A few follow-up thoughts on the Foley scandal.
First, I find it interesting that while both the Post and the Times are currently running below the fold stories on the scandal on their websites, neither, as far as I can tell has yet devoted a story to the fact that most of the Republican House leadership has apparently known about this for almost a year and yet did nothing. I don’t think cover-up is too strong a word since there was apparently an active effort to keep the allegations from the only Democrat who serves on the Page Board. That decision, I think, speaks volumes.
Another point. A number of the leadership principals who apparently knew about this for months have made two arguments — a) that the evidence they saw didn’t clearly point to wrongdoing and b) that the matter wasn’t pursued because the parents wanted the matter dropped to protect their privacy. In the real world, I think those are mutually contradictory rationales for not pursuing the matter. If you’re dropping the matter because the parents don’t want you to pursue it, I think that means there was a problem. That also ignores the apparently criminal nature of the activity.
Finally, one detail here isn’t getting enough attention. Rep. Alexander (R-LA), the first member of Congress to be alerted to the problem, says he contacted the NRCC. That’s the House Republicans’ election committee, a political organization entirely separate from the House bureaucracy and the Congress. (The head of the NRCC this cycle is Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY).) That is, to put it mildly, not in the disciplinary and administrative chain of command of the House of Representatives. Considering that the issue involved a minor, it seems highly inappropriate to discuss the matter with anyone not charged with policing the House. More to the point, however, you tell the head of the NRCC because you see the matter as a political problem. Reynolds is the one in charge of making sure Republican House seats get held. If an incumbent might have drop out or be kicked out you want him to know so that he can line up someone to replace him. You at least want to keep him abreast of the situation if you think a problem might develop. I cannot see any innocent explanation for notifying the head of the NRCC while not information the full membership of the page board.