Exclusive: Former House Clerk’s Testimony

Oct 19, 2006 3:11pm

The former clerk of the House of Representatives, Jeff Trandahl, who testified for more than four hours before the House Ethics Committee today, is believed to have testified that a top aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert was informed of "all issues dealing with the page program," according to a Republican familiar with the investigation. The Republican source said Trandahl planned to name Ted Van Der Meid, the speaker’s counsel and floor manager, as the person who was briefed on a regular basis about any issue that arose in the page program, including a "problem group of members and staff who spent too much time socializing with pages outside of official duties." One of whom was Mark Foley. Trandahl’s testimony before the House Ethics Committee could provide additional evidence that key members of the speaker’s staff were aware of problems involving the page program for years. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS FBI Yet to Find Evidence of Foley-Page Sexual Contact DISCRETION ADVISED: The Instant Messages That Forced Congressman Mark Foley’s Resignation Click Here for More of the Brian Ross Page Van Der Meid declined to comment to ABC News, but a source close to Van Der Meid says he expects to be called to testify before the House Ethics Committee next week and plans to answer all questions. Last week, Foley’s former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, testified before the Ethics Committee about his public allegations that the speaker’s chief of staff, Scott Palmer, was told about problems with Foley at least three years ago. Palmer has said that Fordham’s version of events "never happened." Trandahl was known as a strict and protective overseer of the page program.  He was mentioned in one instant message exchange obtained by ABC News that occurred between a former page and Foley in early 2003, when the teen was planning a trip to Washington to visit with other former pages. Teen: i think everyone is going to be pretty wasted a lot of the time in dc too
Maf54: haha
Maf54: probably
Teen: well we dont have the a– hole clerk to fire us anymore
Maf54: true
Teen: we didnt like trandahl that much…he isnt a nice guy…and he gets really scarey when he is mad
Maf54: does he
Teen: ya just a bit…oh well

Trandahl left his job as clerk of the House last year to become executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Read the Blotter’s Full Coverage of the Foley Internet Scandal.

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