Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Who Knew What and When Did They Know It


Foley is not the first politicain to engage in questionable behavior with congressional pages. Rep. Dan Crane had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female page in 1980, while Rep. Gerry Studds admitted to a similar affair with a 17-year-old male page in 1973.

It stands to reason that these public scandals are merely the tip of the iceberg, since victims of sexual harassment and abuse often help hide the crimes due to embarrassment and desire to keep it private. Also, given the considerable power wielded by members of Congress, victims have likely kept their silence on such matters out of fear.

In the United States Congress, the page system began in 1839 but the pages
and romantic dalliances dates back to the Middle Ages and before. Pages served knights, royal courts, and acted as apprentices for artisans.

Mercutio, in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet , provides a brief glimpse of the historical role of pages in Act III:

Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch;
Marry, 'tis enough.
Where is my page?
Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.


The actions of Foley are particularly galling in light of the fact that the congressman had been chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, and recently sponsored legislation to crack down on Internet child pornography sites.

But even more important, is now it appears that some members of the Republican leadership might have known more than they originally stated.

At the Capitol, Republicans spent the night trying to explain how this could have happened on their watch.

Among the explanations during the night:

— The congressional sponsor of the page, Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., said he was asked by the youth's parents not to pursue the matter, so he dropped it.

— Alexander said that before deciding to end his involvement, he passed on what he knew to the chairman of the House Republican campaign organization, Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-N.Y. Reynolds' spokesman, Carl Forti, said the campaign chairman also took no action in deference to the parents' wishes.

— Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., chairman of the Page Board that oversees the congressional work-study program for high schoolers, said he did investigate but Foley falsely assured him he was only mentoring the boy. Pages are high school students who attend classes under congressional supervision and work as messengers.

— The spokesman for Speaker Dennis Hastert, Ron Bonjean, said the top House Republican had not known about the allegations. Shimkus said he learned about them in late 2005.

Speaker J. Dennis Hastert faced intensifying questions on Monday about why Republicans had not reacted more assertively to Representative Mark Foley's messages to a teenage page, as members of his party, fearing a political debacle, demanded a strong response.

Straining to hold the party together five weeks from Election Day amid unfolding revelations about the case, Hastert and his leadership team held a conference call with House Republicans on Monday night and heard blunt advice and criticism from participants who pressed for further action to reassure voters.

"This is a political problem, and we need to step up and do something dramatic," Representative Ray LaHood of Illinois said afterward, adding that he had proposed abolishing the Congressional page program.

As a registered Republican, I can only hope that Mark Foley doesn't cost the Republicans control of the House or the Senate or both. But if the Republican leadership allowed a sexual predator to remain in office by covering up his crimes than maybe it's time for a change.

17 Comments:

At 7:04 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

ANYONE, GOP or Dem, who knew and did nothing is every bit as guilty as Foley.

Pedophiles should be dispatched straight to Hell, but considering that our laws don't permit that, he should get the harshest punishment possible, and everyone who sat idly by should be tried as an accessory.

 
At 7:11 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Hiding out in a rehab isn't going to cut it brooke.
This guy needs to be brought to justice along with anyone who let this behavior go on.
I can't believe the Republicans are giving Nancy Pelosi and her leftist compatriots this much ammunition right before an election.

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

From what I've been reading, AC, the Democrats may have sat on this issue planning to unleash it right before the election. See Mike's America:
http://mikesamerica.blogspot.com/
#115981589203741770

I agree that Foley should do jail time, but I don't think he will, simply because he didn't touch the kid. I detest pedophiles and don't care what political party they belong to; they're dispicable. But I also believe the hypocrisy of the Democrats is dispicable in it's own right.

Gary Studds (sp?) Democrat, had sex with a page and was re-elected. Barney Frank ran a gay prostitution ring out of his basement and was re-elected. *sigh* It seems that it's okay for Democrats to do these things because no-one expects them to meet any sort of ethical standards, but when a Republican does it, he should be boiled in oil! Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say he should be boiled in oil, but he should do jail time, and both Gary Studds and Barney Frank should have stepped down from office and done some jail time as well. Also, what do you suppose would have happened to Bush if he had pulled a "Lewinski" in the Oval Office. The Dems would have crucified him!

Here's a link to a You Tube video that covers this in case you are interested:

http://www.chatterboxchronicles.blogspot.
com/

 
At 1:23 PM, Blogger nanc said...

joseph farah said it best yesterday:

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/a
rticle.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52235

 
At 2:07 PM, Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

I'm sure Barney Frank wouldn't mind picking up on the emails.

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

What bothers me is that the Democrat on the board, Representative Dale E. Kildee of Michigan, said he had not learned of the episode until Friday, the day Mr. Foley resigned.
If this was the other way around...the Republicans would be screaming foul.
This is why we have a two-party system. To prevent abuses of power.
I wouldn't put it past the Democrats to wait until the most opportune moment...but this should have been taken care of long before now.

 
At 3:18 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Good article nanc...this goes exactly with what I was saying about our two-party system.

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

excellent overview AC..sad situation but power and money do corrupt..I'm sure this won't be the last scandal of this nature we hear in this immoral society of ours.

 
At 6:12 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

The Foley scandal and Woodward's book will take a toll on the Republican Party in November. At least, that's my prediction.

 
At 6:38 PM, Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

It makes me wonder: what Republican got paid, and how much?

 
At 6:21 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

gayle...I'm not sure Mark Foley even committed a crime. Personally, I think the coverup is worse than the crime.

I commented at Mike's site. In this case I completely disagree with his take. Comparing Mark Foley and President Clinton doesn't alleviate either so I don't see the purpose.

 
At 10:05 AM, Blogger Mike's America said...

AC: Please do not confuse my contrasting the two parties handling of scandal to any condoning of misbehavior.

My intention is JUST the opposite.

We need to have standards of behavior that apply equally to BOTH parties.

But you won't get to that better world by tossing the House GOP leadership under the bus for being unaware of the private misdeeds of Congressman Foley.

The House GOP leadership was NOT aware of the Instant Messages and it's unclear what actions they could have taken in response to the rather tame emails they did know about which could have put a stop to it.

Tarring and feathering the entire House GOP leadership for being unaware of what Foley, or every other GOP member is doing would simply reward the Democrats who are laughing out loud at us behind our backs.

And you can bet on one thing: if Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker, you'll have all the investigations of Republicans you can imagine and a continued,massive coverup of Dem wrongdoing.

You won't solve this problem by handing our political enemies MORE ammunition.

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

The last thing I would want to see is Nancy Pelosi strutting her ugly mug around Capitol Hill as Speaker of the House. She doesn't care one bit about the congressional pages. Her only concern is to politicalize this matter to her benefit.
That's what makes me so angry at the Republican leadership for not taking stronger measures immediately after learning about any possible misconduct from one of their own.
I still believe that if Mark Foley was a Democrat and these rumors reached the Speaker of the House and Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., chairman of the Page Board that oversees the congressional work-study program for high schoolers...there would have been an immediate investigation.

 
At 1:54 PM, Blogger Mike's America said...

Crusader: There WAS an investigation. But it did not include the Instant Messages.

Are you suggesting that the House Leadership has the responsibility, let alone the right, to read every email or Instant Message sent by a Member of Congress?

If not, please explain to me what further steps Hastert and the House leadership should and could have taken when presented with the earlier emails?

Again, I will state clearly that what Foley did was WRONG! Yet, how can the House GOP be held accountable for the private conduct of every single elected member of the GOP caucus???

 
At 9:55 AM, Blogger Mike's America said...

Thursday update:

Still no proof that Hastert or any GOP leader knew about anything more inappropriate than emails asking the page what he wanted for his birthday.

Crusader, you've got a new admirer at Mike's America:

http://haloscan.com/comments/hiltonhead/115994346677421518/#206866

He's a left wing loony tune who can't wait to raise your taxes, surrender in Iraq and impeach the President.

 
At 3:57 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Mike... Doesn't it make you think something is wrong when our best defense is comparing the way this incident has been handled to the way past incidents involving Democrats has been handled?
This case should stand on its own.
I've never said the Speaker of the House should resign, all I stated was that this could have been avoided. Those instant messages have been around since 2003. How many IM's have you saved?
If this has been around for almost three years, somebody had to know something.
I want to know who that someone was.

 
At 7:10 PM, Blogger Mike's America said...

Crusader: I'll tell you one thing, it wasn't Denny Hastert's responsibility to save those IM's.

The whole thing is starting to unravel, and the truth is about to come out.

But will all those House Leader's whose integrity has been damaged be able to get their reputations back?

Will you be voting GOP this year?

 

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