Friday, December 08, 2006


Turning The Page

Surprise! House Ethics Committee determines that in the Mark Foley matter, no rules were broken, but Republican leaders were "negligent."

"Mistakes were made," as the old saying goes!

Call me cynical, but something tells me that this is the definitive document on the Mark Foley saga.

UPDATE: I have to agree with Americablog -- which does a great job of breaking down the Ethics Committee report -- this is basically a bipartisan cover-up. On the claim that there were no rules broken, Americablog quotes the ethics group CREW':
In fact, Rule XXIII of the House Ethics Manual requires all members of the House to conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House.” This ethics standard is considered to be “the most comprehensive provision of the code.” When this section was first adopted, the Select Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the 90th Congress noted that it was included within the Code to deal with “flagrant” violations of the law that reflect on “Congress as a whole,” and that might otherwise go unpunished. This rule has been relied on by the Ethics Committee in numerous prior cases in which the Committee found unethical conduct including: engaging in sexual relationships with congressional pages as well as the failure to report campaign contributions, making false statements to the Committee, criminal convictions for bribery, or accepting illegal gratuities, and accepting gifts from persons with interest in legislation in violation of the then gift rule.
Sure, Hastert and Co. conducted themselves "at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House." Right. The whole site has a number of choice nuggets.

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan catches this fun irony:


The Speaker is revealed as at best untruthful by the House Ethics Committee:

Mr. Hastert has said that he was unaware of suspicions surrounding Mr. Foley until he resigned his seat. But the panel found that "the weight of the evidence supports the conclusion that Speaker Hastert was told, at least in passing, about the e-mails" months before the resignation both by his majority leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, and by Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, who headed the party’s Congressional campaign committee.

Even so, the committee said, "neither the Majority Leader nor Rep. Reynolds asked the Speaker to take any action in response to the information each provided to him, and there is no evidence that the Speaker took any action."

Who did take it seriously? The openly gay Clerk of the House, Jeff Trandahl:

Others familiar with Mr. Foley's actions were keenly aware of the potential for a scandal that could ruin Mr. Foley and cast the House in a bad light, the investigators found. For instance, many months before the scandal erupted, then-House Clerk Jeff Trandahl conferred with Representative John M. Shimkus, the Illinois Republican who was head of the board that oversaw the pages.

Mr. Trandahl testified before the ethics committee that he told Mr. Shimkus that Mr. Foley persisted in his actions despite being warned "multiple times," and that Mr. Foley was "a ticking time bomb."

So the straight Republicans covered up or ignored Foley's grossness and an openly gay man did all he could to stop it.


Funny how that happens.

It would have been more appropriate if Dennis Hastert had resigned when this scandal came to light. Yet, there is also something fitting that the last working day of the 109th Congress -- the final day of a Republican majority -- comes with a report damning the leadership as "negligent." Meanwhile, the first thing people see at the Speaker's web-site is still the announcement of the "Page Program Tip Line Number."

What an epitaph.

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