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GOP problems mount as Foley scandal escalates

As the Mark Foley Congressional Page scandal escalates and various attempts by Republicans to stem it spiral out of control, a new poll shows more than half of Americans suspect a coverup and polls in various House and Senate races show GOP prospects of retaining control of Congress fading.

Fading, also, are the political fortunes of embattled Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, whose conflicting stories on how he mishandled the Foley affair have come to characterize the moral, ethical and leadership lapses of his party.

Bush, once again, claims to be above the law

By LESLIE MILLER

President Bush, again defying Congress, says he has the power to edit the Homeland Security Department’s reports about whether it obeys privacy rules while handling background checks, ID cards and watchlists.

In the law Bush signed Wednesday, Congress stated no one but the privacy officer could alter, delay or prohibit the mandatory annual report on Homeland Security department activities that affect privacy, including complaints.

But Bush, in a signing statement attached to the agency’s 2007 spending bill, said he will interpret that section "in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch."

Republicans distance themselves from Hastert

By ANDREW TAYLOR

More Democrats went on the attack Friday with campaign ads linking Republican candidates to the Mark Foley House page scandal while GOP candidates moved to distance themselves from embattled Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Foley stalked young male pages for nearly a decade

By THOMAS HARGROVE

At least eight former House pages have come forward or been sought out by the FBI and the news media to discuss their experiences with former Rep. Mark Foley of Florida.

Their reports have ranged from a widespread awareness among pages that Foley "flirted" with teenage males to extremely explicit sexual remarks allegedly made on line.

Foley scandal timeline

By LEE BOWMAN

Questions about who knew what and when about Rep. Mark Foley’s communications with House pages are now at the heart of a House investigation, while criminal investigators try to determine if any laws were violated by the former congressman in his contacts with minors.

Don’t expect a quick conclusion to Foleygate

By LISA HOFFMAN

As political ads capitalizing on the Mark Foley sex scandal prepared Friday to air across the country, the gears of a two-pronged federal investigation into the X-rated conversations the former lawmaker held with congressional pages started to turn.

But anyone looking for fast results from the FBI and House ethics committee probes of the circumstances surrounding contacts between the former House GOP lawmaker and male teenagers will be disappointed.

Another Republican aide steps down amid scandal

By DEB RIECHMANN

The latest casualty in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal was a key aide to presidential political strategist Karl Rove who once worked for the disgraced influence-peddler.

Susan Ralston stepped down Friday from her post as a special assistant to President Bush. A congressional report showed she had extensive contacts with Abramoff and had accepted tickets to sporting events and concerts from him.