Thursday, October 26, 2006

HRC Employee Fired For Role In Exposing Foley

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has fired a member of its staff after it learned that he was responsible for creating a bogus website,, at which e-mails between former Rep. Mark Foley (R) and a former House page were first posted. The bogus website prompted ABC News to conduct its own investigation of Foley. According to a NY Times report, the fired staffer used HRC resources to expose Foley. Ironically, Foley had one of the highest ratings of any Republican member of Congress according to its latest scorecard, scoring a 75% rating. The NY Times reports:

A liberal gay rights group said Wednesday that one of its employees, acting anonymously, had created the Web site that first published copies of unusually solicitous e-mail messages to teenagers from former Representative Mark Foley, which led to his resignation.

A spokesman for the group, the Human Rights Campaign, said it first learned of its employee’s role this week and immediately fired him for misusing the group’s resources. The scandal surrounding Mr. Foley, a Florida Republican, has been a burdensome distraction for members of his party in the month before the midterm elections, and some Republicans have speculated that the e-mail messages were planted by a Democrat.

The rights campaign’s spokesman, David Smith, said the employee, whose name he declined to disclose, was a junior staff member hired last month to help mobilize the organization’s members in Michigan. “The minute we learned about it we took decisive action,” Mr. Smith said.

HRC has long been criticized for being too partisan on behalf of Democratic candidates. When HRC's Joe Solmonese visited Indianapolis last year, he told AI that HRC was making a concerted outreach to Republicans. When ABC News first reported on Foley, Solmonese issued this statement:

Gay or straight, Democrat or Republican, it is completely inexcusable for an adult to have this kind of communication with a minor. Congressman Foley brought shame on himself and this Congress by his horrible behavior and complete lack of judgment. We strongly condemn his behavior.

This revelation is likely to severely damage HRC's credibility with Republican members of Congress. It also bolsters Republicans' argument that the Foley issue had more to do with partisan politics than it did about exposing Foley for his improper conduct with House pages. Incidentally, Solmonese cut his teeth in politics when he worked as a paid DNCC staffer for Rep. Julia Carson's first congressional campaign in 1996. Do you think he learned anything about dirty tricks then?


Anonymous said...

Joe Solmonese has a great deal of credibility.

Did you expect HRC to do anything else?

If this guy had worked entirely from home, that's one thing. But he used the HRC's computers, at least partially, and that's not allowed.

You really think this will hurt HRC among Republicans? Fewer and fewer Republican doors were open to HRC anyway. I'm not sure it makes a difference.

They acted responsibly and fired a guy for misbehaving. The guy's acts casued a great deal of harm to a lot of people, but let's not forget who's responsible for this: Rep. Foley.

And, for what it's worth, you overrate Joe's work in Julia's 1996 campaign. She fought the favored child of the Bayh administration, Ann Delaney, for the Democratic nomination. It was one hell of a campaign.

Too bad Julia has lost a lot of the vigor that made her 96 primary a memorable one.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, Solmonese cut his teeth in politics when he worked as a paid DNCC staffer for Rep. Julia Carson's first congressional campaign in 1996. Do you think he learned anything about dirty tricks then?

Oh absolutely. Yes I think what Mr. Foley did was disgusting. Gay or straight, paedophilia is just plain wrong, ain't that right Mel Reynolds?
It still was awful convenient this story came out as a quasi-October Suprise. Thing is from where I sit October Suprises are losing their luster. People are seeing them for what they are, political stunts.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk Nov. 8, Hail.

It's all in the Theatre of Your Mind.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Foley is a creep. But what he did was sexual harrassment not pedophilia. His victims were aged 16-21. They were young men not little boys.

Anonymous said...


1) Foley did some stupid things-- spread a lot of money to his political pals-- they looked the other way-- until they were caught and NOW they are indignant with whom? The liberals.. the media.. the bloggers...

Wait... WHO did the first ACT??

2) HRC was right to discipline this person right away. Nope, they probably don't have the ear of the Congress on the right wing.. but then few sane groups do.. so how am I surprised? But let's compare their actions.

Did they lie about it or cover it up-- for YEARS?

Did they blame the conservative right wing for planting the worker-- who then blew up the controversy-- thereby bringing shame on their group?

No.. they acted responsibly and canned his ass-- even though they probably wanted to give him a medal.

3) In the end-- this scandal is simply emblematic of a Republican Party that has become the entrenched power they sought to end in 1994. Power corrupts.. and total control of all three branches of government is the worst possible corruption. Let's pray for Justice Potter Stewart to live to be 100!

Anonymous said...

Lafblog I was doing fine until you mentioned the Supremes...ugh....I fear for our nation. Altho, I think the chief is not nearly as rigid as his nominator hoped. We'll soon see.

I just realized that I was at a (large) party Foley attended in Miami last winter. A friend just told me...I had no idea who Foley was, and he didn't make mention of it at the time. (By the way, fwiw, Foley is short, and the pix we have seen do him a GREAT deal of justice)

He showed up with two very, very attractive and young (teens) boys. The three of them were all over one another.

A friend later remarked that the young men were typically rentals, and were seen in Miami hotspots with whatever gentlema(e)n paid the toll.

It appears Mr. Foley was aching to get exposed, no pun intended. He was reckless and stupid.

HRC may be more involved than they've admitted, and if so, they should be held acocuntable.

But Lafblog is right--HRC acted quickly upon learning the accusation. They investigated, and they fired the dumbass. Who, it seems, was a glorified temp anyway.

I will be very disappointed in the Joe Solmonese I know, if HRC were involved in any bad way.

He's very, very aware of HRC's reputation and would never do anything to knowingly discredit it.

I'm kmind of surprised this is even a story.

Wilson46201 said...

...and of course AI is so desperate to prop up his beloved Republican Party as it sinks further into the cesspools of homophobia that he tries to tie the very man who fired the leaker to the leading gay-friendly politician in Indiana - Julia Carson! How many openly gay staffers has any GOP Congressional candidate in Indiana ever had? I believe Scott Keller is the only Republican elected official to ever speak to Gay Pride - Ms. Carson has done it for years. E.D. says he is gay-friendly but he was too afraid of GOP backlash to show his face or RV7 at Pride.

AI is so consumed with constantly attacking Congresswoman Julia Carson that it ends up on the side of the homophobes that are crowding him out of their Republican Party.

Anonymous said...

Is there only ONE Gay Pride event in Indianapolis that politians are allowed to go to and be seen at ?

Wilson46201 said...

After getting quite a bit of flack for hiding from the big downtown Gay Pride, E.D. for the first time in his life anywhere attended the Black Gay Pride event. Good for him! Until he started running for Congress, he was never anywhere to be seen supporting our LGBT community. Our Congresslady Julia Carson has been proudly and staunchly with LGBT folk at many events for years!

Some people are just so grateful to finally find a Republican candidate for Congress who wont spit on them and call them "sodomite" that they just fall all over themselves!

Anonymous said...

Until he started running for Congress, he was never anywhere to be seen supporting our LGBT community. Our Congresslady Julia Carson has been proudly and staunchly with LGBT folk at many events for years!

Wilson you're confusing "supporting" and "pandering". Eric had no personal reason to go to such event - he had things like his service to the Marine Corps, then a job with GM and later the businesses to keep running. Julia's been nothing but a politician or working in politics since 1972, as a staffer for Andy Jacobs, and 1975 as a State Representative. She's always been running for some political office at some time. She's pandered to the LGBT vote all that time.

Wilson46201 said...

"hailstone" - pandering implies an insincerity. LGBT people know Julia Carson has consistently voted and advocated for us while ED was off selling used cars. I can't really take anything you say about gay issues seriously - anybody that openly calls somebody "a dumb bitch" has no standing except in the cesspools of history.

Your beloved GOP just spit in the faces of LGBT Hoosiers today in the Statehouse. Republicans dont even try to pander to us - only to pander to the rightwing pseudo-religious nutcases like you!

Anonymous said...

Uh yeah, ya think?? What would you do if this happened right before elections? Keep him on board? No.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats sanctioned adultery in the oval office with President Bill Clinton, and now they have become self-righteous about sexual acts in Washington. Each of these acts are shameful, and it shows the true character of some of the people we elect to public office. Both political parties seem to ignore the actions of their top office holders to remain in control of our government. The pot calling the kettle black.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to support the HRC because they have the audacity to support a FEW Republicans.

Supporting ANY Republican is also supporting an organization that is morally corrupt and full of hate in regard to LGBT Americans and many others.

We moved passed the concept that there are "good or bad" Republicans a long, long time ago. You can use that for Democrats, but not for Republicans. The Republican Party's leaders, philosophies, and actions are 100% opposed to anything that might lend any respect to LGBT people as human beings, plain and simple.

The HRC has no credibility within the ranks of the hate-mongers of the Republican Party, so why did they do this? The idea that they fired this staffer for exposing a pedophile because they might cause animosity with a Party who wouldn't respect if they walked in the door is ridiculous! It validates my lack of respect for HRC and its reliance on image over substance.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully, Troy, you're in a distinct minority.

Kinda Bush-like actually. Don't talk with people with whom you disagree?

I'm not a staffer for HRC, but I contribute. And they have to try to keep doors open with both sides of the aisle. Admitedly, it's much more difficult on the Republican side. But they must try.

Bush won't talk to N. Korea or Iran. He demagogues issues to death. Refuses to even talk with people with whom he disagrees.

Now, Troy, don't you feel just a little silly?

Or is the air too thin up there where you're breathing, to associate with opponents?

My sincere hope is that Nov.7, whoever wins, the far-right that has captured the GOP will lose some of its power. We'll all be better off, regardless who the Speaker is.

Their gig is up. Intolerance is on its way out. I hope.