Top GOP Staffer Forced Out for Role in Page Scandal

By Brian Ross And Rhonda Schwartz

Oct 4, 2006 1:44pm

ABC News’ Senior National Correspondent Jake Tapper reports that Kirk Fordham has resigned. The chief of staff for Republican Congressman Tom Reynolds, Kirk Fordham, resigned after questions were raised about his role in the handling of the congressional page scandal, according to Republican  sources on Capitol Hill. Those sources said Fordham, a former chief of staff for Congressman Mark Foley, had urged Republican leaders last spring not to raise questionable Foley e-mails with the full Congressional Page Board, made up of two Republicans and a Democrat. "He begged them not to tell the page board," said one of the Republican sources. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Instant Messages Obtained by ABC News Cast Doubt on Claims from Foley’s Lawyer EXCLUSIVE New Excerpts of Instant Messages a Former Page Said He Had with Foley Click Here for More of the Brian Ross Page People familiar with Fordham’s side of the story, however, said Fordham was being used as a scapegoat by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. They said Fordham had repeatedly warned Hastert’s staff about Foley’s "problem" with pages, but little was done. The complaint about Foley was brought to the chairman of the page board, Congressman John Shimkus (R-IL), last spring, and he then consulted with the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Jeff Trandahl. At Fordham’s urging, according to the sources, the matter was not given to the full board, and  instead Congressman Foley was privately approached and told to stop all contact with the page he had been e-mailing. "This is something we should have been aware of, and we weren’t, and I’m very unhappy about that," said Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), who also serves on the page board. The Democrat on the page board, Congressman Dale Kildee (D-MI), said it was "unprecedented" to have handled the matter without informing the board members. Fordham was also instrumental in orchestrating Foley’s abrupt resignation last week hours after ABC News confronted the congressman with sexually explicit instant messages allegedly sent to pages. Fordham offered ABC News a deal if it would not publish the content of the instant messages. "He said we could have the exclusive on the resignation if we did not run direct quotes from the instant messages," said Maddy Sauer, the ABC News producer who dealt with Fordham. ABC News refused to make any such deal. Capitol Hill sources say Fordham’s resignation was demanded by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, whose job is on the line because of his handling of the page scandal.  Repeated phone calls to Fordham for comment have not been returned.    Click here for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team’s complete reporting on the Foley Scandal.

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