Kkdoq6ejtoq9xs0cnqas

David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

Did I say earthquake?

Here's another sign of the tectonic shift.

The NRCC dropped $7.8 million yesterday into 30 House districts.

But here's the thing. It's not just the size of the expenditure. Of the 30 districts in question, 27 are currently held by the GOP.

They're playing defense. But as the GOP playbook says, the best defense is a strong offense, so 98% of the $7.8 million is going to attacking the Democratic opponents.

The NRCC wants Rep. Mark Foley's $2.7 million campaign chest for use in other congressional races.

Hate the sin but love the sinner's money?

I took Hastert's call for an investigation of anyone who may have been aware of the Foley matter, specifically the part about "anyone outside the Congress," as a reference to former House Clerk Jeff Trandahl.

Once again, I've been busted for not being cynical enough. From TPM Reader B:

Seems reasonably clear to me. The reptiles want the FBI to investigate ABC’s sources and see if they can find any Democratic Party and/or liberal interest group involvement in the IM leaks. A probe would also help intimidate any other potential whistleblowers who might be out there . . . (“If you know what’s good for you kid, you’ll keep your old emails to yourself.”)

It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with going after Trandahl, who after all is one of the House officials the Republicans claim never saw the sexually explicit messages. If the FBI were to find out that he DID see them, it would bring the nasty stuff closer to Hastert and Co.


I'm afraid this is probably right. Also a good excuse to start issuing subpoenas to reporters again.

TPM Reader AL makes a good point about Hastert's letter to the Attorney General:

Hastert still maintains the focus on just one of Foley's emails:

“As I am sure you are aware, there are two different and distinct communications at issue here. First, Mr. Foley sent an email to a former page of Representative Alexander in the fall of 2005. This email was determined to be "over friendly" by Representative Alexander's office but was not sexual in nature."

. . .

Hastert separates what he still maintains is one "overfriendly" email and the "investigation" of it from the existence of the explicit IMs. On the face of it, that is defensible. There has not yet been any evidence that he or anyone in Congress knew of those IMs. We'll see how far that lasts.

But his request for an investigation is directed SOLELY at those "sexually explicit communications," and who knew of them, when, and what they did.

“Therefore, I also request that the Department undertake an investigation into who had specific knowledge of the content of any sexually explicit communications between Mr. Foley and any former or current House pages and what actions such individuals took, if any, to provide them to law enforcement. I request that the scope of your investigation include any and all individuals who may have been aware of this matter-be they Members of Congress, employees of the House of Representatives, or anyone outside the Congress."

That has NOTHING TO DO with how the Leadership dealt with the emails from Foley to the Page from Louisiana.


Just more of the same obfuscation and deception. For them, this is not about the pages. It's about winning. They will do anything to win.

Speaker Hastert's letter to the Attorney General, via Roll Call:

“Former Representative Mark Foley resigned from the House of Representatives on Friday, September 29, 2006, after improper and illicit communications between Mr. Foley and former House pages were made public. While the House of Representatives on that day voted to refer this matter to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for investigation, they do not have jurisdiction over federal law or over him upon his resignation from office.

“As Speaker of the House, I hereby request that the Department of Justice conduct an investigation of Mr. Foley's conduct with current and former House pages to determine to what extent any of his actions violated federal law.

“As I am sure you are aware, there are two different and distinct communications at issue here. First, Mr. Foley sent an email to a former page of Representative Alexander in the fall of 2005. This email was determined to be "over friendly" by Representative Alexander's office but was not sexual in nature. Second, based on media reports, there is a different set of communications which were sexually explicit instant messages which Mr. Foley reportedly sent another former page or pages. These communications, of which no one in the House Leadership was aware to my knowledge, reportedly were sent sometime in 2003.

“According to an Editor's Note that appeared on the St. Petersburg Times' website yesterday, the Times was given a set of emails from Mr. Foley to Representative Alexander's former page in November of 2005. (See "A Note From the Editors" located at http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz /, visited on September 30, 2006). The editors state that they viewed this exchange as "friendly chit chat" and decided not to publish it after hearing an explanation from Representative Foley. Acting on this same communication, the Chairman of the House Page Board and the then Clerk of the House confronted Mr. Foley, demanded he cease all contact with the former page as his parents had requested, and believed they had privately resolved the situation as the parents had requested.

“Unlike the first communication, the second communication was a set of instant messages that contained sexually explicit statements and were reportedly generated three years ago. Last week, ABC News first reported these sexually explicit instant messages which led to Representative Foley's resignation. These sexually explicit communications warrant a criminal referral in two respects. Initially, since the communications involve interstate communications, there should be a complete investigation and prosecution of any federal laws that have been violated. In addition, since the communications appear to have existed for three years, there should be an investigation into the extent there are persons who knew or had possession of these messages but did not report them to the appropriate authorities. It is important to know who may have had the communications and why they were not given to prosecutors before now.

“Therefore, I also request that the Department undertake an investigation into who had specific knowledge of the content of any sexually explicit communications between Mr. Foley and any former or current House pages and what actions such individuals took, if any, to provide them to law enforcement. I request that the scope of your investigation include any and all individuals who may have been aware of this matter-be they Members of Congress, employees of the House of Representatives, or anyone outside the Congress.

“Your attention to this serious matter is appreciated. I am also sending to the Department of Law Enforcement for the State of Florida a request to investigate whether or not any state laws were violated by Mr. Foley or anyone else with respect to this matter.”

Will she stay or will she go now?

Laura Bush scheduled to be keynote speaker at luncheon honoring Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY).

For those of you who have been away this weekend (and in a cave), that would be this guy.

Hastert calls for federal criminal investigation of Rep. Mark Foley . . . developing

Update: Does calling for an investigation after one is already underway count for anything?

Late Update: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had already called this afternoon for immediate action by the House Ethics Committee. By calling for criminal investigation, does Hastert hope to keep the genie in the bottle through Election Day?

Later update: Haven't seen the letter yet, but here's a key part, according to AP:

The scope of the investigation, Hastert wrote, should include "any and all individuals who may have been aware of this matter -- be they members of Congress, employees of the House of Representatives or anyone outside the Congress."


"Anyone outside of Congress"? That seems like a pretty direct reference to Jeff Trandahl, the Clerk of the House at the time who helped with the "investigation" of Foley, the one no one told the Democrats about.

ABC, which has led the way on the Rep. Mark Foley story, now reporting that GOP congressional staff was warning pages about Foley five years ago:

A Republican staff member warned congressional pages five years ago to watch out for Congressman Mark Foley, according to a former page.

Matthew Loraditch, a page in the 2001-2002 class, told ABC News he and other pages were warned about Foley by a supervisor in the House Clerk's office.

Loraditch, the president of the Page Alumni Association, said the pages were told "don't get too wrapped up in him being too nice to you and all that kind of stuff."

Foley now in FBI crosshairs, ABC News reports:

The FBI has opened a "preliminary investigation" of disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley over the sexually explicit Internet messages he sent to congressional pages, all male high school students under the age of 18.

Agents in the FBI's Cyber Division have already begun to examine the texts of some of the messages, according to a FBI spokesperson.

TPMLivewire