News of the Foley scandal gets curiouser and curiouser. Newsweek’s cover story this week natch is about this subject. But it adds a new wrinkle that I’d not previously heard:
On one night in 2002 or 2003, an allegedly inebriated Foley showed up at the pages’ dorm after a 10 p.m. curfew and tried to gain entry, according to an account provided by two congressional sources, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter. Foley was turned away by a guard. It is not known if the pages were ever aware that Foley lurked outside their door, but word of the incident reached the House Clerk, who notified Foley’s chief of staff, Kirk Fordham…
Evan Thomas makes the correct connection between Foley’s early misstep and lack of Republican action:
But the questions about what the GOP leadership knew about Foley—and what Hastert & Co. did or did not do—would not go away.
Behind the scenes, attention increasingly focused on Foley’s after-hours visit to the pages’ dorm several years ago. If Foley were really behaving that outrageously so long ago, why hadn’t more been done to stop him?
So House clerk Jeff Trandahl and Fordham knew about the matter going back to 2002 or 2003. This would bolster Fordham’s contention that he had conversations with Scott Palmer going back that far–allegations Palmer has denied–which would in turn impeach Denny Hastert’s credibility and leadership:
This was not the first time that Fordham had learned of his boss’s behaving, in that modern all-purpose euphemism, “inappropriately.” Fordham decided that it was time to go to a higher authority, so he went to see Scott Palmer, chief of staff to the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. That, at least, is what Fordham is prepared to tell investigators, according to a knowledgeable source who requested anonymity in discussing the probe. Palmer has already accused Fordham of dissembling, and Washington is settling in for one of its periodic melodramas of moralizing and prurience.
I’ve read though (I think in the NY Times) that there is at least one other Congressional staffer who is prepared to confirm Fordham’s story. If so, Palmer’s in a pickle so to speak.
This new wrinkle is apparently, and rightfully, causing apoplexy in Republican Congressional ranks:
Foley’s alleged late-night visit to the pages’ dorm came up during a fraught conference call for all House Republican congressmen last week, and various Republican leaders were demanding a full investigation. One GOP member, Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida, said in a statement provided to NEWSWEEK that she had “learned” of the incident at the pages’ dorm after she initiated her own investigation. One of her staff aides said that Brown-Waite had talked to a House official with direct knowledge of what had happened.
Ken Mehlman may lie and say he’s not concerned about the effect this is having on Republican voters but Newsweek reveals some interesting polling numbers:
According to the new NEWSWEEK Poll, fully 53 percent of Americans want the Democrats to win control of Capitol Hill next month; just 35 percent want the GOP to retain power. For the first time since 2001, the poll shows, more Americans trust the Democrats than the GOP on moral values.
More Americans trust Dems than Repubs on moral issues? Did I read that right? Isn’t that the Repubs singular issue, the one they own and have owned since the days of Moses (or is it Lincoln)? Reminds me of that great Leon Rosselson song, World Turned Upside Down about the radical English 17th century group, the Ranters. GIven our many previous electoral disappointments going back to 2000, one doesn’t want to get too charged about our prospects. But they’re certainly not bad. Any gain over 20 seats would be music to my ears. Taking the Senate would be even sweeter though more unlikely.