WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /U.S. Newswire/ — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today called upon the House of Representatives to appoint an outside counsel to investigate the House leadership’s role in covering up Rep. Mark Foley’s (R-FL) inappropriate email exchanges with a sixteen-year-old former House page.
Several members of the Republican leadership have now admitted to knowing for nearly a year that Rep. Foley engaged in email exchanges with a sixteen-year-old former House page. These members, including Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Reps. Rodney Alexander (R-LA), John Shimkus (R-IL) and Tom Reynolds (R-NY) have all claimed that they failed to take action because the boy’s parents did not want to pursue the matter. The decision not to investigate further left other House pages unprotected and vulnerable to a potential sexual predator.
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert’s (R-IL) decision to have Rep. Shimkus review the page system is particularly ludicrous, given that it was Rep. Shimkus who, despite having been made aware that the boy and his parents were concerned about Rep. Foley’s emails, readily accepted Rep. Foley’s explanation that he was merely mentoring the boy. Rep. Shimkus is the chairman of the House page board.
Although the matter allegedly was raised before the House page board, the failure to insulate pages from further contact with Rep. Foley and the failure to implement measures to protect the pages suggests that the leadership failed to take the matter seriously.
Because the House leadership has demonstrated a shocking lack of judgment in dealing with Rep. Foley’s conduct, those in charge cannot now be trusted to examine the matter candidly. To ensure a thorough investigation of this sordid episode and the roles of everyone involved, it is imperative that the House immediately appoint an outside counsel. To that end, the chairman and the ranking member of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, Reps. Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Howard Berman (D-CA) respectively, should jointly choose an outside counsel with prosecutorial experience to get to the bottom of this sorry affair. It is the very least the House can do for the teenagers entrusted to its care.
Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said today, “It is horrifying to learn that some members of Congress were more concerned with covering up a potentially embarrassing situation than with protecting the teenage pages.” Sloan continued, “the American people, and particularly the parents of other pages, have a right to know if congressional leaders put politics above the safety of children.”
This is a must – especially considering this from Josh:
News from Congressman Dale E. Kildee Contact: Christopher Mansour, Chief of Staff for Congressman Kildee
Congressman Dale Kildee (D-MI), the Democratic Member of the House Page Board, released the following statement today:
“As the Democratic Member of the House Page Board, any statement by Mr. Reynolds or anyone else that the House Page Board ever investigated Mr. Foley is completely untrue.
“I was never informed of the allegations about Mr. Foley’s inappropriate communications with a House Page and I was never involved in any inquiry into this matter.
“The first and only meeting of the House Page Board on this matter occurred on Friday, September 29 at approximately 6 p.m., after the allegations about Mr. Foley had become public.”
The mishandling of this by the Republican leadership in the House has voided all justification of their own investigation. They had a chance to handle this properly a year ago and choose politicking over child safety. Considering the leadership of the Page Board also needs investigated in this, it can not be left in the hands of the Republican controlled House Ethics Committee. Remember – that is the committee that Tom Delay CHOSE to not have operate during the time this was happening.
Republicans can try all they want to spin this into an attack against them, but at the end of the day the parents in this nation will know best. They will realize it was the Republicans who shunned the safety of children in the name of saving votes. Not only have they sent our children off to die in an illegal war, but they have allowed our children to be abused by other members of their own party. This is disgraceful.
On a good note, I have spoken to a few die hard Republicans I know today. They are saying the same thing – they are ashamed to admit their party. They have now given up all hope on the GOP. This is not the fault of the child involved, nor the fault of Mr. Foley. It is the fault of the monsters who call themselves leaders and CHOOSE TO IGNORE what was reported to them. Pat yourselves on the back Mr. Boehner and Mr. Hastert – you have really helped destroy your party now. Your political funerals are now only a month away!