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Illinois media getting beat, spun on congressional sex predator story *** Updated x6 ***

Sunday, Oct 1, 2006

If you’ve been following the Congressman Mark Foley resignation scandal, you’ve notice that there is a definite Illinois angle. The Florida Republican abruptly resigned after e-mails and other Internet communications emerged that more than just sugggested he was a child sex predator.

If you’ve confined yourself to Illinois media outlets, you probably believe that all is well and that everybody mostly did their jobs (if you’ve seen coverage at all). You’d be wrong.

The Tribune and the State Journal-Register both reported Sunday that US House Speaker Denny Hastert and his office were unaware that one of his Republican members was an accused pedophile until last week.

* Tribune:

Aides to the speaker say he was not aware until last week of inappropriate behavior by Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), who resigned on Friday after portions of racy electronic messages between him and current and former underage congressional pages became public. But the aides conceded they could not be conclusive on the timing.

* SJ-R:

Hastert’s office said no one in his office was made aware of the sexually explicit messages until press and Internet reports surfaced last week.

That reporting appears to be inaccurate.

* Roll Call:

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) issued a statement Saturday in which he said that he had informed Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) of allegations of improper contacts between then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and at least one former male page, contradicting earlier statements from Hastert.

GOP sources said Reynolds told Hastert earlier in 2006, shortly after the February GOP leadership elections. Hastert’s response to Reynolds’ warning remains unclear.

* Speaker Hastert then issued a press release and this non-denial denial was near the end:

Congressman Tom Reynolds in a statement issued today indicates that many months later, in the spring of 2006, he was approached by Congressman Alexander who mentioned the Foley issue from the previous fall. During a meeting with the Speaker he says he noted the issue which had been raised by Alexander and told the Speaker that an investigation was conducted by the Clerk of the House and Shimkus. While the Speaker does not explicitly recall this conversation, he has no reason to dispute Congressman Reynold’s recollection that he reported to him on the problem and its resolution.

* And RollCall claims Hastert’s office was informed right away.

At least four Republican House Members, one senior GOP aide and a former top officer of the House were aware of the allegations about Foley that prompted the initial reporting regarding his e-mail contacts with a 16-year-old House page. They include: Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) and Reps. Rodney Alexander (R-La.) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.), as well as a senior aide to Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and former Clerk of the House Jeff Trandahl. […]

According to a senior House GOP leadership aide, Hastert’s office was informed of the interview shortly after it occurred, but Hastert himself was not told.

* This morning, the AP reported that Hastert was finally admitting that his office knew about Foley’s dark secret, but claimed he didn’t know the extent of the problem.

The office of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who earlier said he’d learned about the e-mails only last week, acknowledged that aides referred the matter to the authorities last fall. They said they were only told the messages were “over-friendly.”

And what about Congressman John Shimkus, the chairman of the US House page program? The Hastert press release, which is billed as a timeline of events, claims this:

The Clerk asked to see the text of the email. Congressman Alexander’s office declined citing the fact that the family wished to maintain as much privacy as possible and simply wanted the contact to stop. The Clerk asked if the email exchange was of a sexual nature and was assured it was not. Congressman Alexander’s Chief of Staff characterized the email exchange as over-friendly.

The Clerk then contacted Congressman Shimkus, the Chairman of the Page Board to request an immediate meeting. It appears he also notified Van Der Meid that he had received the complaint and was taking action. This is entirely consistent with what he would normally expect to occur as he was the Speaker’s Office liaison with the Clerk’s Office.

The Clerk and Congressman Shimkus met and then immediately met with Foley to discuss the matter. They asked Foley about the email. Congressman Shimkus and the Clerk made it clear that to avoid even the appearance of impropriety and at the request of the parents, Congressman Foley was to immediately cease any communication with the young man.

The Clerk recalls that later that day he encountered Van Der Meid on the House floor and reported to him that he and Shimkus personally had spoken to Foley and had taken corrective action.

So, a little talking to and a gentleman’s warning is considered “corrective action” in Washington, DC? This is the best evidence yet of how screwed up the capital has become.

But, wait, there’s more.

* This is a representative example of what GOP Congressman Shimkus’ spokesman has been telling the press.

Shimkus “did not see personally any e-mail a year ago when he dealt with the issue,” Tomaszewski said. “He was only told of the one e-mail that came out first, which references, ‘How are you doing after the hurricane?’ and, ‘Send me a picture.’”

When Shimkus learned of other e-mails and text messages that Foley allegedly sent the underage pages, Shimkus “did confront Mr. Foley, who obviously lied to him,” Tomaszewski said.

[Emphasis added]

* Shimkus’ own press release [scroll down] never really says one way or another whether he had read the e-mails, and today’s SJ-R story accepts his explanation without question.

* But the Post-Dispatch talked to Shimkus himself, and the congressman had a different story to tell.

Shimkus, who serves as board chairman for the House page program, read the emails, in which Foley asked about the boy’s well-being in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, what he wanted for his birthday, and for a photograph. (The boy was from Louisiana and had returned to his home state.)

Although there was nothing sexually suggestive in the emails, Shimkus and Trandal agreed: “That was enough for us to approach Mark,” Shimkus recalled an interview Saturday.

Soon after, they met with Foley and his chief of staff in the Florida congressman’s office. “We basically said, ‘We got these emails. And we don’t think this is appropriate. … You have to stop (contacting this boy)’,” Shimkus said.

[Emphasis added]

My own thought is that the story was probably downplayed when it was initially mentioned to Speaker Hastert. He does bear ultimate responsibility as Speaker for this mess, however.

The behavior of Congressman Shimkus, the chairman of the House page program, is far more inexcusable. Parents send their kids off to DC for the page program believing that our nation’s leaders will make sure of their safety. Shimkus completely failed those parents and totally failed his official responsibilities The fact that he never even told the minority party leadership of the page program about the incident suggests he was either clueless about his responsibilities to those kids or there was a partisan cover-up, or both.

An example of the consequences of Shimkus’ inaction and silence was that the Metro East Republican allowed the alleged boy-lover Foley to continue chairing the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. At the very least, Shimkus should immediately resign his page program chairmanship.

Clearly, more answers are needed. And, clearly, the newspapers in this state and particularly in Shimkus’ own district need to get off their kiesters and work this story a whole lot harder.

[Hat tips all over the place, and yes I’m aware there’s more to this story, including the fact that the US House Majority Leader changed his story. After initially claiming to the Washington Post that he told Speaker Hastert of the allegations, he later said he did no such thing. You can find a timeline here.]

[Also, you can comment now, but, as always, comments won’t appear until Monday so I don’t have to spend my weekends monitoring the blog.]

*** UPDATE *** Roll Call:

As of Saturday evening, nearly a dozen House GOP lawmakers and staffers have acknowledged that they knew of the initial batch of non-sexually explicit messages from Foley to a 16-year-old former House page, some of them for a year or more. These include Hastert; Majority Leader John Boehner (Ohio); National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.); Reps. Rodney Alexander (La.) and John Shimkus (Ill.); Mike Stokke, the Speaker’s deputy chief of staff; Ted Van Der Meid, Hastert’s counsel; Paula Nowakowski, Boehner’s chief of staff; Jeff Trandahl, the former Clerk of the House; and another Hastert aide and Alexander’s chief of staff, according to public statements and GOP insiders.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Hotline Blog:

What isn’t clear is why no one other the clerk of the House and GOP Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), the member in charge of the Page program, directly spoke with Foley.

More importantly, and this question may decide whether Republicans retain control of the House, how thorough was the investigation conducted by the clerk and Shimkus? What exactly did that “investigation” discover and/or conclude? It only took ABC News about a day to go from knowing nothing to knowing, well, too much about the contact Foley had with underage pages.

I’d like to know the answer to those two questions as well.

*** UPDATE 3 *** The president of the Page Alumni Association says pages were warned about Foley way back in 2001.

A Republican staff member warned Congressional pages five years ago to watch out for Congressman Mark Foley, according to a former page. […]

Matthew Loraditch, a page in the 2001-2002 class, told ABC News he and other pages were warned about Foley by a supervisor.

Loraditch, the president of the Page Alumni Association, said the pages were told “don’t get too wrapped up in him being too nice to you and all that kind of stuff.”

If the pages knew, why didn’t Congressman Shimkus know? Or did he hear the rumors as well?

*** UPDATE 4 *** The Palm Beach Post, in the disgraced ex-congressman Foley’s former district, reports that Foley’s affinity for the youngsters was “widely known.”

Congressional staff members who asked not to be identified said it was widely known among Hill staffers and some House leaders that Foley had been engaging in inappropriate conduct and language with young aides

*** UPDATE 5 *** I’ve created an automated IceRocket news feed so you can follow the developments:

*** UPDATE 6 *** From the official farewell to the departing page class of 2001-2002:

Mr. SHIMKUS. I thank my colleague. Now someone who spends a lot of time with you also, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Foley), would like to say a thank you.

Mr. FOLEY. I warn all of you not to cry in front of me, please, so I can get through this very important day with you without shedding tears as well. […]

…and finally John Eunice. John was the highest bidder on lunch with Mark Foley. Maybe you all do not know this story, but John had paid considerable sums to dine with me. I had offered to take the winning bidder to lunch in the Members’ dining room. Then I heard how much John Eunice paid. And I said, “John, there is no way in the world after you committed so much money to have lunch with me that I would dare take you downstairs to eat in the Members’ dining room.'’ I said, “Where do you want to go?'’ He says, without reservation, “Morton’s.'’ I said, “Morton’s? Like in Morton’s Steakhouse?'’ He said, “Oh, would that be too much?'’ I said, “Oh, no, we’ll go.'’ I said, “Call your mother, get permission, make sure she notifies the Clerk and we will go to Morton’s.'’ And so we proceeded to cruise down in my BMW to Morton’s. And all of this story is meant to make you all feel jealous that you were not the high bidders. So we went to Morton’s, and I do not know where you all went.

It’s enough to turn your stomach. And since it was broadcast on C-SPAN, it’s all on tape. Luckily for Shimkus, his opponent doesn’t have the money to put this video into a TV ad.

[Comments now closed. Head to Monday’s post to comment, please.]

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - NAMBLA - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 12:50 pm:

    The guy that was the head of the committe in charge of protecting children was a child predator and the Republican leadership has known this for a year and the only thing they did about it was to cover this up.

  2. - notsofast - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 12:53 pm:

    I’m relieved to know I’m not alone in feeling the local coverage of this story has been, to put it mildly, inadequate. The Tribune’s article today is confusingly written and is far surpassed by the NY Times and Washington Post stories. I can’t even find an article in today’s Sun-Times (but that may just be their new website still confounding me).

    This scandal is a microcosm of the GOP Congress: abuse of power, taking advantage of the vulnerable, cover-ups, failure to ask questions or hold anyone accountable, sanctimony, and hypocrisy.

  3. - Veritas - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 2:09 pm:

    I’m surprised by the Shimkus angle. I’d always thought he was a decent man. Apparently, I was wrong.

  4. - One Man Can Make A Difference - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 2:34 pm:

    This story tells more that it actually reads. Read it like this-The members of Congress of informed by whistleblowers of inappropriate misconduct regarding a Congressman and young boys.

    The membership of the House was aware and did not take the appropriate actions, yet the inappropriate misconduct continued. Now every points the blame, was at first not aware, but then aware.

    As these are the same government officials that should decide the fate of someones life; “the death penalty”.

    Congressman Foley, as the Chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children was silmultaneously exploiting children himself.

  5. - Anon - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 3:48 pm:

    First off let me say that those involved in the activity and the cover up should be subject to greater punishment than simply political fall out.
    But I think it’s very telling that many of these people involved in the cover up feel that preventing gay marriage is important but apparently preventing sexual abuse of a minor is not.

  6. - Boone Logan Square - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 3:50 pm:

    Do not be surprised if Shimkus loses his seat in November. It’s less than a 50-50 proposition, but not out of the realm of possibility.

  7. - Philosophe Forum - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 3:53 pm:

    The conservative print media have such a love fest going with John Shimkus that they’ll gloss over the story. The STL P-D was so soft on him that it’s sicky sweet. Madison County Democrats don’t even include him in the campaign literature. What else is new? They couldn’t support Shimkus more if they actively campaigned for him!

    Dan has scheduled a press conference , Monday, 10/02/2006, in springfield. He will use the opportunity to call for Shimkus to resign from his position a chair of the House Page Board. He will have a follow up in Madison Co. (not that the MadCoDems will even pay attention)!

  8. - yet another anon - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 5:06 pm:

    This whole episode is sad, and I’m not merely talking about the horrible things that Foley has done. For him I have outrage, he’s sick. For Shimkus, Hastert, Boehner and anyone else who knew, I have outrage on an unmatched scale coupled with utter contempt for them as individuals and elected officials.

    I’m also more than a bit concerned about any Democrat who fails to react to this with any sort of outrage themselves. It’s been sickening for me to see some Democrats talk about being “disappointed” or saying that it is a “challenging” time.

    If you can’t show, or don’t feel outrage as a result of these actions and the ensuing cover-up, then I consider you to be an uncaring, utterly useless person. If you can’t look in the mirror and say that covering up the activities of a hebophile and letting them continue, while he Chairs the Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus, then you are truly not human.

    There will be claims that those who covered up this vile filth were trying to protect Foley. There will be claims they were trying to protect themselves. Don’t let any of this fool you.

    The powers that be in Washington covered this up for one reason and for one reason only — to protect their own power. At a time when the Delay scandal was rocking Washington, perhaps only something this scandalous could have wiped it off the front page.

    These people — and when I say this, I am referring to Shimkus, Hastert, et al — are sick, plain and simple. Their sickness is the power that they have usurped from average American citizens. They will claw with the last shreds of their fingernails, grasping to maintain what they thought was their righteous birthright (another problem I won’t delve into here). This is why those who control our Federal government are truly scary people. This was swept under the rug for political purposes. All you need to consider is — what if it had been your child? The short answer is, you would have expected more.

    Occupying the brand spankin’ new, just opened for business 10th level of Hell, in my own humble opinion, will be John Shimkus. This is the man who could have blown the lid. Yet as he freely admits, his “investigation” involved asking Foley about it, then telling him to cease conduct. If any of our law enforcement officers conducted “investigations” like this, no one would ever be caught or the officers would be fired.

    Why did he only talk to Foley? Why didn’t he talk to the page? Why didn’t he talk to the other page mentioned in the email?

    This is not Republican or Democrat, this is protecting creeps vs. prosecuting them. This is morality vs. immorality. This is doing what’s right vs. doing what is politically expedient to hold on to the last granules of power. It’s sick and it must be stopped.

    I’m not going to advocate any solutions, but if the man has any honor and dignity left, he’ll know what to do. Given his actions in this case, I suspect he doesn’t. He should be ashamed of himself and anybody who continues to support him and his bogus backpedaling of “I never saw the instant messages” should be ashamed of themselves too. It was his duty, his responsibility and his MORAL OBLIGATION to investigate, and he swept it under the rug.

    And now a (fabricated) transcript:

    Shimkus: Mark, I see you’ve sent some overly-friendly emails to this strapping young buck in Louisiana, is there anything more I should know about?

    Foley: No, sir, nothing else.

    Shimkus: Okily-dokily. Oh, and hey, don’t email the kid any more.

  9. - Fed Up - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 5:07 pm:

    I am fed up with “Coach” Hastert. (”It’s all about the kids”, right?}

    In his quest to be the longest serving Speaker while retiring rich, it is clear that Hastert will do close to anything, no matter how repugnant to the folks in Illinois. He will cover-up for pedophiles, bash immigrants, and profiteer from his position. (What George Washington Plunkitt of Tammany Hall called “clean graft”.)

    The man is out of touch with what kind of leader we expect here in common sense Illinois. Yech!

  10. - yet another anon - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 5:15 pm:

    I normally would not add to what I’ve already written, but I left out one extremely important point.

    Shimkus, who bore the responsibility to investigate this thoroughly, did not do so. If this Foley character harassed, threatened, or worse, actually abused any minor from November 2005 until now, John Shimkus is at least partially culpable in those actions by his failure to follow through. Period.

  11. - RealClear - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 5:43 pm:

    Great post Rich. Thanks for the insight and research.

    I think the reason is obvious. Other than a couple of notable exceptions, the Illinois press are a bunch of lapdogs.

    “Powerful” guys like Daley and Hastert largely get a pass. It’s easier just to keep punching on Blago over simple issues like a $1,500 birthday check.

    Meanwhile, Hastert’s making a fortune churning farmland impacted by legislation he champions, and helping another Republican cover-up a compulsion for young boys.

    I’m no Greenie, but we should probably stop killing trees for most of the recycled fluff that passes for political coverage here.

    Rich, I’m often not a fan of your coverage either. But when you’re right, you’re right. A homerun on this issue.

  12. - BonVoyageJohn - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 8:16 pm:

    His opponent won’t need to spend a dime…St. Louis TV will run it for free from now til resignation day. Maybe Ann Coulter can jet in for a fundraiser for the Shimkapalooza Defense Fund.

  13. - RonnieK - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 8:16 pm:

    Illinois could have their own scandals.

  14. - anonymous409 - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 9:15 pm:

    This story is quickly demonstrating how terrible press coverage is of most U.S. congressmen. I mean, the national press covers leadership, and the bigger dailies sort of cover their own delegation. But congressmen without a major paper in their district almost never face a serious press corps.

    From what I understand so far in this scandal, Foley’s oddities were widely known on Capitol Hill, even in certain places in Florida. But you get the impression he was more or less anonymous until Friday morning with virtually ever D.C. and Florida reporter.

    Also, b/c no one here really covers Shimkus et al, they’re way behind when something does break and are more subsceptible to the spin.

    I don’t want to be too critical, because I know you have priorities and you know, from day to day, is your rank-and-file Congressman worth a whole beat? Probably not.

    But the SJ-R is on Davlin every time he conjugates a verb badly, and even business reporters speak with Daley’s office at least once or twice a week in Chicago. And god knows that reporters are digging through every piece of paper Blago’s ever had within 1 mile of his office.

    If our U.S. Reps got a fraction of the excellent coverage local offiicals did, this stuff (and a lot of other b.s. in D.C.) would be a lot harder to get away with.

  15. - tcbagwell - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 9:42 pm:

    Rich, thanks for the suggestion. I will let the campaign know.

  16. - Cal Skinner - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 9:46 pm:

    When my family visited the House gallery this past June, it was empty except for Illinois Congressmen Shimkus and Congressman Davis and the pages. It sounded like a farewell ceremony.

    What day was the transcript above from?

  17. - Anon - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 10:19 pm:

    So, haven’t we seen this story before…only this time we cast Speaker Hastert in the Pope role and Shimkus as Cardinal Law…

  18. - Charles Martel - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 10:47 pm:

    Hastert and Shimkus should do the honorable thing and both resign

  19. - Foley a criminal; something else fishy - Sunday, Oct 1, 06 @ 11:17 pm:

    From Roll Call about Federal Investigation. Hopefully they look at all of this, Foley’s conduct and what was known or covered up by our elected officials. Roll Call tonight reports:

    Sunday, Oct. 1; 7:26 pm
    By Susan Davis,
    Roll Call Staff

    Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) today sent requests to the Justice Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to initiate immediate federal and state investigations into former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) regarding the potential criminal violations related to his communications with former House pages.
    Foley resigned Friday amid revelations that he had communicated through e-mails and online instant messages with under-age male teens, some of which were sexually explicit.

    “The FBI is conducting an assessment to determine if there has been a violation of federal law,” said Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman. “We have no further comment at this time.” Hastert’s request came just as ABC News, who initially broke the Foley story, also reported that the FBI has begun a preliminary investigation into Foley’s activities. Hastert’s request also came after Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had publicly called on Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to begin an investigation.

    While the House referred the matter to the ethics committee late Friday, the panel does not handle criminal investigations.

    Hastert again sought to separate House Republican leaders from the issue, noting that certain Members of Congress were only made aware of a 2005 e-mail exchange between Foley and a House page that was characterized as “over-friendly” and not of a sexual nature. The more explicit conversations, which occurred in 2003, were only revealed to House leaders Friday through the media, he said.

    Hastert said an investigation is warranted because it involves “interstate communications” that may have violated federal law and an investigation should determine who knew of the communications and when they knew, as well as why it was not reported to authorities earlier.

    “It is important to know who may have had the communications and why they were not given to prosecutors before now,” he wrote, “I request that the scope of your investigation include any and all individuals who may have been aware of this matter be they Members of Congress, employees of the House of Representatives, or anyone outside the Congress.”

    National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) said Saturday that he had discussed with Hastert the initial 2005 e-mail exchange that was vetted by then-Clerk of the House Jeff Trandahl and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), chairman of the House Page Board, who determined no action would be taken beyond advising Foley to end communications with the teenager at the request of the child’s parents.

    Hastert said Saturday that he does not dispute that Reynolds told him, but he does not recall the conversation.

    Democrats, who have been critical of the Republicans’ handling of the matter, were not appeased by Hastert’s letter.

    “Speaker Hastert seems more concerned by who revealed the Republican leadership’s coverup of Mr. Foley’s Internet stalking of an underage child than he was about ensuring the children entrusted to the House were protected,” said Jennifer Crider, spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “The American people will not be distracted from the issue of why Republicans failed to act when they learned children were at risk.”

    Following is the text of Hastert’s letter to Gonzalez.

    “Former Representative Mark Foley resigned from the House of Representatives on Friday, September 29, 2006, after improper and illicit communications between Mr. Foley and former House pages were made public. While the House of Representatives on that day voted to refer this matter to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for investigation, they do not have jurisdiction over federal law or over him upon his resignation from office.

    “As Speaker of the House, I hereby request that the Department of Justice conduct an investigation of Mr. Foley’s conduct with current and former House pages to determine to what extent any of his actions violated federal law.

    “As I am sure you are aware, there are two different and distinct communications at issue here. First, Mr. Foley sent an email to a former page of Representative Alexander in the fall of 2005. This email was determined to be “over friendly” by Representative Alexander’s office but was not sexual in nature. Second, based on media reports, there is a different set of communications which were sexually explicit instant messages which Mr. Foley reportedly sent another former page or pages. These communications, of which no one in the House Leadership was aware to my knowledge, reportedly were sent sometime in 2003.

    “According to an Editor’s Note that appeared on the St. Petersburg Times’ website yesterday, the Times was given a set of emails from Mr. Foley to Representative Alexander’s former page in November of 2005. (See “A Note From the Editors” located at /, visited on September 30, 2006). The editors state that they viewed this exchange as “friendly chit chat” and decided not to publish it after hearing an explanation from Representative Foley. Acting on this same communication, the Chairman of the House Page Board and the then Clerk of the House confronted Mr. Foley, demanded he cease all contact with the former page as his parents had requested, and believed they had privately resolved the situation as the parents had requested.

    “Unlike the first communication, the second communication was a set of instant messages that contained sexually explicit statements and were reportedly generated three years ago. Last week, ABC News first reported these sexually explicit instant messages which led to Representative Foley’s resignation. These sexually explicit communications warrant a criminal referral in two respects. Initially, since the communications involve interstate communications, there should be a complete investigation and prosecution of any federal laws that have been violated. In addition, since the communications appear to have existed for three years, there should be an investigation into the extent there are persons who knew or had possession of these messages but did not report them to the appropriate authorities. It is important to know who may have had the communications and why they were not given to prosecutors before now.

    “Therefore, I also request that the Department undertake an investigation into who had specific knowledge of the content of any sexually explicit communications between Mr. Foley and any former or current House pages and what actions such individuals took, if any, to provide them to law enforcement. I request that the scope of your investigation include any and all individuals who may have been aware of this matter-be they Members of Congress, employees of the House of Representatives, or anyone outside the Congress.

    “Your attention to this serious matter is appreciated. I am also sending to the Department of Law Enforcement for the State of Florida a request to investigate whether or not any state laws were violated by Mr. Foley or anyone else with respect to this matter.”

  20. - Foley a criminal; something else fishy - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 12:04 am:

    As Rich noted from Tribune, Shimkus has some explaining to do about whether he helped cover this up by not notifying his fellow democratic representative on the page board. See Roll Call

  21. - Rattlehead - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 12:16 am:

    Hastert and Shimkus have a lot of explaining to do. Talk about the good old boy network and DC being out of touch. This goes beyond being out of touch. This is pure arrogance. Not that arrogance is anything new to Shimkus, as one of the honorable congressmen who vowed to adhere to term limits then decided that staying in DC was more important than keeping his word. Maybe if he actually did his job - like keeping a better watch over the page program - people could overlook his pathetic lack of leadership and broken promises.

  22. - Philosophe Forum - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 12:18 am:

    The donations have been small so Stover may not accumulate $400K for all the media buys he needs. Yet, there have been quite a few from around the U.S. on a Sun. during football season. Maybe the Shimkus voters who keep him in office (for whatever reason) and the Madison Co. Dems who leave Stover off the candidate lists (aka, support Shimkus) should read the comments on
    Bottom line: Shimkus = pimp.

  23. - (618) Democrat - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 6:32 am:

    This scandal gets creepier the more you here about it. As a parent it makes me sick to my stomach. We teach our kids if an adult is doing inappropriate things tell another adult, yet when this child reported what was going on the perpetrator was protected.
    What was the bidding thing, where did the money go and why did Shimkus allow a child to go anywhere alone with this man.

    It appears that Shimkus seemed to know what was going on and rather than investigate, as he claims, and protect the well fare of these children he tipped off his Republican colleague. Shimkus needs to resign.

  24. - annon - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 6:40 am:

    As true to any liberal Democrat once again ! ….they pounce on the entire GOP for an “alledged” action by a member of congress. Though I & most everyone of decency & common sense would condem such’s NOT the fault of the Speaker, the GOP or anyone connected to accept the blame for an individual with this issue. The person to blame solely is the guy from Fla. It happened now deal with it appropriately ! Everyone should be glad he’s gone. Investigate & handle in an apropriate way..that being justice. Let law-enforcement do their thing here ! I’m sure the Congress has limitations as to “corrective action”. Cong. Shimkus is an honorable man & at the time he was aware … is probably all he knew. Leave it to a “Dem” to capitalize on a childs mis-fortune for political gain. What would make those “D’s” think wouldn’t be handled & investigated appropriately ? They assume all “R’s” are idiots. What they’ll do to prop up a failed “Dem” agenda & anything to win. Good ridance to Foley !!! Gezzzz !!!!

  25. - Anon - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 6:47 am:


  26. - Bill Baar - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 7:14 am:

    Has anyone considered one reason the local press is doing a bad job here is fear it will create a backlash against Gays?

  27. - B Hicks - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 7:15 am:

    I wonder how long it’ll take Judy to drop Shimkus from her supporter page.

    Like a hot rock……

  28. - leigh - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 7:16 am:

    I will not condone any cover-up from anyone on this issue. But I do have a question. The first releases I saw were the 2005 ones which I thought were hardly a smoking gun. However, if I had been aware of the 2003 communications, I would have realized they were more like a bomb. The Speaker and others have said they were not made aware of the 2003 memo’s till ABC news got a hold of them. Who did know about the 2003 IM’s? That is who I would go after.

  29. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 7:16 am:

    Bill, once again you’ve managed to throw gasoline on a raging fire. This isn’t about gay or straight. It’s about a sexual predator. Now, move along, please.

  30. - Bill Baar - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 7:35 am:

    ok, I’ll move, and of course it’s abuse and not gay, but I’m watching the Unitarian Universalist blog world be slow to react to this one and part of the stumble for them is sorting the Gayness out of it. I think that’s why some media was slow to react to it.

  31. - Bill Baar - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 7:45 am:

    Look at the response to sexual predators in the Church, they imposed rules against Gay Priests.

    It’s a fire for sure but those worried about throwing gas on it are coming from it from some different angles.

  32. - Way Northsider - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 8:04 am:

    This is not about gay or straight but about power and the abuse of it. The local media don’t cover it properly because they are “reporters” and not “journalists”. In their minds, regurgitating press releases is sufficient, to do more would involve spending time, which equals money, and actually trying to dig up facts. It’s much cheaper to rework partisan press releases.

    It is very very creepy to think that someone in a position of power was sending these kinds of messages to teen boys. The young man reported it and absolutely nothing was done by those in power. I hope his parents have told him how proud they are of him for coming forward. Making this into a gay story is a red herring. If Foley had been a woman it would have been equally creepy and inappropriate.

  33. - Bill Baar - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 8:20 am:

    Sure it’s a red herring, but for a lot people it’s the first connection that they make.

    I think that explains some people’s reluctance and confusion on how to report it. That’s my claim here.

    Here’s a blog I follow from Wash DC. We’re firm believers in allowing same sex marriage. I think it’s wrong to be ambivilent on the Foley case. It’s abuse of power. But some people are stumbling over the gay angle. They shouldn’t but they are.

    I also just got my IFI email… now talk about gas on the fire.

  34. - Bill - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 8:28 am:

    It is sad to say but parents would be crazy to let their kids go anywhere near DC alone ever again!

  35. - leigh - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 8:35 am:

    Parents are crazy to let their kids go anywhere alone without ensuring (not assuming) that the proper safeguards are in place. From what I am hearing the contact has been through computer not in person, is there again more to the story that I am not hearing? Don’t get me wrong, Foley should be thrown out with the trash from the written stuff alone.

  36. - Bill Baar - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 8:36 am:

    Your wrong Bill. Your kids (I have three) will face this threat wherever they go. The lesson here is when propositioned, you call the police. That’s what I teach my kids.

  37. - Bill - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 8:39 am:

    You are both right, of course, but Congressmen in the nation’s capitol? That just seems to be beyond the usual decadance and perversion we usually hear about.

  38. - RealClear - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 8:41 am:

    Shimkus and Hastert are both from that old George Ryan mold. Cover-up is their first instinct.

    This is the same mentality that led to 6 young kids dying in a flaming van on a Wisconsin highway. It’s also why it took another dozen years to finally bring George Ryan to justice on not un-related charges.

    Hastert of course is too busy lining his own pockets on real estate deals with his pal Dallas Ingemunson to worry about how a Congressman in his caucus is preying on young boys.

    Republicans more than anyone should be demanding to get rid of these bums.


  39. - Anon - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 8:48 am:

    I am surprised sometimes at the rhetoric in the defense of the Iraq War. But it is mind boggling to see the defense of inactivity when child sex abuse is going on right under our nation’s leaders noses. Was there a limit on the action that Hastert or Shimkus could take? Did that limitation prevent them from looking deeper into other emails? Apparently, it also must have kept their hand from the phone as well so they couldn’t call the authorities to do a serious investigation. I have to ask my self what would I do? If I had the slightest evidence that a child is being taken advantage of, I call the police.

  40. - cermak_rd - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 8:57 am:

    Wasn’t there a big sex scandal with pages back in the 80’s, with Reps. Stubbs and Crane? I thought at that time, they put in place safeguards to protect the pages from this kind of situation. So how did those safeguards break down?

  41. - Bill Baar - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 8:58 am:

    If I had the slightest evidence that a child is being taken advantage of, I call the police.

    And that’s exactly what wasn’t done by anyone involved here.

    Congress’s problem is the same one voiced by the St Peter’s here in Geneva Illinois. They claimed Church State seperation let them keep their own investigation private. They’re wrong. Hastert, if that’s what was in his head was wrong. But the big failure here was as far as I can tell no one called the police. Your kid gets an email like this, call the cops.

  42. - sanity in an insane world - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 9:10 am:

    this is actually the tip of the iceberg and part of a MUCH larger pattern involving GOPers and underage boys - almost like the priest scandal. people who have these tendencies are susceptible to all kinds of blackmail which may be why those who knew about Foley kept it secret, because he was controllable on key votes as long as they had the goods on him.
    that is the sad reality of how dc really works.

    google john decamp, “franklin coverup”, and craig spence washington dc prostitutes. you’ll find news stories on these topics that will make you realize this has been going on for decades. decamp was an award winning GOP state senator, attorney, decorated Vietnam Vet from Nebraska appointed by the legislature to investigate a child sex scandal in Nebraska involving local GOP honchos that reached into the white house and federal congress. Decamp no longer is a Republican.

    His book is the “Franklin Coverup” and is available on kids involved were used by republican elected officials both in Nebraska and in DC, who were then in turn photographed and blackmailed. Many of the kids were taken from “Boys Town” in Nebraska.

    in the 80s and early 90s this was a MUCH bigger simmering scandal involving republican congressmen, white house aides, and underage male prostitutes than even the Foley scandal. It cast a much wider net and implicated top white house officials and aides, including one elected

    the franklin coverup was made into a bbc documentary called “conspiracy of silence” which US congress convinced the cable companies to not air after it was supposed to be on the discovery channel including being advertised in tv guides all over the country. “conspiracy of silence” is now available on youtube and google video. check it out. it is a lot scarier than the foley stuff and includes interviews with much younger kids who were flown to washington dc to hang out with republican elected officials. it shows you what some of our so-called “moral” leaders are about. i’ll take rod over these people any day.

    the craig spence scandal involved underage prostitutes walking through the white house and white house GOP aides including VP Bush’s chief of staff and also led to the highest eschelons of the GOP . some of these kids were much younger than the pages involved in Foleygate.

    this is for real folks. I doubt it is a sad coincidence Foley was in charge of the Children’s exploitation committee in the House. It makes him more susceptible to blackmail by his nambla buddies, who by proxy were the fox guarding the hen house. what did this committee NOT look into when it comes to exploitation of children in our society ? that is a LEGIT question to be asked now. the sad thing is some of these Foley types represent the most powerful folks in our country. He just got caught because he was in a public position.

    As I said - it’s scary and the tip of the iceberg and the foley stuff is pedestrian compared to the Franklin Coverup scandal which involved kids much younger going to washington dc parties with republicans . The book “Franklin Coverup” is available at Amazon is the scariest thing you will ever read about political corruption and abuse of power by so-called “conservatives”
    May everyone interested in political corruption read that book.

    god help us. from baseball to congress to the catholic church, to corporate america - every institution is failing us and being shown to be corrupt. how can a civilization and democracy survive when that is the case ? in the long term ? we need justice for the powerful who abuse their positions of influence and public trust , not another coverup .

  43. - BonVoyageJohn - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 9:11 am:

    Here’s link to a photo some might have missed this a.m.

  44. - Philosophe Forum - Monday, Oct 2, 06 @ 9:12 am:

    Foley — a Catholic — is a sexual predator preying on young boys. He has broken the Adam Walsh Law. The GOP on The Hill have known this for years! Even Foley’s words in the Congressional Record were a red flag.

    The pages KNEW. Shimkus — a high school teacher & West Point graduate (albeit, BARELY) — doesn’t remember the Cadet Honor Code (”A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”) changes his story to fit the audience!! The pages had NO REASON to trust Shimkus with a formal complaint.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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