The Note: Mistakes Were Made

"Instead, they left it to the panel chairman, Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.), to confront Foley.

Today's Los Angeles Times Notes that Foley's campaign committee gave $100,000 to the NRCC on Aug. 7: "after Reynolds had acknowledged having learned about the Louisiana page's complaint."

"NRCC spokesman Carl Forti said the campaign donation had no impact on how Reynolds handled the matter, explaining that Reynolds told Hastert about the problem as soon as he learned about the e-mails." LINK

"'This is nothing more than pure politics at its worst,' Forti said, dismissing the Democratic charge that Reynolds should have done more."

"Even to insinuate that is ridiculous."

Michael McAuliff of the New York Daily News has Forti accusing Democrats of "using a very ugly occurrence to play politics." LINK

According to the statement released by Hastert's office on Saturday, the Speaker "does not explicitly recall" the conversation which Rep. Reynolds claims to have had with Hastert in the spring about what he learned from Rep. Alexander.

At the same time, the Speaker has "no reason to dispute Congressman Reynolds' recollection that he reported to him on the problem and its resolution."

Karen Finney, the DNC's communications director, responded to the Reynolds statement by telling ABC News: "If Congressman Tom Reynolds' excuse for doing nothing is that he told House Speaker Dennis Hastert about the charges against Mark Foley, it raises disturbing questions. The Republican leadership should have immediately done everything in their power to protect these minors who serve as pages in the United States Congress. Instead it appears they chose to protect their Republican majority. As a former teacher and coach, Speaker Hastert should have acted more responsibly. This is simply unacceptable."

In Sunday's Washington Post, Weisman and Babington reported that Rep. Reynolds was "angry that Hastert appeared willing to let him take the blame for the party's leadership silence." LINK

Per Sunday's Los Angeles Times, Boehner spokesman Kevin Madden said "Alexander had approached the majority leader five months ago and told him that Foley had had an e-mail exchange with a page. The conversation 'did not raise an alarm,' said Madden, 'because Alexander had assured him that he had talked to the parents and they did not wish to pursue it and they did not believe there was need to pursue it further.'" LINK

When Reynolds was asked over the weekend by the Buffalo News to characterize what Rep. Alexander told him about the messages that had caused the page "some discomfort," Rep. Reynolds said: "I'm not going to get into all that ... I'm not into a grand jury witness thing here, or whatever." LINK

Deidre Shesgreen of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Sunday that Shimkus told them that "my evaluation was there's no smoking gun here. At the time, that e-mail had no significance ... other than 'Mark, stay away from this kid; this doesn't look good.'"

Shimkus added: "I think, based on the information I had, what I did was fine. If I regret something, maybe I should have had Dale [Kildee] with me because now it's going to be a political football." LINK

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