CNN: House Speaker Hastert’s Office Was Alerted About Foley Two Years Ago

How long can Dennis Hastert last before the GOP feels it must cut-and-run from the political damage the GOP House leadership has brought on the party…especially with this new breaking story:

A senior congressional aide said Wednesday that he alerted House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office two years ago about worrisome conduct by former Rep. Mark Foley with teenage pages.

Kirk Fordham told The Associated Press that when he was told about Foley’s inappropriate behavior toward pages, he had “more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene.”

The conversations took place long before the e-mail scandal broke, Fordham said, and at least a year earlier than members of the House GOP leadership have acknowledged.

Foley resigned last week after he was reported to have sent salacious electronic messages to teenage male pages. He has checked into an undisclosed facility for treatment of alcoholism, leaving behind a mushrooming political scandal and legal investigation.

Fordham submitted his own resignation Wednesday. “I never attempted to prevent any inquiries or investigation,” Kirk Fordham said in a statement.

Fordham was once Foley’s chief of staff. At the time of his resignation he had been serving in the same capacity for Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-New York, a member of the GOP leadership who has struggled to avoid political damage in the scandal’s fallout.

The story remains this: what the Republican House leadership know, when did they know it, what they didn’t do, what they did they do…and why.

From the GOP side the party has to decide how to cut its losses and reassure its base that it actually cares about family values, or puts them on hold if a problem involving them in its own backyard is too messy of potentially troublesome politically.

24 Comments

  1. Kirk is not going quitely into the night. That spells HUGE trouble for the Republicans, and I am now going to opine that I believe that this is has a real chance of turning into the largest political scandal since Watergate.

    And don’t kid yourself. The rumours (and flat-out knowledge) of sex and inappropiate contact with pages, staffers, aides, other government workers and staffers, of all sexes and ages is well known in Washington circles.

    If this does spin massively out of control, expect nuclear replies and counter-attacks from the Republicans. Much metaphorical political blood will get spilled, and from both sides.

    The only one who may be completely safe is Teddy, as he can screw anything, anytime, without consequence. SNARK

    However, given the potential damage and fallout that could be facing both parties, as it really does go without saying that there are transgressions of varying degrees on both sides of the spectrum, will the leadership of both parties get together and call some form of a ceasefire to protect their shared interests?

  2. Actually it was reported earlier on CNN that another sex scandal is close to being revealed, and the GOP is quivering in their boots about that possability. So we might see more ugliness revealed, and if the GOP is running scared it makes me think it means another for them.

    Open warfare was declared by the GLBT community after they got used by the GOP for the last election as a wedge issue. Looks like the GOP should have taken them serious, as margin calls are comming in with those groups declaring they are going to “out” some GOP politicans.

    I say good if this is the case, they earned it.

  3. Austin: I agree with you on this topic entirely. This might do the GOP more damage than they anticipated at first.

    Pyst:

    Actually it was reported earlier on CNN that another sex scandal is close to being revealed, and the GOP is quivering in their boots about that possability. So we might see more ugliness revealed, and if the GOP is running scared it makes me think it means another for them.

    If this is true, the GOP might just as well surrender immediately.

    On a personal level, I find this to be a shame: I would rather have a battle of ideas, for more interesting and, quite simply, better, but okay.

    These people do not belong in leadership positions.

  4. Also, I just wanted to point this out self righteouss prick that I am ;): as always, once again, for the umptious time proof: politicians should NOT decide what moral values people should live by because – among other reasons – quite some of them would pass a national ‘moral values test’ if their existed one. No matter in what country, it is all the same.

  5. that should read: quite some of them would NOT pass a ‘national moral values test’ if such a test existed.

  6. I have a question for anyone with some legal knowledge of the subject. It’s my understanding that certain adults, such as teachers and doctors, have a legal obligation to report abuse or misconduct towards a minor if they have that suspicion. If they don’t they can be held as partially responsible for the abuse. I know this because in my capacity of martial arts teacher to children we were required to read a booklet on the subject, it seems we were considered educators.

    Also whenever a minor is separated from his or her parents other adults are required by law to take over as guardian.

    There’s been a lot of talking about whether Foley committed a crime (is he covered by DC age of consent or by his own broader law) and if the GOP leadership committed unethical acts, but little talk of if the leadership actually broke the law. Doesn’t it stand to reason that an adult partially responsible for the wellbeing of a minor, if he/she fails to report potential abuse, is committing a crime?

  7. Well said, Michael. Great points Austin and Pyst.

    If it’s going to be open warfare or bloodletting, I say bring it on. Time to clean house.

    Since people seem uninterested in the issues this is what we get. Enjoy.

    Oh, and a blogger has outed the page in the IMs without explaining why. I hope he gets in big trouble or is made into a pariah.

    Death threats have already been reported against another former page (so I have heard). So this idiot outs another. What a jerk.

  8. Ha, this is what happens when you try to throw someone in the know under the bus. Don’t these people know anything about damage control. First, TELL THE TRUTH. Get it out there on your own terms, and then spin it back. Every new day catches them in new lies, which is where the permanent damage is coming from.

  9. Lynx:
    I am not an attorney but I’m a mental health professional and that translates into “mandated to report suspected child abuse” . State law is variable though. I live in Wyoming where the law basically states that “everyone” has a responsibility to report “immediately” suspected child abuse. As you said, there are penalties for failure to report child abuse and those who make reports “in good faith” are not subject to prosecution for reporting abuse that is not substantiated, according to our state law. Licensed professionals face a threat to their licenses if they fail to report suspected abuse.

  10. Apparently a newspaper has reported that Foley went drunk to the boy’s dorm as was turned away, plus one of the boy’s fellow page who wantede to report was threatened by some conservative bloggers, according to Fox News. Do all Republicans deserve all this hate? No, but the jerks who covered this up certainly do.

  11. Richard 23 I believe the pages name being made public is incorrect. (serious alert) Bloggers and talking news heads are using this to throw around load terms (outed) for “shits and giggles”. I would like to make a point, I suspect that many reporters and bloggers are just as much perv’s as Foley (Brit Hume) and their outrage is hilarious.

  12. Pyst said :

    Open warfare was declared by the GLBT community after they got used by the GOP for the last election as a wedge issue. Looks like the GOP should have taken them serious, as margin calls are comming in with those groups declaring they are going to “out” some GOP politicans.

    That is actually the frame for a counter in the plans by the Republican party .

  13. Gee aren’t they supposed to be worrying about the greatest threat to Western civilization since Hitler and Stalin? Guess with Bush and Cheney busy on the ‘ol campaign circuit (Cheney just did his 100th fundraiser this season, LOL) who’s protecting us from those who would have us praying towards Mecca 7 times a day? I feel so unsafe!

  14. It looks like Hastert is toast. That begs the question: if Hastert steps down, does it mean the scandal is “over” and Republicans can move on? Or does it mean outward confirmation of structural problems and a demoralized Republican electorate in November? Suppose Boehner, Reynolds and Shimkus step down from their positions too: what effect does that have on this going forward?

  15. I think this is going to go much farther than Denny Hastert, because none of the stories of the other house leaders match each other. Each of them is looking out for their own political hides at this point. Also, I have heard some rumors similar to what Austin Roth is referring to —maybe some kind of trade- sexual favors for career connections, involving more than just Rep Foley.

  16. I agree with Kim about the damage control probably being too far gone. People just don’t look at sex scandals, and especially those with both underage and gay overtones, they way they do run-of-the-mill scandals.

    This will have long legs, IMHO, and I have alwys been one to puke when I hear fresh scandals being compared to Watergate, but this time it really might be (but please God, from this humble athiest, don’t let it become ‘Pagegate’), in the depth of the shock waves that could be sent through the entire government.

  17. AustinRoth said :
    I agree with Kim about the damage control probably being too far gone. People just don’t look at sex scandals, and especially those with both underage and gay overtones, they way they do run-of-the-mill scandals.

    To which people are you refering Austin . As we have discussed , Barney Frank continues to be elected . The last page scandal took down the Republican involved but Studds continued to be elected .

  18. Austin , it is also important to note that the Republican in that scandal was involved with a female while Studds was involved with a male . Kind of doesn’t make the point you are trying to argue .

  19. It does with Republicans, and when a scandal spreads wide enough, then even those who might have skated by get caught up in the overall reaction.

    Anyway, what is your point? That everyone will ignore all of this? If you think that, you are delusional.

  20. Austin said :

    People just don’t look at sex scandals, and especially those with both underage and gay overtones, they way they do run-of-the-mill scandals.

    Then Austin said :It does with Republicans,…
    Anyway, what is your point? That everyone will ignore all of this? If you think that, you are delusional

    You proved one of my points when you qualified your initial statement. Why you reverted back to “people ” as opposed to Republicans is beyond me. But my major point is that Republicans WON “T make protest votes by voting for Democrats. They won’t paint with a broad brush as you are suggesting. As Tip O,Niel said “All politics are local .” He happened to be speaker of the house during the previous page scandal and for years ignored the stories about Studds. He also refused to act on Barney Frank.

    Republicans resign or get voted out of office while Democrats continue to be reelected. While I expect the same to continue, I have no illusions that Republicans will hand over seats just to make a statement. Remember, All politics are local.

  21. MichaelF – I can’t tell if you are agreeing or disagreeing with me, and if you are disagreeing with me what the basis is. I will try to be clearer.

    Republicans are more likely to ‘vote out’ those involved in sex scandals that Democrats, not by supporting a Democrat, but by withholding support. At this time, anyone cuaght up in this cannot effectively be replaced on their ballots, so there is danger.

    As for Democrats who may get swept up directly or via a purge of the backlog of unreported sex scandals coming to light, that is where I meant that if the scandal is percieved as wide enough, even those who might have gotton the Studds pass by the voters will get swept up i n a wave of overall disgust wit Congress.

    Finally, you seem bent on finding a way to disagree with me, but in those efforts you have pasrsed my statements to a level of granularity and precision that I hadn’t expressed. I wrote sloppily (my fault), but thought the general point I was trying to make was obvious. Hopefully it is now.

  22. Of course disgusted Republicans and conservatives won’t vote for Democrats. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they will vote for Republicans either. If this scandal doesn’t wrap up soon I expect a number of values voters to sit this election out. And who could blame them?

    Who wants to vote for a bunch of soulless moral degenerates and their enablers? Especially when they’re in your own party?

    Sex, torture and perversion doesn’t play well in the heartland.

  23. MvdG I agree, this should be about issues, but the GOP turned elections into moralizing, and wedge issues years ago. They created the sword, but don’t have the courage to fall upon it, IE no honor. The public recognizes this lack of honor in every excuse they trot out to politically cover their asses. If they would just fall on the sword like a samurai it wouldn’t sully the whole party, but hubris/pride won’t allow them to.

    MicahelF, if the GOP thinks using the GLBT community to cover themselves after using them for a wedge issue last election it won’t work. Too many excuses and finger pointing, too little personal responsability for their failings equals no christian right voter base. Everyone can smell the fake morals on them now, and to quote Chavez “it smells like sulphur”. Chavez might have been smelling congress from afar, but atleast he wasn’t far off.

  24. I agree. Democrats are more likely to judge a candidate’s performance in office than his sexual habits, while part of the Republican base is church-going values voters, who won’t tolerate this type of behavior in their elected officials. They may have overlooked Duke Cunningham, Abramoff and made weak excuses for Tom Delay, but this they can’t overlook without seeming totally hypocritical. I don’t think Republicans are going to be thinking about Gerry Studds, (whose offense took place in the ’70′s!) when they go to the ballot box, or more likely just decide to stay home.

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