Ethics Inquiry into Foley Scandal Continues

The special subcommittee of the House ethics panel that’s looking into the Foley scandal met again today, hearing testimony from two key witnesses.

Danielle Savoy, a former aide to Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA) — who sponsored one of the pages who received inappropriate emails from Foley — spoke with the panel this morning. Savoy was the first Alexander staffer the page told of the emails.

In the afternoon, Alexander’s chief of staff, Royal Alexander (no relation), took the witness chair.

Also slated for appearance before the panel today: Rep. Dale E. Kildee (D-MI), a member of the page board who says he was never told of Foley’s behavior.

Tomorrow, the panel is expected to hear from House Sergeant at Arms Wilson Livingood, according to CQ (sub. req.). House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), is is scheduled to appear Thursday.

New questions are being raised over the credibility of the panel’s probe, however. Existing political ties — including donations from House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), whose behavior is under investigation, to panel members — have already cast doubt on the panel’s trustworthiness.

Congressional Quarterly‘s Alan Ota takes a look at some of the ambitions held by GOP members of the panel — ambitions that only Dennis Hastert has the power to fulfill:

[Ethics committee chairman Rep. Doc] Hastings has leadership ambitions and hopes to succeed Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif.

As long as Republicans are in the majority and Hastert is Speaker, no one has more sway over future career opportunities than the one-time wrestling coach from Illinois. More than just seniority is considered when chairmanships are awarded, and every member of the Republican Conference knows that with the right backers it is possible to leapfrog senior colleagues.

Other ethics committee Republicans also hope to move up the ladder:

– Lamar Smith, R-Texas, is poised to succeed F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., as the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee in the 110th Congress.

– Tom Cole, R-Okla., is vying with Phil English, R-Pa., and Pete Sessions, R-Texas, to succeed Thomas M. Reynolds, R-N.Y., as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

– Melissa A. Hart, R-Pa., has been mentioned as a possible candidate for several leadership posts, such as chairwoman or vice chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.

– Judy Biggert hasn’t been viewed as a potential leadership climber, but Hastert’s trust in his Illinois delegation colleague was evident last year when she became the only ethics committee Republican besides Hastings who was not purged after the panel rebuked then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas (1985-2005).

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