is defending himself from Democrats who say he did too little to protect the boy.

Foley quit Congress on Friday after ABC News questioned him about the e-mails to a former congressional page and about sexually suggestive instant messages to other pages.

"The improper communications between Congressman Mark Foley and former House Congressional pages is unacceptable and abhorrent. It is an obscene breach of trust," Hastert, R-Ill., Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Saturday in a written statement.

The Republican leaders said it is their duty to ensure House pages are safe. They said they are creating a toll-free hot line for pages and their families to call to confidentially report any incidents, and will consider adopting new rules on communications between lawmakers and pages.

The boy who received the e-mails was 16 in the summer of 2005 when he worked in Congress as a page. After the boy returned to his Louisiana home, the congressman e-mailed him. The teenager thought the messages were inappropriate, particularly one in which Foley asked the teen to send a picture of himself.

Democrats quickly seized on the issue. The AP reports further:

House Republican leaders should have kept Democrats in the loop — and now must conduct a thorough investigation — about the inappropriate e-mails that led to Rep. Mark Foley’s resignation, a top Democrat said Sunday.

"This should be investigated objectively. I think the Democratic leadership should have been told 10 months ago," said Rep. Jane Harman of California, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. "I gather that basically nothing was done except that Foley was warned."

Foley, R-Fla., quit Congress on Friday after the disclosure of the e-mails to a teenage boy who was a former congressional page and the lawmaker’s sexually suggestive instant messages to other pages.

White House aide Dan Bartlett said the allegations against Foley were shocking and that President Bush had not been informed previously about the e-mails. Bartlett said there was no need for an independent outside investigation.

"The leadership appear to be very aggressive in pursuing this investigation," he said. "I think that’s the best place for this investigation to go forward."

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said at first he had learned only last week about the e-mails Foley sent to a page. Hastert later acknowledged that aides referred the matter to the authorities last fall.

Hastert’s office said, however, it was only aware the e-mails were "over-friendly," and asked for a review by the House board that oversees pages late last year.

Hastert, Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said in a joint statement Saturday that "the improper communications between Congressman Mark Foley and former House congressional pages is unacceptable and abhorrent. It is an obscene breach of trust."

Foley, who is 52 and single, was co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus. In a statement released by his office Friday, the lawmaker said, "I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent."

The House voted Friday to refer the matter for investigation by the House ethics committee. Democrats said Sunday any investigation must be thorough, but completed quickly.

"I am not comfortable with where we’re leaving this. It’s not my call what we do next, but more needs to be done," Harman said. "There’s been a Republican investigation for 24 hours of Republican activity, I just don’t think that that is adequate."

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., faulted the House GOP leadership for not acting sooner. "It’s outrageous," he said, citing reports indicating they were told months ago. "We have an obligation to protect these young pages. … It really makes me nervous that they might have tried to cover this up."

He called for a quick investigation before the November elections to "hold people accountable," but said there was no need for an outside investigation. "I think it’s something the ethics committee can handle. … It’s something that can be handled internally."

Rep. Thomas Reynolds, head of the House Republican election effort, said Saturday he told Hastert months ago about concerns Foley sent inappropriate messages to a teenage boy. Reynolds, R-N.Y., is under attack from Democrats who say he did too little to protect the boy.

Republican leaders say it’s their duty to ensure House pages’ safety, and are now creating a toll-free hot line for pages and their families to call to confidentially report any incidents. They also will consider adopting new rules on communications between lawmakers and pages.

The boy who received the e-mails was 16 in the summer of 2005 when he was a House page. After his return home to Louisiana, Foley e-mailed him and asked for a picture. That request was "sick" and "freaked me out," the boy said in an e-mail to a colleague in the office of Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., who had sponsored the boy in the House.

Harman was on "Fox News Sunday," while Bartlett and Murtha appeared on ABC’s "This Week."


  1. Idabell

    Okay Democratic leadership–if you’re too lame to pick up this Foley scandal and run with it they you don’t deserve to be elected. So Democrats knew? Who cares!!!! Go for it–take a lesson from the Carl Roves and drive this baby through November. Is it sick? Yes–but this is how you play the game–you know, the game that you’ve allowed the Republicans to direct and win since the 1980s. Why am I not hearing you now? Get out there and shout about the abject hypocracy of the Republicans and the fact that key Republican House leaders covered this up. Go on! I want to hear everyone start going for the Republican jugular now!! Here they are carrying on about family values and they are covering up for a pedophile in their midst. I’m telling you–this is it–this is something that anyone can understand. If you don’t take advantage of this disgusting story than you’re really all a bunch of suck ups. And who’s driving this bus anyway? Come on leadership–do I have to rely on Al Franken to do everything???

  2. The GOP Congresscritters actually helped insulate the Demos from the “they are both just as bad” charge; when Foley’s behavior drew the attention of the house’s Page Board, they evidently didn’t tell the Democratic member of the Board about it.

  3. ebbtide

    This is a scandel with a difference; if the party leadership *CONSPIRED* to keep this quiet, and if there were criminal behavior on Foley’s part, then you might see some action. I’ll bet the leadership is busy lining up their stories right now.

  4. Sorry maybe i’m stupid but did not get the part where the Democrats knew what the Republicans knew, if it’s in this article I missed it , also it would be the first thing in years that the repubs have shared with another party.

  5. Doubtom

    To a politician like Speaker of the House Hastert, power will always be more important than the corruption of the entire Page community of teenagers. Of course he knew about Foley’s queerness a long time ago and of course he wanted to keep it quiet. It’s just one more lie to add to the hundreds that this administration has issued.

    We need an investigation by an “outsider”. These cruds can’t police themselves!

  6. Doubtom

    There are two predictable courses of action for any politician caught red-handed in a crime.
    1. They will invariably claim to be an alcoholic and 2. they will invariably “find jesus” when incarcerated.

  7. Sandy Price

    Let’s see, didn’t we vote for the GOP in 2000 and 2004 because they represented family values?

    Hmmmm, could it be they consider legislating morals more important than acting morally themselves?

    The GOP is so busy trying to build a police state they overlook their own party members. Are we to believe that if abortions, prostitution, pedophilia were all prohibited in the Constitution through new Amendments, then it would stop in our own government? We have seen a growth of corruption in this Administration seldom seen before in our history.

    We have seen homosexuality come out of the closet and that is good, but what about abuse of power as shown by Foley going after a minor age page?

    What about all the money received by the corporations to buy Congressional votes? Instead of asking for the Congress to stop taking bribes, they want to control the lobbyists! The lobbyists are doing their jobs, the Congressmen are breaking the law by accepting the bribes!!! This is nothing but abusing their power seats in the government. The problem is not writing more laws but electing better qualified men and women.

    It looks to me as if the GOP planned police state had better start with the GOP. It is time to make voters aware that electing a man who claim to be a Christian is no guarantee he has a moral value to his name.

    Underneath it all, we still have the best government on the planet but the voters need to be educated on the values found in the Constitution. They are being bought by opportunists who claim to be what they are not! We cannot trust our media as in the middle of all this corruption they put out a poll on who one would rather have a beer with.

    Stop the schools and start training the kids on American values TODAY! I do not mean Christian values, but American values and if you don’t know the difference figure it out!

  8. bryan mcclellan

    G.O.P = gaggle of pedophiles -gang of perverts – groups of philanderers, I could go on but the point is made,politicians are masters of C.Y.A and the scramble is on to distance the reps from this despicable character.Bush will be on TV tommorow blaming the terroristas and the dems will be screaming off with their heads to the tune of truth lives not here .All this is one more smoke and mirror trick to take our eyes off the war and the lying bush administration.This smells of rovian crap,no doubt foley was instructed to take one for the team as it is on the record that his pals knew all about his crimes but continued to cover his ass.The complicity of these so called christian lawmakers shows one glaring constant,do anything to stay in power,even if it puts innocents at risk. How the reps could allow this guy to head a commitie designed to stop predators of our youth shows the callous hearts of these power mad bastards.For now I paint them all with the same brush.SCUMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!

  9. Susan

    Hmm. Seems to me the Republicans were in a “State of Denial” about Foley. Why they wouldn’t anticipate his emails leaking before the election is just beyond me.
    The arrogance of absolute power? They are more profoundly stupid than I ever imagined? Foley has something on THEM?

  10. Fred Goepfert

    A pedophile who was a RINO has been exposed, and hopefully will be prosecuted.

    Now, what will the party of Rep. Barney Frank and Gay Marriage do?

    Will they at least condemn NAMBLA?

  11. keith

    Why am I not surprised t that BOTH mainstream political parties sat on this information until the Congress recessed? Once again, it appears the “Republicrats” in Congress have taken care of “one of their own”…for far too long.

    Obviously, the Republicans wanted to hang onto a Republican seat to push “King George’s” policital agenda through the Congress. But, surely, the Democrats knew all about Congressman Foley’s pedophilic tendencies as well. But, my guess is they ALSO wanted him to stay there until just before election time so they’d have something to crow about down in his district just before his (former) constituents went to the polls to cast their votes. If this isn’t just another example of the US Congress’ absolute corruption (on BOTH sides of the aisle) I don’t know what is!

    But, then again, sitting on corruption and illegalities is nothing new for our US Congress. A few “whammies” come quickly to mind. Remember Speaker Foley’s book deals? And how about Representative Trafficant and all of his illegal chicanery? Then we had Congressman Schweikert with his hand firmly in the pockets of the Defense contractors. And, how about the esteemed Senator Packwood of Oregon (not to mention Congressman Wayne Hayes) both of whom were forced to resign in disgrace for sexually harassing their office help. The list of Congressional crooks goes on and on. And, that list of crooks is absolutely chock-full of BOTH Republicans AND Democrats!

    What’s more, ALL of these offenses required an external source (such as the media) to bring them to light. And, even when these obviously illegal activities were publicly exposed, the rest of their “esteemed colleagues” in the Congress spent far too much time “circling the wagons” to PROTECT the rearward facing anatomies of these crooks rather than booting them out the door.

    Sadly, the “Rebublicrats” have also now brainwashed most of us into thinking we have no other choice at election time but to vote for one or the other of their ever-more corrupt candidates.

    But, there’s a growing number of citizens (like me) who are totally fed up with BOTH mainstream political parties because far too many of their candidates are hopelessly corrupt, morally bankrupt and more than worthy of jail time. And all the while we continue to vote for the “lesser of two evils” come election time, we’re just going to keep on exchanging one form of political corruption for another.

    Fortunately, the Republicrat’s “stack the ballot” game only works so long as we, the people, continue to buy into it. Thankfully, we still have choices at the ballot box come general election time in the only “poll” that really matters.

    It’s called a “write in”. And the longest journey always begins with the first step.

    Do your homework, people! There ARE alternatives to ALL of these corrupt clowns! In the upcoming election, make your vote REALLY count by sending a strong message to BOTH mainstream political parties that you are absolutely fed up with their obvious collusion and blatant corruption!

  12. Ted Remington

    Actually, the spin doctors are getting ready to tell us that the Foley thing with the Congressional page had to do with Foley’s capacious appetite for, of all things, literature.

    “Poor Congressman Foley has been too busy in Congress to curl up with a good book, so he decided to just curl up with one of the pages.”

  13. Jimz

    I concur with what Keith says. You have to blame the CorpoMedia, too, as well as the complete single Republicrat party.

    Something that seems to be completely out of our collective memory in the U.S. is around 1900, there were SEVEN or so political parties in Congress. I wouldn’t be surprised if the textbooks in our schools gloss over that, as well. So, you see, the 2 party lockhold can be broken. Americans not only need to know it existed 100 years ago, but need the courage to not vote only for the Republicrats.

    I’m sure you’ve seen a flyer on your door once in awhile with some non-Republicrat man or woman running for office with some cheap looking photo of him or her in front of his/her average house with his/her family. Perhaps we should seriously consider voting for these people. How could they be any WORSE than what we have now?

    And besides, we’ve got to stop electing lawyers and “tough on crime prosecutors” into office. We need some professionals and people of other skillsets, badly.

    Don’t resort to letting your local newspaper choose your candidiates for you. They often are in bed with special interests, especially political machines and developers and will lead you to vote for their insiders.

  14. East Bay Will

    Wonder what O’Reilley’s thinking about today? What do you do when your worlds collide? The Republican Congress you laud vs. the pedophilia you make a conservative focal point. Well, the x and y axes have converged and looks like Bill’s going to have to reach to find a way to refocus this on the liberals, at least for now.

    One wonders about Rep. Foley. I mean, this was his work day stuff. Just following up on the welfare of the pages he was charged to oversee. What do you suppose he does to unwind, like when he decides to be naughty?
    Could he have really acted out some of his scenarios with underage youth — like over a period of decades? Could one look to Congressional leaders as enabling this abuse by ignoring the truth they knew just to hang on to one more f+++ing lockstep vote? A la Catholic church, can there be men and their families who come to remember and reevaluate what they chose to overlook?

    If Foley were a teacher at any middle school in America, wouldn’t somebody be checking out the hard drives on his computers? Oh, he’s a member of Congress. He’ll resign and that’ll be it. He must have known that just because he got a free pedo pass from the #3 man in line to the Presidency, he really shouldn’t act on his real agenda.