Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Tale Of Two Foleys

Twelve years ago, the House Democratic majority under the leadership of Speaker Tom Foley (D-WA) saw their fortunes collapse under the weight of an unpopular president, growing congressional scandals and perceived arrogance from being in power too long. Speaker Foley legally fought term limits in his own state successfully only to lose his re-election bid to a newcomer who supported term limits for members of Congress. The House banking scandal disclosed a wild check kiting scheme by many members of Congress, who were primarily Democratic. The Democrats wound up losing about 40 seats in the House in that fall's election, leaving them in the minority for the first time in nearly a half-century.

Fast forward to today where President Bush's approval numbers remain very low. Throw in a few congressional scandals, notably those surrounding GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and, now, the scandal involving Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL). Although Rep. Foley abruptly resigned following ABC News' disclosure that he carried on sexually-explicit Internet communications with underage male pages working for the House, the scandal is now threatening the top House Republican leadership because of their failure to act on the Foley matter after they first learned of it months ago. Even worse, some are suggesting that House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other top GOP leaders engaged in a criminal conspiracy to squelch a criminal matter.

The Foley scandal will no doubt be viewed as the straw that broke the Republicans' 10-year hold on the House. The GOP's chances of holding the House were already in question before this latest scandal, but this is more than a ruling party can withstand. Rep. Tom Reynolds looks pretty shaky at this point. He's the man leading the GOP's campaign efforts this year. He also accepted about $100,000 in campaign contributions from Foley after he talked to Foley about his inappropriate conduct with House pages. Some folks thinks his role in this whole affair may make him vulnerable in his own re-election bid.

It is simply unacceptable for House GOP leaders to have tried to sweep the Foley scandal under the carpet. That comes from being arrogant in the exercise of your power. This was a very serious matter, involving the integrity of the chamber's page program. As one House member describes the program:

A place in the Congressional Page program is one of the most sought after positions in Washington, DC for young people. Your interest in the Congressional Page Program is a positive indication that you are a concerned American citizen with a curiosity to learn and contribute significantly to the role of the Legislative Branch of our government. Perhaps your experience as a Page will provide the foundation for a future in services to the United States as it has with Pages of past generations. Several Members of Congress began as a Congressional Page.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert and his leadership failed in their duty to ensure the integrity of this program for its young and vulnerable participants. He will most certainly pay for it with his Speakership in this fall's election, if not worse.


Wilson46201 said...

Hastert's opponent is John Laesch who is a vet, has decent politics and cute too! I have been contributing an occasional dollar or two at if only to distract Speaker Hastert.

Anonymous said...

The Foley/page scandal is reprehensible enough.

But the punlished/broadcast reports, that the situation was known to certain House leaders last December, does indeed constitute criminal conspiracy.

Foley's West Palm Beach district is about 56% Republican, and mostly retirees with lots of money. Florida law does not permit a candidate to be replaced on the ballot after their primary, which I think was earlier in Sept.

So Foley's name will appear on the ballot.

Beyond the political implications here, I'd like to know who exactly was aware of these accusations. And when they were aware. And, if anyone at the RNC, RCCC or Rove Central knew of these accusations.
Rove controls all things political for the GOP is likely he knew something.

Anyone who knew, and did not forward that information to prosecutors, should be charged with conspiracy.

Isn't it odd, that these cycles have to repeat themselves every couple of decades?

The first reaction Hastert, Rove et al should've had, when hearing this information, was to bring in legal authorities.

Instead, it appears their first reaction was protecting their own hide.

So very, very sad. And we can only hope the confused youngster who was seduced is getting proper professional attention.

Foley's selfish and ridiculous actions played into the hands of everyone who thinks this is all homosexuals do.

Wilson46201 said...

fwiw, old Tom Foley was widely rumored to have been gay too...

Advance Indiana said...

I heard the Tom Foley rumor as well, including many others about current members of Congress.

Anonymous said...

You would have made a great Congressional Page for a Democrat, Wilson!

Anonymous said...


LafBlog said...

There has been no indication that any page was seduced by Foley-- although the email /IMs are disgusting and stupid. I think Foley's role as the head of the missing and exploited children's caucus makes it even more icky -- sorry no other word fits.

Soo.. maybe Americans will begin to see this current crop of Rep. Congressmen as the hypocrites they are-- like Steve "I'm too important to come to Lafayette, even though it IS the largest city in my district -- don't bother me with debates" Buyer -- who is the chair of the Veterans Committee and has slashed budgets and care for our ever-growing number of vets-- as we commit more troops to seriously misguided foreign adventures.

VOTE THEM OUT-- Chocola! Sodrel! Hostettler! Buyer!

Anonymous said...

"VOTE THEM OUT-- Chocola! Sodrel! Hostettler! Buyer!"

Carson! Visclosky!

GadFlier said...

It's about time the Republican party lost its hold on Congress. The Republican party has become what the Democratic party was in the 1970s, during the stagflation era. Profligacy, arrogance, corruption, and immorality are now the hallmarks of the Republican party. In every way that matters, the Republican Party of the United States has repudiated and betrayed the principles of government that it claimed to espouse. It is time to turn them out. Politicians have to be kept in constant fear of their legitimate masters. The only way to do that is to turn them out with some regularity.

Anonymous said...

Former Speaker Tom Foley is outed indirectly in Robert Bauman's book, The Gentleman From Maryland.

Anonymous said...

A post to Andrew Sullivan's blog today:

I'm not usually one to put up a thread-hog of a long post, but this is on topic and it's just so handy to have the whole thing there in one spot. Your Family Va-yuze party at work. List and links to sources at armchairsubversive:

Republican Congressman Mark Foley abruptly resigned from Congress after "sexually explicit" emails surfaced showing him flirting with a 16-year old boy.

Republican executive Randall Casseday of the conservative Washington Times newspaper was arrested for soliciting sex from a 13-year old girl on the internet.

Republican chairman of the Oregon Christian Coalition Lou Beres confessed to molesting a 13-year old girl.

Republican County Constable Larry Dale Floyd was arrested on suspicion of soliciting sex with an 8-year old girl. Floyd has repeatedly won elections for Denton County, Texas, constable.

Republican judge Mark Pazuhanich pleaded no contest to fondling a 10-year old girl and was sentenced to 10 years probation.

Republican Party leader Bobby Stumbo was arrested for having sex with a 5-year old boy.

Republican petition drive manager Tom Randall pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 14, one of them the daughter of an associate in the petition business.

Republican County Chairman Armando Tebano was arrested for sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl.

Republican teacher and former city councilman John Collins pleaded guilty to sexually molesting 13 and 14 year old girls.

Republican campaign worker Mark Seidensticker is a convicted child molester.

Republican Mayor Philip Giordano is serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls.

Republican Mayor Tom Adams was arrested for distributing child pornography over the internet.

Republican Mayor John Gosek was arrested on charges of soliciting sex from two 15-year old girls.

Republican County Commissioner David Swartz pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 11 and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Republican legislator Edison Misla Aldarondo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping his daughter between the ages of 9 and 17.

Republican Committeeman John R. Curtain was charged with molesting a teenage boy and unlawful sexual contact with a minor.

Republican anti-abortion activist Howard Scott Heldreth is a convicted child rapist in Florida.

Republican zoning supervisor, Boy Scout leader and Lutheran church president Dennis L. Rader pleaded guilty to performing a sexual act on an 11-year old girl he murdered.

Republican anti-abortion activist Nicholas Morency pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer and offering a bounty to anybody who murders an abortion doctor.

Republican campaign consultant Tom Shortridge was sentenced to three years probation for taking nude photographs of a 15-year old girl.

Republican racist pedophile and United States Senator Strom Thurmond had sex with a 15-year old black girl which produced a child.

Republican pastor Mike Hintz, whom George W. Bush commended during the 2004 presidential campaign, surrendered to police after admitting to a sexual affair with a female juvenile.

Republican legislator Peter Dibble pleaded no contest to having an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

Republican advertising consultant Carey Lee Cramer was sentenced to six years in prison for molesting two 8-year old girls, one of whom appeared in an anti-Gore television commercial.

Republican activist Lawrence E. King, Jr. organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.

Republican lobbyist Craig J. Spence organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.

Republican Congressman Donald "Buz" Lukens was found guilty of having sex with a female minor and sentenced to one month in jail.

Republican fundraiser Richard A. Delgaudio was found guilty of child porn charges and paying two teenage girls to pose for sexual photos.

Republican activist Mark A. Grethen convicted on six counts of sex crimes involving children.

Republican activist Randal David Ankeney pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child.

Republican Congressman Dan Crane had sex with a female minor working as a congressional page.

Republican activist and Christian Coalition leader Beverly Russell admitted to an incestuous relationship with his step daughter.

Republican Judge Ronald C. Kline was placed under house arrest for child molestation and possession of child pornography.

Republican congressman and anti-gay activist Robert Bauman was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old boy he picked up at a gay bar.

Republican Committee Chairman Jeffrey Patti was arrested for distributing a video clip of a 5-year-old girl being raped.

Republican activist Marty Glickman (a.k.a. "Republican Marty"), was taken into custody by Florida police on four counts of unlawful sexual activity with an underage girl and one count of delivering the drug LSD.

Republican legislative aide Howard L. Brooks was charged with molesting a 12-year old boy and possession of child pornography.

Republican Senate candidate John Hathaway was accused of having sex with his 12-year old baby sitter and withdrew his candidacy after the allegations were reported in the media.

Republican preacher Stephen White, who demanded a return to traditional values, was sentenced to jail after offering $20 to a 14-year-old boy for permission to perform oral sex on him.

Republican talk show host Jon Matthews pleaded guilty to exposing his genitals to an 11 year old girl.

Republican anti-gay activist Earl "Butch" Kimmerling was sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting an 8-year old girl after he attempted to stop a gay couple from adopting her.

Republican Party leader Paul Ingram pleaded guilty to six counts of raping his daughters and served 14 years in federal prison.

Republican election board official Kevin Coan was sentenced to two years probation for soliciting sex over the internet from a 14-year old girl.

Republican politician Andrew Buhr was charged with two counts of first degree sodomy with a 13-year old boy.

Republican legislator Keith Westmoreland was arrested on seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition to girls under the age of 16 (i.e. exposing himself to children).

Republican anti-abortion activist John Allen Burt was found guilty of molesting a 15-year old girl.

Republican County Councilman Keola Childs pleaded guilty to molesting a male child.

Republican activist John Butler was charged with criminal sexual assault on a teenage girl.

Republican candidate Richard Gardner admitted to molesting his two daughters.

Republican Councilman and former Marine Jack W. Gardner was convicted of molesting a 13-year old girl.

Republican County Commissioner Merrill Robert Barter pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact and assault on a teenage boy.

Republican City Councilman Fred C. Smeltzer, Jr. pleaded no contest to raping a 15 year-old girl and served 6-months in prison.

Republican activist Parker J. Bena pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $18,000.

Republican parole board officer and former Colorado state representative, Larry Jack Schwarz, was fired after child pornography was found in his possession.

Republican strategist and Citadel Military College graduate Robin Vanderwall was convicted in Virginia on five counts of soliciting sex from boys and girls over the internet.

Republican city councilman Mark Harris, who is described as a "good military man" and "church goer," was convicted of repeatedly having sex with an 11-year-old girl and sentenced to
12 years in prison.

Republican businessman Jon Grunseth withdrew his candidacy for Minnesota governor after allegations surfaced that he went swimming in the nude with four underage girls, including his daughter.

Republican campaign worker, police officer and self-proclaimed reverend Steve Aiken was convicted of having sex with two underage girls.

Republican director of the "Young Republican Federation" Nicholas Elizondo molested his 6-year old daughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.
Republican president of the New York City Housing Development Corp. Russell Harding pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer.

Republican benefactor of conservative Christian groups, Richard A. Dasen Sr., was found guilty of raping a 15-year old girl. Dasen, 62, who is married with grown children and several grandchildren, has allegedly told police that over the past decade he paid more than $1 million to have sex with a large number of young women.

Republican Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the rape of children in Iraqi prisons in order to humiliate their parents into providing information about the anti-American insurgency.

Doug said...

Looks like the knives might be out for Speaker Hastert. The Washington Times called for his resignation and majority leader Boehner seems to have flip-flopped back to his original position that he'd told Hastert and "thought the matter was taken care of."