Foley Finis: GOP Negligent, Dems Knew, No Rules Broken

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Dec 09, 2006 9:41 AM

Denouement.

This is the House ethics committee investigation, headed up by Republican Reps. Doc Hastings of Washington and Judy Biggert of Illinois, and Democratic Reps. Howard Berman of California and Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio.

Hastert and Co. were negligent about the suggestive e-mails. No one was found to have known about the more salacious instant messages:

But the committee concluded that Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, was told about Foley's inappropriate conduct in 2002 or 2003 _ a finding based on testimony from Foley's former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham.

Palmer said he didn't recall the warning, although Fordham even described the room where they met.

Overall, the evidence shows that "concerns began to arise about Rep. Foley's interactions with pages or other young male staff members" shortly after he took office in 1995, according to the committee report.

The report, prepared by a four-member subcommittee, described "a disconcerting unwillingness to take responsibility for resolving issues regarding Foley's conduct."

Waaaay down at the bottom of the story, you'll find this bit:

Democrats received a brief mention in the report.

The committee said that one Democratic aide, Matt Miller, had possession of suggestive computer messages written by Foley, and passed them along to reporters as well as a communications aide at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The Blotter was a little more upfront about the Dem involvement:

According to the Committee's report, "the communications directors for both the House Democratic Caucus and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee" in the fall of 2005 also had copies of e-mails written by Mark Foley to a congressional page, which the high school student described as "sick, sick, sick, sick."...

But while the report is highly critical of the shortcomings of Hastert and the Republican leadership, there is no follow-up to the brief one sentence mention on page 76 that powerful Democratic committees also knew about the e-mails except to note that Matt Miller, the House Democratic Caucus staff member, sent the e-mails at some pont to various news organizations.

Foley will receive no punishment within the House, of course, since he's already resigned. ABC reports that Foley is unlikely to be prosecuted at a federal level, but Florida authorities are still looking into it.

Well, whether Foley is prosecuted or not, we can all hope the widely publicized scandal will keep pages safer in the future, should the program continue.