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Eating their own – Boehner drop kicks Hastert

I love it. This just in from ABC’s “Political Radar: John Boehner’s boot is firmly in the Tyrannosaurus of Turpitude’s posterior…

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ABC’s Teddy Davis reports: In a radio interview with 700 WLW radio in Cincinnati, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) placed responsibility for the Foley matter not being handled properly on House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL).

I believe I talked to the Speaker and he told me it had been taken care of,” said Boehner. “And, and, and my position is it’s in his corner, it’s his responsibility. The Clerk of the House who runs the page program, the Page Board—all report to the Speaker. And I believe it had been dealt with.”

Please note that by saying that he talked with the Speaker about Foley, Boehner is reversing course and going back to his original position.

***

In another development…

Reynolds’ chief of staff caught in the middle on Foley

Kirk Fordham, former aide to Foley — and now head of Rep. Thomas Reynolds’s staff — is going to have to come clean on what he told (and when), or he’s in a heap of trouble. Fordham, you’ll recall, was “advising” Foley on how to handle the scandal. He’s also the man who tried to cut a deal with ABC’s Brian Ross to quash the exposure of the explicit IMs.

And now more pages come forward with stories in this LA Times piece:

“Almost the first day I got there I was warned,” said Mark Beck-Heyman, a San Diego native who served as a page in the House of Representatives in the summer of 1995. “It was no secret that Foley had a special interest in male pages,” said Beck-Heyman, adding that Foley, who is now 52, on several occasions asked him out for ice cream.

Another former congressional staff member said he too had been the object of Foley’s advances. “It was so well known around the House. Pages passed it along from class to class,” said the former aide, adding that when he was 18 a few years ago and working as an intern, Foley approached him at a bar near the Capitol and asked for his e-mail address.

…Beck-Heyman, the former page, said several other male pages in his class also had been approached by Foley. “Mark Foley knew he could get away with this type of behavior with male pages because he was a congressman,” he said.

And look who was assigned to babysit the predator when he was out cruising.

Another former staffer said it was an oft-repeated story around Capitol Hill that Foley’s former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, would sometimes accompany the congressman to keep him out of trouble.

Fordham represents a link between Foley and House GOP leaders. Shortly after leaving Foley’s office last year, he became chief of staff to Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

If the man needs a leash that short, he clearly has no self control. That hardly sounds like someone who should hold the power to legislate on behalf of the people, never mind be around pages. Guess that’s just a technicality for these folks on the Hill.

For more, see Glenn Greenwald’s excellent piece, John Boehner = Denny Hastert, at least — Plus, key questions for Tom Reynolds.

These questions should be posed continuously to Reynolds until he answers, and the same questions ought to be asked of his Chief of Staff:

* Did Reynolds’ Chief of Staff, Kirk Fordham, counsel or advise Mark Foley at any time as to how to handle this scandal?
* Did Reynolds approve of Fordham’s doing so and why?
* Has Fordham told Reynolds about his advice to, or efforts on behalf of, Foley — either during the time he was working with Foley or since?
* Was Fordham also involved in consulting with Reynolds about how to manage the Foley scandal?
* Was Reynolds aware of any attempts by Fordham to convince ABC to keep concealed the sexually explicit IMs conversations in which Foley participated with pages?
* Is Reynolds now aware of any such efforts by Fordham to negotiate an agreement with ABC whereby ABC would agree not to release the IMs?
* Does Reynolds approve of or condemn efforts to have those IMs concealed?

Lots of other questions follow from those, given that Reynolds was almost certainly (and, I believe, reportedly) meeting over the weekend with Hastert, Boehner, Shimkus and others as they all plotted how to respond to the scandal. It seems highly likely, to put it mildly, that (a) Reynolds’ own chief of staff was reporting to Reynolds about the work he was doing on behalf of Foley, and (b) Reynolds was informing Hastert, Boehner and company about the work his Chief of Staff was doing to help manage and contain this story. Did they know that Reynolds dispatched his Chief of Staff to help Foley, and did they know what that Chief of Staff was attempting to convince ABC to do?

If the MSM pursues this, a lot of people are going down, because the cover-up extends beyond these IMs — Foley was out of control and everyone in charge knew it.

Also:
* Tuesday AM Foley roundup
* More GOP family values: Foley aide tried to cut a deal with ABC’s Ross
* More info on Foley’s well-known predator rep among pages
* They knew about Foley in 2001
* There should not be silence
* GOP leadership: spinning for the election home stretch, but nowhere to run on Foley
* More Foleygate
* Foley blasted ‘vile’ Clinton in 1998 for his ‘sad sexual addiction’
* Resolution for ethics probe over Foley passes 410-0
* Denny Hastert must resign for doing nothing about Foley
* Foley drops out of re-election campaign
* What the heck was Mark Foley thinking?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding