The impact of the widely reported scandal involving former Representative Mark Foley continues to grow. The scandal not only involves House Republican leadership, and what they knew and when they knew it, but it may also involve the executive branch. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice requesting an investigation into why the FBI only recently began its investigation into the Foley matter. CREW had provided emails allegedly from Rep. Foley to a former page in July 2006 and asked for an investigation at that time.
On the House side, news reports have revealed that some members of House leadership knew for months and possibly years of Foley’s inappropriate emails to and behavior toward teenage pages. House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who took over former Rep. Tom DeLay’s leadership position, has said that when he learned last spring of Foley’s misconduct, he immediately informed Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), though he later equivocated, telling the Washington Post that he was not sure if he had spoken with Hastert. Hastert has said that several members of Congress, including Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-NY) (the national Republican Congressional Committee chair), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) (the chair of the House Page Board), and Jeff Trandahl (then-Clerk of the House), were aware of emails between Foley and a page in 2005, but that the exchange was not sexually explicit, simply “over-friendly,” according to Roll Call. At that time, Foley was only ordered to cease communications with the teenager. Boehner and Reynolds’ offices learned of the email exchange from Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA), in whose office the page had served, according to the Post. Kirk Fordham, who served as Foley’s campaign manager and chief of staff until 2005, has been advising Foley over the past few days, according to the Palm Beach Post. Fordham is now Rep. Reynolds chief of staff.
ABC News reports that House Republicans have been warning pages about Foley for at least the past five years. However, AMERICAblog points out that even after Republican staff warned the page class of 2001-2002 to stay away from Foley, Rep. Shimkus spoke of Foley’s contact with the pages, introducing Foley as “someone who spends a lot of time with you” when addressing the pages at their farewell ceremony. Foley then describes a private lunch with one of the male pages, noting that the page had to notify the Clerk of the House (John Trendahl), according to AMERICAblog.
Democratic leadership is calling for an internal investigation into the situation.