The page who received the first e-mail messages told ABC News that people in the program had warned his class to watch out for Mr. Foley.Oh really? So, then, this must have been known about for quite some time, but no one did anything about it? Later in the article we get this passage:
Representative John Shimkus, Republican of Illinois and chairman of the House Page Board, issued a statement late Friday saying he had known of the first e-mail messages “in late 2005.” Mr. Foley, Mr. Shimkus said, had said he was simply acting as a mentor, but Mr. Shimkus told him to cut off contact with the page and “be especially mindful of his conduct” with pages.So, he knew in late 2005 and Shimkus was chairman of the House Page Board. Who else might have known? The Seattle Times article offers some illumination:
Um, it's a criminal matter at this point. Alexander should have reported it to the police because the page was 16 years old. Although the sensationalist and homophobic media are harping on the fact that this page is a male, it shouldn't matter. Would they be less horrified if it was a female? Probably, but the outrage would still be expressed. No reason to bring sexual orientation into this issue.
Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., who sponsored the page from his district, said he learned of the e-mail from a reporter 10 or 11 months ago and passed on the information to the teen's parents and to Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Republican campaign organization.
Alexander said he did not pursue the matter because the teen's "parents said they didn't want me to do anything."
So, we have the leader of the pages and the chairman of the House Republican campaign organization knowing about these emails. And there are more emails to more pages, some of which are more explicit than the one originally discovered. Did they do a fact finding? Did they ask him to resign so someone else could run for his seat? Weeeeeeellll, no. But they did inform House Leader Dennis Hastert! From the Seattle Times again:
They took Foley at his word and then did a study of the page system. They did not investigate the perpetrator of the crime. Why not? Because A) he's one of their own and B) they are worried more about re-election than they are about the safety of the children that they hire. I mean, one would think that the first step during the preliminary investigation would be to remove Foley from his chairmanship of the exploited-children's caucus. That would have been reasonable. One might successfully argue that he could remain in other leadership positions while the investigation was taking place, but this one minor step seems to be obvious in the extreme.
Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., said the House Page Board he chairs investigated the allegations late last year, but he said Foley "was not honest" in denying improper conduct.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert said Friday he had asked Shimkus to investigate the page system. "We want to make sure that all our pages are safe and the page system is safe," Hastert said.
The Republican leadership did not do that however. They are already beset with charges of lobbyist corruption, cowtowing to the President in an unpopular war, corruption involving over spending on projects that branches of the government do not even want, and more (strippers, limosine contracts, poker games, stealing elections, passing few bills, etc, etc, etc). The last thing they needed was another scandal involving sex and an underage page. What do I mean by "another"? Lest we forget, this same administration was the one that had a head of the child protection unit of Homeland Security busted for attempting to seduce a minor online.
Rather than own up to the scandal last year and deal with it, they took a gamble and tried to sweep it under the carpet until after this year's election. The whole thing has now blown up on them like a Catholic priest lawsuit investigation. Some Democrats are crowing over how this improves their election chances, but frankly, I find that just too crass. They should be spending their time looking at how this happened and how it can be prevented, if possible, in the future. Scoring political points undermines the seriousness of the charges.
From The Seattle Times again:
"We track library books better than we do sexual predators," Foley has said.And we probably track sexual predators better when they are not members of Congress.
Another question: In this day and age, is there any valid reason for maintaining the page system in Congress?