DNC: Where’s The Outrage?
Washington, DC – In the wake of a scandal involving Republican Congressman Tom Foley’s inappropriate and criminal communications with underage Congressional pages, it is clear that the leaders of both the GOP House re-election committee and the Speaker of the House knew that Foley had engaged in behavior that was, at best, highly questionable. According to ABC News, a Republican staffer warned pages about Foley five years ago. Statements from House Republican leaders indicate that they knew of Foley’s behavior but did not act to stop Congressman Foley at the time that they first learned about the inappropriate emails.
When questioned over the weekend and this morning, White House officials seem to be standing by the House leadership team that refused to investigate Foley and apparently tried to hide his inappropriate activities. The incident further raises questions about whether or not the chair of the NRCC, the GOP Speaker of the House, or other Republican leaders who may have known about the emails and the earlier concerns about Foley shared this information with the Bush White House? Why has the White House refused to take a stronger stand and call for the resignation of Republican leaders who allowed a sexual predator to remain in their midst?
“Just what are the GOP’s values when they chose to protect their power in Congress over protecting our children who work on Capitol Hill?” said Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Stacie Paxton. “Why is the White House protecting its Congressional Republican leadership instead of standing up for the children involved and asking the tough questions about who else knew about this criminal activity involving minors that was apparently covered up? Was the White House informed of Foley’s actions months, even years ago? Will the White House ask for the resignation of Republican leaders who failed to protect minors from a sexual predator? Where is the outrage and where is the leadership from the Bush White House? The American people deserve leaders who put the interests of the American people ahead of their own political party. Democrats remain committed to honest and ethical government.”
GOP House Leadership Knew About Foley Emails
NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds Knew About Foley Communications. According to the Associated Press, Congressman Tom Reynolds’ spokesman confirmed that Reynolds had been informed by another Congressman that the boy had complained about Foley’s inappropriate communications “months ago.” According to the report, the allegations first came to light in late 2005. [AP, 9/30/06]
But, Hastert Says He Didn't Know About Foley Emails. The spokesman for Speaker Dennis Hastert, Ron Bonjean, said the top House Republican had not known about the allegations...Hastert said Friday he had asked Shimkus to investigate the page system. “We want to make sure that all our pages are safe and the page system is safe,” Hastert said. [AP, 9/30/06]
Then, Boehner Says He Told Hastert in Spring 2006 – At Least Until He Changed His Mind. “House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned this spring of inappropriate ‘contact’ between Foley and a 16-year-old page. Boehner said he then told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Boehner later contacted The Post and said he could not remember whether he talked to Hastert.” [Washington Post, 9/30/06]
Now, Hastert Says "I Don't Remember It, But That Doesn't Mean It Didn't Happen." "Congressman Tom Reynolds in a statement issued today indicates that many months later, in the spring of 2006, he was approached by Congressman Alexander who mentioned the Foley issue from the previous fall. During a meeting with the Speaker he says he noted the issue which had been raised by Alexander and told the Speaker that an investigation was conducted by the Clerk of the House and Shimkus. While the Speaker does not explicitly recall this conversation, he has no reason to dispute Congressman Reynold's recollection that he reported to him on the problem and its resolution." [Press Release from Speaker Hastert's Office, 9/30/06]
GOP Staffer Warned Pages 5 Years Ago About Foley. “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. 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.’” [ABC News, 10/1/06]
But, The Bush White Continues To Defend GOP House Leadership
President Bush: Values, Responsibility And Family Commitment Are Important. “In this world of change, some things do not change: the values we try to live by, the institutions that give our lives meaning and purpose. Our society rests on a foundation of responsibility and character and family commitment.” [President’s Remarks at the 2004 Republican National Convention, 9/2/04]
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow: "Simply Naughty Emails." White House Spokesman Tony Snow downplayed Foley's conversations with underage House pages were simply "naughty emails." On CNN this morning, he said, "Yes, look, I hate to tell you, but it's not always pretty up there on Capitol Hill. And there have been other scandals, as you know, that have been more than simply naughty e-mails." [CNN, 10/2/06]
Bush Counselor Dan Bartlett Said House Leaders Were “Very Forthcoming.” Yesterday, on ABC’s “This Week,” Dan Bartlett, President Bush’s White House counselor, “said he thought the House Republican leaders have been ‘very forthcoming’ and that the White House learned of the matter ‘when the American people learned.’” [Financial Times, 10/1/06]
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow: Let’s Get The Facts.
“Question: If it turns out that the leadership knew or had reason to know what Congressman Foley was doing in those emails, should they be forced to resign?
Snow: I don’t get calls for resignation, especially when it comes to members of the House. People have to figure out what happened here. … Let’s figure out what the factsare. Let’s take it one step at a time.” [ABC News, Good Morning America, 10/2/06]