Democratic Senate leader Reid demands Attorney General probe of Foley scandal

Published: Sunday October 1, 2006

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Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid is demanding that US Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales "open a full-scale investigation immediately" of the "alleged crimes" committed by Congressman Mark Foley, who resigned on Friday shortly after ABC News interviewed him about inappropriate emails and sexually explicit Instant Messages sent to teenage boys who worked as pages in the House of Representatives.

"The American people have a right to feel confident that their Congressional leaders are committed not just to the best interest of the nation as a whole, but also to the safety of the young people who every year travel to Washington to work on Capitol Hill," Reid said in a statement sent to RAW STORY.

"The allegations against Congressman Foley are repugnant, but equally as bad is the possibility that Republican leaders in the House of Representatives knew there was a problem and ignored it to preserve a Congressional seat this election year," Reid continued.

"Under laws that Congressman Foley helped write, soliciting sex from a minor online is a federal crime," said Reid. "The American people expect and deserve a full accounting for this despicable episode."

"The alleged crimes here are far outside the scope of any Congressional Committee, and the Attorney General should open a full-scale investigation immediately," Reid demanded. "We have a responsibility to the long-term safety of every child who will work in Congress that must not be sacrificed to the short-term interest of any one political Party."

Another press release issued today by the Democratic National Committee asks, "Why did GOP Leaders fail to take action on Foley emails?"

"The fact that Republican leaders like Speaker Hastert, Leader Boehner, and Congressman Reynolds all knew about Mark Foley's despicable emails to a minor raises important questions about who else may have known about this matter, when they knew it, and why they failed to take action to protect other young students in the Congressional page program," said DNC Communications Director Karen Finney in the press release sent to RAW STORY.

"Why did Republican Congressional leaders choose not to ask the critical questions about the nature and full extent of Congressman Foley's criminal actions involving minors at the time they first learned about it?" asks Finney.

"Why are they only expressing outrage now that the Foley emails have become public?" asks Finney. "Why did they fail to take action to protect our children from an online predator, choosing instead to protect their Republican majority in the House?"

Excerpts from DNC press release:


First 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. [Associated Press, 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]

...And Reynolds Is Second GOP Leader To Say He Talked to Hastert About it. "Rodney Alexander brought to my attention the existence of e-mails between Mark Foley and a former page of Mr. Alexander's. Despite the fact that I had not seen the e-mails in question, and Mr. Alexander told me that the parents didn't want the matter pursued, I told the Speaker of the conversation Mr. Alexander had with me." [Statement by Rep. Tom Reynolds, 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]

Of Course, Reynolds Has His Own Secrets - Hundreds of Thousands Of Them. During the summer of 2006, the same period Congressman Reynolds was keeping Mark Foley's inappropriate emails with minors a secret, his campaign committee coffers received a $200,000 donation from Foley. Altogether, Foley was among the committee's largest single contributors, giving the National Republican Congressional Committee $330,000. [AP, 9/30/06; Buffalo News, 10/01/06]

Reynolds Said He Considered the Matter Resolved, But Democrat On The Page Board Says It Was Never Even Investigated. In a statement, Congressman Reynolds "An investigation was then conducted by the clerk and John Shimkus on behalf of the House Page Board," but Rep. Dalae Kildee—the Democrat on the House Page Board—said the board never investigated Foley: "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." [Buffalo News, 10/01/06]