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Page accuses Kolbe of suppressing sexually-explicit messages from Foley

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Ron Brynaert and Brian Beutler
Published: Friday December 8, 2006

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According to the “Investigation of Allegations Related to Improper Conduct Involving Members and Current or Former House Pages” (what's become known as the “Page Report”), in October 2001 Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) received--and tried to suppress--sexually-explicit communications sent by Rep. Mark Foley to a House page Kolbe had sponsored the previous semester.

That communication, the former page told the authors of the report (accessible at this link), involved Foley making “reference to the size of his penis,” via Instant Message. An image of that portion of the report follows:

The former page contends that he affixed the IM conversation to an email he sent to Kolbe, asking Kolbe to “take care of it.” Soon thereafter, the former page received an email from Foley apologizing for “making him feel uncomfortable.”

But later in the report, Kolbe denies that he knew the precise nature of the inappropriate communication. The page, “said that he had an email from Congressman Foley,” according to Kolbe's deposition. “I did not see any communication that [the former page] had received, and as far as I know [my assistant] had not either.”

Though the subcommittee "found the former page to be credible and his testimony to be plausible," they remained inconclusive about the likelihood that Kolbe had seen the instant messages the boy forwarded to him:

"[T]he instant message could have been attached to an e-mail sent to Rep. Kolbe but not opened and read," the report reads, but adds, "If Rep. Kolbe was not shown the instant message he should have asked for it."

Still later in the report's account of Kolbe's involvement in the page scandal, it is stated that, according to the former page, Kolbe warned him, “it is bes[t] that you don't even bring this up with anybody.... [T]here is no good that can come from it if you actually talk about this. The man [Foley] has resigned anyway.”

An image of that portion of the report follows:

A few days after that conversation -- after the national media had circulated several Instant Message conversations between Foley and former pages, including some that involved discussions of penis size -- Kolbe left the former page a voice message, which, according to the page, said, "It looks like you did some talking."

Kolbe was concerned that the page had been a source for a then-forthcoming article in the Washington Post and wanted to know what information might have made it into the story

The former page later denied to Kolbe being a source for the Post.

According to the report, Kolbe himself is under investigation by federal authorities. "The Investigative Subcommittee was provided with information concerning certain allegations made regarding Rep. Jim Kolbe and his interaction with former House pages," the report reads.

And, though the report concludes that an investigation of Kolbe would be within its jurisdiction, and "[t]he Subcommittee heard some testimony" about Kolbe's actions, "Rep. Kolbe did not provide full and complete testimony regarding the allegations, citing the pending federal inquiry."

Because the FBI is investigating the Arizona congressman, and because that investigation will conclude after "Rep. Kolbe's imminent retirement" at the conclusion of the 109th congress today, Kolbe "will no longer be within the Committee's jurisdiction," and "the Investigative Subcommittee does not recommend further investigative or disciplinary proceedings by the House against Rep. Kolbe."

Unclear from the report is whether the federal investigation concerns Kolbe's handling of information provided to him by his former page or other, unspecified allegations of improper conduct.

Despite these and other damning discoveries, however, "the Investigative Subcommittee did not find that any current House Members or employees violated the House Code of Official Conduct," and "recommends no further investigative or disciplinary proceedings against any specific person."

Late Friday evening, Kolbe issued a statement in which he again denied ever seeing the reference to penis size.

"As I testified before the committee, I did not review a copy of the communication Congressman Foley sent the college student and I never knew whether or not it was sexually explicit," Kolbe said. "The simple fact that Foley had made the student feel uncomfortable was enough for me to take action by, among other things, notifying the Clerk of the House."

Kolbe added that he was "continuing to cooperate with other reviews," but that he was "confident that when they are complete they will all conclude that [he] acted appropriately."

RAW STORY will document more of the most noteworthy parts of the page report...