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Privilege = Private Law

The now disgraced Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL-16) has been hoist by his own petard as he was a sponsor of the law that could result in up to 10 years in a Federal prison and inclusion on the sexual predators list. He will be forever [i.e. this election cycle] linked to the 2006 Congressional page sex scandal, so named to avoid confusion with the bipartisan 1983 Congressional page sex scandal [they had to go back to 1973 to make it bipartisan, but that’s Republicans].

I would note that the pages in the 1983 scandal were both 17 and neither complained, while one of the 16-year-olds in this scandal was clearly upset by Mr. Foley’s actions. It hasn’t been made very clear by the reporting, but there is more than one page involved if you can stand to read through the e-mails and IMs.

A common refrain heard is clearly stated in general terms by Christy Hardin Smith, and in more specific terms by Hastert constituents Karen and Michael: more concern was shown for the Republican Party than the high school students involved.

The Pensacola Beach Blog noted that buried in the messages is a references to a campaign event in Pensacola, which would mean that Foley continued long after he said he would stop.

Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA-5) was the sponsor of the page that expressed his discomfort with Mr. Foley’s communications. Mr. Alexander was notified of the problem by reporters, apparently from Louisiana.

Things get murky, but Mr. Alexander would seem to have notified Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL-19), Chairman House Page Board, and Jeff Trandahl, Clerk of the House and ex officio member of the Board. Mr. Trandahl left his position in November of 2005, so the notification would have been after hurricane Katrina and before Mr. Trandahl left.

For some reason Mr. Alexander felt it was necessary to contact Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-NY-26), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, but not Rep. “Doc” Hastings (R-WA-4), chairman of the House Ethics Committee.

Several different people notified both Rep. John Boehner (R-OH-8), the House Majority Leader, and Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL-14), Speaker of the House, but there is no evidence that they took any action at all until the entire mess blew up in their faces [see: petard, hoist on].

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-8), House Minority Leader, forced Hastert’s hand by introducing a resolution to investigate Foley and the handling of the situation, but Boehner substituted a resolution that only sends Foley’s actions to the Ethics committee. That was only because she forced a recorded vote on the manner.


Recently Dennis Hastert broke “Uncle Joe” Cannon’s record as longest serving Republican Speaker of the House, but “Uncle Joe” lost his long standing record of tyranny to the Hastert/DeLay team years ago.

Note for the groundlings: without the reference to an engineer by Hamlet, to be hoist by one’s own petard could be interpreted as breaking wind so violently as to be lifted from your chair. See the etymology of petard for the reason.


1 annonomus { 10.01.06 at 10:27 am }

Is it true, that independent news publisher rick outzen, and rep mark foley are close friends and spend ALOT of time together?

2 Bryan { 10.01.06 at 1:46 pm }

That would be highly unlikely as West Palm Beach is about 600 miles from Pensacola and the only reason Foley comes up here is to campaign with other Republicans. Foley might have been introduced to Rick by Joe Scarborough or Jeff Miller, as they both served with Foley as part of the Florida Congressional delegation.

Joe would be the more likely to know both Foley and Outzen well enough to introduce them to each other, as in addition to being an attorney, Joe has been involved in local media enterprises.

The Pensacola Beach Blog might know, or you could ask Rick, he has a blog with comments, and a post on this story.

In case you’ve missed the point, Foley is a fan of young boys and spends a A LOT of time on the Internet chatting up teenagers, not going out to listen to local bands with a Baby Boomer. That’s why he had to resign.

3 Steve Bates { 10.01.06 at 10:51 pm }

I have seen at least one reference to Clinton (I am sure there are many more on the threads) by a frequently more reasonable conservative on Mustang Bobby’s site, and I have only one response: crap. Clinton had sex with an adult. Period. However sleazy one may think his behavior, he was not chatting up kids to whom he had a responsibility as a holder of high office.

I am concerned with Foley’s hitting on a kid, but I am at least as concerned with Boehner’s (and apparently Hastert’s) covering the matter up. What kind of Majority Leader… what kind of Speaker, if that turns out to be true… covers up for a sexual predator?

When you get right down to it, the question is simple: can one trust the current Republican congressional leadership to protect youthful pages from Republican sexual predators in Congress? Yes or no? The late former Speaker Tip O’Neill took it plenty seriously in 1982. Are Hastert and Boehner equally honorable, or not?

4 Bryan { 10.01.06 at 11:28 pm }

Steve, it’s looking more and more like they have been ignoring this issue since 2001, and people in the Clerk’s office knew about it. There is no way the leadership didn’t know, and they should have convinced Foley to leave years ago.

This looks like a real criminal case is going to develop, and about time.