E-Mail Whistleblower Is a Longtime Republican
"The source who in July gave news media Rep. Mark Foleyâs [R-FL] suspect e-mails to a former House page says the documents came to him from a House GOP aide....
"The same source, who acted as an intermediary between the aide-turned-whistleblower and several news outlets, says the person who shared the documents is no longer employed in the House.
"But the whistleblower was a paid GOP staffer when the documents were first given to the media....
"These revelations mean that Republicans who are calling for probes to discover what Democratic leaders and staff knew about Foleyâs improper exchanges with under-age pages will likely be unable to show that the opposition party orchestrated the scandal now roiling the GOP just a month away from the midterm elections." (The Hill)
Former Foley, Reynolds Chief-of-Staff's Allegations Ruin Hastert's Timeline
"A longtime chief of staff to disgraced former representative Mark Foley [R-FL] approached House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's office three years ago, repeatedly imploring senior Republicans to help stop Foley's advances toward teenage male pages, the staff member said yesterday.
"The account by Kirk Fordham, who resigned yesterday from his job with another senior lawmaker, pushed back to 2003 or earlier the time when Hastert's staff reportedly became aware of Foley's questionable behavior concerning teenagers working on Capitol Hill." (WaPo, NY Times, McClatchy, LAT)
Onetime Loyal Aide Now Stands to Undermine GOP
Here's the story of the man who might have put the nail in Hastert's coffin. (LA Times)
Republicans With No Connection to Foley Scandal May Be In Trouble
"In Minnesota, Democrat Patty Wetterling, a child-safety advocate seeking the seat of a departing Republican, is using the scandal around former Florida Republican Rep. Mark Foley to blast the House majority in a television advertisement. She is running an uphill campaign in a Republican-leaning district and has lagged behind her opponent, a state legislator, in polls throughout the campaign. But a Reuters survey released yesterday suggests the scandal has transformed the race to essentially a tie.
"On the campaign trail, Democrats are pressing Republicans to declare whether they will vote to re-elect Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is under fire for not launching an investigation earlier. In Pennsylvania, Chris Carney, a former military officer challenging Republican Rep. Don Sherwood, has urged Mr. Sherwood to cancel a fund-raiser with Mr. Hastert and House Majority Leader John Boehner." (WSJ)
How Far Down Will Foley Bring the GOP?
"House campaign committee chief Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.) has said repeatedly this year that Republicans would keep their majority in the 110th Congress because one lawmakerâs actions do not impact the electoral prospects of another and that even though the public might detest the Congress as a whole, it tends to think highly of its own congressman.
"The scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) could test Reynoldsâ theories, but political strategists and experts cautioned partisans on both sides of the aisle from jumping to conclusions." (The Hill)
Hastert May Act by Resigning Later or Firing Staffers
"A senior party aide said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who oversees the congressional intern program at the center of the scandal, could be forced out after the November 7 elections, instead of immediately, as has been urged by some critics. Hastert has said he intends to stay on the job.
"'Looks like right now he will keep his job for a maximum of one and one-half months,' said a top party aide, adding that in the meantime Hastert may fire some staffers. Other aides said it remained unclear how long he would stay." (Reuters)
Foley Ballot Notice Headed for Battle in Florida
"The state that gave the world butterfly ballots and the hanging chad is headed for a new battle over whether and how voters should be told that disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley has dropped out of the Florida congressional race....
"Rules prohibit taking Foley's name off the ballot so close to the November 7 election. So the Republicans' replacement nominee, Joe Negron, asked election supervisors to post signs at the polls telling voters that ballots cast for Foley will actually go to Negron.
"Democrats cried foul, contending that such a notice is tantamount to posting a partisan political advertisement inside voting stations, which is not allowed." (Reuters)
Lawmaker's Intentions Appear Clear In Exchanges
"Now, with the help of a former House page who served with the two male pages who conversed online with Foley, The Washington Post obtained dozens of America Online instant messages yesterday that illuminate the apparent predations of the disgraced former congressman. David Roth, [former Rep. Mark] Foley's attorney in Florida, said last night of the messages: 'I'm not going to comment on anything unless it's in a public forum before everyone.'...
"Taken together, the chats seem to make clear that Foley tried to lure the boys into sexual encounters, and certainly encouraged lurid behavior online. In one conversation, it appears clear that Foley met with one boy in San Diego." (WaPo)
The Public Life of Mark Foley
"Over 12 years in Congress, he became extraordinarily adept at projecting a magnetic public persona â helped along by loyal aides and a sister he breezily called his surrogate wife â while conducting a private life fraught with more secrets than anyone imagined....
"Friends and colleagues say that in Washington, Mr. Foley excelled at grabbing public attention and seemed to take particular pleasure in access to celebrities. While he was known for his efforts to protect children, he was also one of the best-known champions of Hollywood....
"In Washington, he loved to go to parties and to throw them â he once told an interviewer he kept two tuxedos, one in each hometown. For several years running, he and other members of Congress who lived in a historic row of town houses behind the House office buildings gave a boozy block party. They offered a different drink â bourbon, margaritas, martinis, and in Mr. Foleyâs case, a wine tasting â for donors willing to pay $1,000 at each town house." (NY Times)
DOJ Preparing to Investigate Foley?
"Federal prosecutors yesterday ordered the House of Representatives to preserve all documents and other materials related to Mark Foley's electronic communications with male teenage pages, signaling an intensifying investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department into possible criminal activity by the disgraced former GOP congressman.
"The three-page 'preservation letter' -- sent to House Counsel Geraldine R. Gennet from the office of acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor in Washington -- indicates that law enforcement officials are preparing, if necessary, to seek grand jury subpoenas for records or searches of Foley's Capitol Hill office, said law enforcement officials and legal experts." (WaPo)
Legal Case Against Foley Could Be Tricky to Build
"It's unclear if the former congressman will face charges. Different state laws on the Internet and the age of consent complicate matters." (LA Times)
Abuse Experts See E-Mails as Red Flag
"In explaining how he responded to early warnings of possible sexual misconduct by Rep. Mark Foley, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has suggested that the "over-friendly" e-mails Foley sent to a former page were not explicit enough to alert him to the seriousness of the problem.
"But the e-mails were classic examples of the tactics predatory adults use to approach young people and called for close and immediate examination, psychiatrists and other clinical experts on sexual misconduct said Wednesday." (LA Times)
Pages Defend Program
"So, while former pages are the ones who have stepped forward with the most damning information on former Rep. Foley, some are the program's most ardent defenders. Many of them stay in touch with each other long after leaving Washington. They value the contacts of the page network and have reacted with dismay over the possibility that the program could be scrapped.
'It's a wonderful program, and my big fear now is they're going to discontinue it, and a lot of kids are going to miss out,' says Alex McKay, a sophomore at Randolph Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, Va., who served as a page in the summer of 2003. She says that she was thrilled to see how the government works up close, and that she jotted down her experiences in a 'page notebook.'" (WSJ)
Victims of Abuse Speak Out Against Foley's Actions
"Former Representative Mark Foleyâs declaration that he was sexually abused as a teenager by a cleric has angered many victims of sexual abuse by clergy members, who say that being victimized as a youth is no excuse for victimizing others.
"If Mr. Foley was abused, they said, he has a responsibility to report his abuser to the police immediately and to identify the cleric publicly....
"Officials of both the Archdiocese of Miami and the Diocese of Palm Beach, which was established in 1984 and now includes the area where Mr. Foley grew up, said that Mr. Foleyâs assertions were too vague to merit a response." (NY Times)
How The Scandal Plagued Defend Themselves
"Bad news: You've been caught (a) taking bribes from Jack Abramoff, (b) telling a police officer that "the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," or (c) exchanging naked fantasies with teenage boys. What do you do? If you're Mel Gibson, Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), or former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), you blame alcohol. Here's their 10-step program for rehabilitating your career." (Slate)
Republicans Call for Investigation Into Possible Drunken Dorm Visit by Foley
"A senior House Republican has asked the House clerk to look into allegations that then-Rep. Mark Foley was turned away from the congressional page dorm on Capitol Hill after arriving there intoxicated one night....
"U.S. Rep. Deborah Pryce [R-OH] is calling for a further investigation of the dorm report.
âCongresswoman Pryce contacted the clerk and asked her to look into this rumor,â said Geoff Embler, a spokesman for Pryce." (Tallahassee Democrat)
Foley Off-Topic for Embattled House Republicans
"Republican House members, scattered across the USA for their first week of full-time campaigning, want to talk to voters about the reasons they believe they should be re-elected.
"Instead, they are dealing with issues they would prefer to avoid: Florida congressman Mark Foley's alleged sexual Internet messages to teenage male pages and their own party's handling of the matter." (USA Today)
And Senators Don't Want to Talk About It Either
"Senate Republicans, ranging from leaders to rank-and-file Members, say they are counting the days until the media frenzy dies down. Very few Senators have even issued press statements on the scandal stemming from Foleyâs sexually suggestive e-mails, and those Republicans who have addressed the subject have largely done so in response to media questions....
"If a Senator speaks out, one GOP Senate aide said, 'you are basically saying, "Iâm going to defend this Congress, which everybody hates, at the expense of saying I am turning a blind eye to a child who was tormented."" (Roll Call, sub. req.)
GOPer Calls for Foley Testimony from Dem Leaders
"North Carolina Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry called on Democratic leaders yesterday to testify under oath about when they knew of former Rep. Mark Foleyâs (R-Fla.) Internet communications with a House page....
"'Is the American public to believe that neither of you nor your staffs nor anyone associated with your staffs had prior knowledge or involvement with the release of Foleyâs e-mails and/or explicit instant messages? Is the American public to believe that ABC News stumbled haphazardly on this story without Democratic assistance?' wrote McHenry, a freshman Republican who has emerged as an attack dog for the GOP....
"Spokespeople for Pelosi and the DCCC dismissed McHenryâs demand as political posturing." (Roll Call)
House Republican Calls for Suspension of Page Program
"Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) acknowledged that he has recommended to Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and other lawmakers that the current group of high school students should be sent home and that the program should be sus- pended until a full evaluation is completed to determine whether Congress should continue to employ pages, which it has done for more than 200 years.
LaHood, who has long been known as one of the more committed institutionalists in the House, called the page system a âflawed program,â in an interview Wednesday, noting not just the revelations surrounding Foleyâs e-mails and instant messages to former pages but also incidents involving former Reps. Dan Crane (R-Ill.) and Gerry Studds (D-Mass.), who engaged in sexual relationships with underage pages in the 1970s and early 1980s." (Roll Call, sub. req.)
Former Page Lawyers Up
"A former U.S. House page working on the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Rep. Ernest Istook [R-OK] may be a part of the scandal involving former Congressman Mark Foley, The Oklahoman has learned.
"The former page, a Californian named Jordan Edmund, on Wednesday hired Enid attorney Stephen Jones to represent him, the attorney confirmed.
"Jones would not say exactly why he was hired, but did say, 'I understand the FBI and the House Ethics committee have an interest in the matter ... the allegations concerning Congressman Foley which have surfaced.'â (The Oklahoman)
Gingrich on Foley and the Dems
"Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that Democratic sex scandals have been far worse than the suggestive Internet messages sent to teenage congressional pages by former Rep. Mark Foley.
"Gingrich said Democrats have wanted to punish their offenders less than the GOP." (AP)
Hastert Skips Interview
"House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was scheduled to be interviewed tonight by Chicago radio host John Williams....
"But Hastert never showed....
"As the scheduled time for the interview approached, [John Williams' producer Matt] Bubala said, [Hastert staffer Chris] Taylor called several times claiming that Hastert was on an important call and likely might not be available in time for the interview. But according to Bubala, an employee for WGNâs sister television station said that while Hastert was supposedly on a telephone call, a WGN cameraman was filming Hastert arriving at and entering his home in Illinois." (Think Progress)
U.S. Eavesdropping Is Allowed to Continue During Appeal
"The Bush administration can continue eavesdropping on the international communications of some Americans without a court warrant while it appeals a judgeâs ruling that the program is unconstitutional, the federal appeals court here ruled Wednesday." (AP)
K Street Helps Candidates On The Campaign Trail
"The Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal may have prompted a bevy of Congressional candidates to decry Washington, D.C., 'special interests' on the stump, but it has not stopped the buses from rolling out of K Street and onto the campaign trail.
"With Congress now out of session to campaign full time, lobbyists have been lining up to help former bosses or favored Members on the stump. The Republican National Committee has even ramped up its lobbyist outreach by enlisting them to organize small teams to bolster its 'volunteer deployment program.'â (Roll Call)
ACT Won't Rent Donor List to Campaign Finance Reformer Feingold
"[Senator Russ] Feingold [D-WI], the champion of campaign finance reform who railed against 527s, is trying to get his hands on the golden egg of Democratic political fundraising: the donor list for the now-defunct but extraordinarily influential 527 group America Coming Together....
"ACT has had numerous requests from various Democratic and left-leaning entities seeking access to its vast database of wealthy liberal donors. And naturally, since the soft-money group is still paying off bills and cleaning house as it continues the process of officially closing shop, it happily rents the coveted list.
"But not to Feingold. Uh-uh. No way." (Roll Call)
Waterboarding Historically Controversial
"Key senators say Congress has outlawed one of the most notorious detainee interrogation techniques -- 'waterboarding,' in which a prisoner feels near drowning. But the White House will not go that far, saying it would be wrong to tell terrorists which practices they might face.
"Inside the CIA, waterboarding is cited as the technique that got Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the prime plotter of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to begin to talk and provide information -- though "not all of it reliable," a former senior intelligence official said.
"Waterboarding is variously characterized as a powerful tool and a symbol of excess in the nation's fight against terrorists. But just what is waterboarding, and where does it fit in the arsenal of coercive interrogation techniques?" (WaPo)
Scalia's Tequila Remark Raises Eyebrows
"During oral arguments Tuesday in an immigrantsâ rights case, Justice Antonin Scalia made a reference to one of the parties, a Mexican who has been deported back to his country, as someone unlikely to keep from drinking tequila on the chance he could return to the United States." (Legal Times)
Former 9/11 Detainee Accuses U.S. of Abuse
"Javaid Iqbal's lawyers say the Pakistani cable repairman was snatched in the post-September 11 dragnet and held for over a year at a Brooklyn detention center, where guards beat him mercilessly.
"Iqbal, like hundreds of Muslims or Arabs detained in the days after the attacks but never charged, sued the U.S. government, saying that he was held and abused for no legitimate reason." (Reuters)
Doolittle Faces Serious Threat in Nov. As a Result of Abramoff Connections
"Eight-term Republican Rep. John T. Doolittle [R-CA] has not faced legal repercussions stemming from his past association with now-convicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Still to be determined, though, is whether there will be any serious reverberations on Nov. 7 â when voters go the polls in a Republican stronghold that the conservative Doolittle has dominated in his past elections....
"[Democratic challenger Charlie] Brownâs campaign has largely focused on trying to tie Doolittle, and his past links to Abramoff, to a âculture of corruptionâ that the challenger and many Democrats alleged has been created by the Republicans who control Congress." (CQ Politics)