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.