Allen Didn't Report Stock Options
"For the past five years, Sen. George Allen, has failed to tell Congress about stock options he got for his work as a director of a high-tech company. The Virginia Republican also asked the Army to help another business that gave him similar options.
"Congressional rules require senators to disclose to the Senate all deferred compensation, such as stock options. The rules also urge senators to avoid taking any official action that could benefit them financially or appear to do so." (AP)
This Time, A Congressman Pokes Holes in Official Timeline
"A spokeswoman for Rep. Jim Kolbe [R-AZ] confirmed yesterday that a former page showed the congressman Internet messages that had made the youth feel uncomfortable with the direction [former Rep. Mark] Foley [R-FL] was taking their e-mail relationship. Last week, when the Foley matter erupted, a Kolbe staff member suggested to the former page that he take the matter to the clerk of the House, Karen Haas, said Kolbe's press secretary, Korenna Cline.
"The revelation pushes back by at least five years the date when a member of Congress has acknowledged learning of Foley's behavior with former pages. A timeline issued by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert [R-IL] suggested that the first lawmakers to know, Rep. John M. Shimkus [R-IL], the chairman of the House Page Board, and Rep. Rodney Alexander [R-LA], became aware of 'over-friendly' e-mails only last fall. It also expands the universe of players in the drama beyond members, either in leadership or on the page board." (WaPo)
â05 Meeting Could Clarify G.O.P. Role in Foley Case
"For all the questions and curiosities, for all the contradictions and inconsistencies in the tale of Mark Foley, the investigation into how Republicans handled concerns about his conduct may hinge on what transpired on a fall afternoon last year, when a private meeting was hastily convened in his office....
"'It was a brief meeting,' said a senior Republican Congressional aide who was familiar with the session and spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter was under investigation. 'Looking back, it was probably far too brief of a meeting.'" (NY Times)
The End of a Revolution
"Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left. The epitaph for the movement that started when Newt Gingrich and his forces rose from the back bench of the House chamber in 1994 may well have been written last week in the same medium that incubated it: talk radio. On conservative commentator Laura Ingraham's show, the longest-serving Republican House Speaker in history explained why he would not resign despite a sex scandal that has produced a hail of questions about his leadership and the failure to stop one of his members from cyberstalking teenage congressional pages. 'If I fold up my tent and leave,' Dennis Hastert told her, 'then where does that leave us? If the Democrats sweep, then we'd have no ability to fight back and get our message out.'
"That quiet admission may have been the most damning one yet in the unfolding scandal surrounding Florida Congressman Mark Foley: holding on to power has become not just the means but also the end for the onetime reformers who in 1994 unseated a calcified and corrupted Democratic majority. Washington scandals, it seems, have been following a Moore's law of their own, coming at a faster clip every time there is a shift in control. It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there." (Time)
Lobbying, Sex Scandals Will Play Throughout Campaign Season
"Next Friday, Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney is scheduled to enter guilty pleas to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of trips, meals and other gifts in exchange for taking official action on behalf of clients of former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
"On Oct. 27 -- less than two weeks before the Nov. 7 election -- David H. Safavian, a former White House official and Abramoff ally, is scheduled to be sentenced for his conviction, earlier this spring, on lying and obstruction-of-justice charges. Those also flowed from the Abramoff investigation.
"The successive sentencings, combined with the continuing investigations of Mr. Foley -- and how House leaders handled his behavior -- provide 'a clothesline' that Democrats can use to drive the scandal issue through the final days of the campaign, says David Gergen, an adviser to Republican and Democratic White Houses, who now teaches at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government." (WSJ, sub. req., Reuters, LA Times)
GOP Strategy: Back Hastert, Seize Agenda
"Republican leaders, closing ranks around House Speaker Dennis Hastert, have settled on a strategy of trying to move quickly beyond the congressional page scandal and turn the political conversation to such issues as terrorism, tax cuts and a growing economy in the four weeks before Election Day....
"But with an explosive story erupting a month before an election in which control of Congress is at stake, Republicans have few options. Party leaders have concluded that their best hope is to present a united front and change the subject rather than forcing out Hastert or other leaders.
Rep. Calls For Resignation of Anyone Who May Have Covered Up Foley's Actions
"A top House Republican said yesterday that anyone who participated in any cover-up of the Mark Foley page scandal should be removed from power.
"'Anybody that hindered this in any kind of way [or was] covering it up, is going to have to step down,' Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican and chairman of the Government Reform Committee, said yesterday." (Wash Times)
Staffer Cites Earlier Role By Hastert's Office
"House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's chief of staff confronted then-Rep. Mark Foley about his inappropriate social contact with male pages well before the speaker said aides in his office took any action, a current congressional staff member with personal knowledge of Foley and his behavior with pages said yesterday.
"The staff member said Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, met with the Florida Republican at the Capitol to discuss complaints about Foley's behavior toward pages. The alleged meeting occurred long before Hastert says aides in his office dispatched Rep. John M. Shimkus [R-IL] and the clerk of the House in November 2005 to confront Foley about troubling e-mails he had sent to a Louisiana boy." (WaPo)
Inquiry May Test House's Legal Shields
"Five months ago, the FBI touched off a legal and political firestorm when it raided the office of Rep. William J. Jefferson after wads of marked $100 bills were found in the Louisiana Democrat's freezer.
"Now, with major questions about that search still unsettled, the right of investigators to gain access to lawmakers' documents and computers is shaping up as a key battleground in the sex scandal probe surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.)." (LA Times)
House's Foley Investigation Is Wide Open
"If the House ethics committee finds evidence of a Republican cover-up, many people could be in jeopardy, facing consequences that range from a mild rebuke in a committee report to a House vote of censure or expulsion.
"Unlike the committee's usual practice of identifying the investigative target at the outset, this probe is wide open. Anyone who knew of [former Rep. Mark] Foley's salacious messages before the story broke at the end of September has reason for concern." (AP)
Questions Still Abound in Foley Saga
"Gaps and inconsistencies in the public accounts include such basic matters as when House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert [R-IL] and his top aides first learned of concerns about [former Rep. Mark] Foley's relationships with male pages, and what they did about it. Also unclear is which GOP officials decided that only two members of the six-person House Page Board should confront the Florida lawmaker....
"And accounts differ on whether the two board members knew the exact contents of e-mails Foley sent last year to a teenage boy in Louisiana. Those messages alarmed the boy and his parents and set into motion the events that eventually would uncover far more sexually graphic messages to other former pages, triggering Foley's abrupt resignation a week ago." (WaPo)
Speculation Centers on a Republican Former Page
"Likable and popular with female pages, a committed Republican who even as a teenager knew how to parlay chance meetings into political friendships, Jordan Edmund has emerged as a key figure in the Foley page scandal.
The former House page has been targeted by conservative blogs as the young man on the receiving end of former representative Mark Foley's sexually explicit online instant messages, which have engulfed the GOP in a scandal that could affect the outcome of the Nov. 7 congressional elections." (WaPo)
Former Foley Aide Expecting to Testify Before House Panel
"A former senior aide to Mark Foley expects to go before the House ethics committee next week and testify under oath that he alerted the speakerâs office as early as 2003 to inappropriate contact with teenage pages by Mr. Foley, his lawyer said Saturday.
"The former aide, Kirk Fordham, will also tell the panel that Scott Palmer, the longtime chief of staff to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, later met with Mr. Foley to talk about his troubling interest in pages, though Mr. Fordham did not attend that meeting, said Timothy J. Heaphy, Mr. Fordhamâs lawyer." (NY Times)
Is the Ethics Committee Up to the Task of Investigating Foley?
"The House Ethics Committee has had little to say as one scandal after another rocked Capitol Hill since early last year.
"Now, can a panel that has been derided as a symbol of congressional dysfunction take up a tough, politically sensitive case a month before an election and produce results within weeks, as promised? Skeptics abound.
"'We don't have a lot of confidence in the ethics committee,' said James Benton of the public watchdog group Common Cause." (LA Times)
A Gay Ex-Staffer Talks About Life In The Closet On The Hill
"I am always surprised by peopleâs naivetÃ© when they learn there are gay Republicans working on the Hill, out or not. Weâre everywhere. And itâs been my experience itâs generally not a big deal, except if one of us decides to run for office. Then expect a nasty primary. I've been a delegate to five Republican national conventions, three as an openly gay Republican. Conservative members hire us, as do moderates. But because all these Republican officeholders have hired gay staffers does not mean there's some kind of gay mafia at work. This notion that a sinister cabal closes ranks and protects one another at all costs based on sexual orientation is noxious and homophobic. Right or wrong, people act to protect one another out of friendship. Itâs funny how we never hear a word about that âhetero mafiaâ protecting the even longer list of philandering, college-girl skirt-chasing straight members of Congress." (Newsweek)
Foley's Name to Appear on Absentee Ballots Without Explanation
"Preprinted absentee ballots that list resigned Rep. Mark Foley as a candidate will not include an explanation that he withdrew from the race, election supervisors said.
"The eight supervisors in Foley's sprawling 16th Congressional District said they would follow a legal opinion issued Thursday by their state association saying Florida law bars notices from being included in absentee ballots.
"The Republican had been heavily favored to beat Democrat Tim Mahoney before a scandal involving salacious messages to young congressional pages led him to resign Sept. 29, too late to put a replacement candidate's name on the Nov. 7 ballot." (AP)
"The Pinto family, which owns and runs a Long Island, N.Y., debt-collection agency, are generous Republican donors, giving more than $156,000 to GOP candidates since 2000. What makes the family's political gift-giving unusual is that almost all of their campaign contributions since 2000 have gone to just two House members -- Mark Foley, whose misconduct triggered the the Capitol Hill page scandal, and Tom Reynolds, whose chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, negotiated with ABC News on Foley's behalf to try to contain the story....
"Foley, who just resigned from Congress, and Reynolds served together on a House Ways and Means subcommittee that deals with the Internal Revenue Service. This IRS subcommittee connection may have inspired the Pinto family's interest in supporting the political careers of both Republicans.
"Congress in 2004 approved a Republican amendment that authorized the IRS to hire private companies to collect back taxes. The Pinto firm with 300 employees, headquartered in Melville, N.Y., made no secret of wanting an IRS debt-collection contract under the new legislation." (Salon)
Denny Hastert's Dodgy Real Estate Deals
"Hastert's real estate transactions have been reported extensively in the Chicago press and picked apart in a June report issued by the Sunlight Foundation. But they have been largely ignored in the national media. A careful examination of the facts in the case, however, leads to the conclusion that there are compelling reasons beyond the Foley case to call for the speaker's resignation from the post." (TNR)
CA GOPer and Challenger Clash over Abuse Reports of Former Abramoff Client
"A month before Rep. John Doolittle took actions that would help disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff win back a contract to represent the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in blocking immigration and labor reforms, he heard sworn witnesses describing some of the sordid abuses the legislation was intended to halt.
"At the Sept. 16, 1999, hearing before the House Resources Committee, witnesses told of deplorable working conditions, trafficking in women and forced prostitution.
"Now, seven years later, Doolittle's opposition to the reforms in the U.S. territory has become a dominant issue in his campaign for a ninth term in Congress." (Sac Bee)
GOP Rep Got Break on Taxes for Home
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has a much larger home than county assessor records indicate -- a discrepancy that has saved Hunter plenty in taxes. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Cunningham's Wife Will Avoid Prosecution
"Former Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham's wife forfeited her rights to the proceeds from the $2.55 million Rancho Santa Fe house she and her husband bought with the bribes that toppled him from office and sent him to prison.
"Nancy Cunningham also admitted wrongdoing in the corruption case but will not be prosecuted as a tax cheat under an agreement with prosectors announced yesterday." (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Jefferson Gets Endorsement from Nagin
"A U.S. congressman from Louisiana, under investigation by the FBI after they found $90,000 in cash in his freezer, was endorsed by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on Saturday and vowed that allegations of bribery would not hurt his re-election campaign.
"'I have been effective, and I will continue to be,' Democratic Rep. William Jefferson said as he opened his campaign for re-election in November 7 congressional election." (AP)
Libby Prepares "Graymail" Defense, According to Court Filings
"Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff intends to load up his criminal trial with information about nine national security matters, the names of foreign leaders and details about various terrorist groups, according to court filings in the Valerie Plame leak case....
"The danger for prosecutors is that the sheer volume and sensitivity of the classified information Libby wants to introduce could scuttle the trial. Once the judge identifies classified information Libby is entitled to present, U.S. intelligence agencies must rule on whether the secrets can be declassified. The trial would collapse if the intelligence agencies refuse to declassify the information." (AP)
Trial May Hurt Ohio GOP on Election Day
"Just a month before the elections, a former Republican fundraising star is set to go on trial on charges that he stole millions of dollars from a state investment in rare coins.
"The timing couldn't be worse for the GOP. Democrats, who haven't won a statewide executive office since 1990, are poised to take back the governor's office and are in position to win a majority of the five statewide races, according to recent polls." (AP)