House Ethics Committee Results of Foley Investigation to Be Released Today

Dec 8, 2006 12:48pm

Two months after they began an investigation into who knew what when in the Republican leadership about Mark Foley’s inappropriate e-mails and instant messages to former congressional pages, the House Ethics Committee is expected to release their findings today in a 2p.m. news conference on Capitol Hill. The committee heard from several witnesses with contradictory testimony about the role of House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other members of the Republican Leadership. Click Here for the Brian Ross Investigative Homepage. Below is a recap of what some of the key witnesses are believed to have told the committee, as previously reported in the Blotter: House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.): Hastert issued a statement saying neither he nor anyone in the Republican leadership knew about Foley’s "vile and repulsive" sexually explicit instant messages to a former page until ABC News made them public on Sept. 29 and Foley resigned.  Hastert says he has no memory of being told about a separate "overly friendly" e-mail exchange between Foley and another former page in the fall of 2005, but his office issued a statement indicating senior staffers were informed of it at that time. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.): In what appears to be the earliest known incident involving Foley, Kolbe says his office heard from one of his former pages about inappropriate instant messages from Foley as early as 2000. Kolbe’s office tells ABC News the complaint was passed along to Foley’s office and the then Clerk of the House Jeff Trandahl and that they believed "the issue was resolved."

Kirk Fordham (then Rep. Foley’s chief of staff): Fordham says, as far back as 2002 or 2003, he alerted "senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives" about his concern over Foley’s "inappropriate behavior."  Sources tell ABC News that Fordham did so after hearing that Foley paid an after-hours visit to the page dorm.  Fordham says Speaker Hastert’s Chief of Staff Scott Palmer then met with Hastert.  Scott Palmer (Speaker Hastert’s Chief of Staff): Palmer issued a statement saying Fordham’s version of events "did not happen." Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.): Rep. Alexander contacted Hastert’s office in the fall of 2005, after one of Alexander’s former pages complained about getting inappropriate e-mails from Foley.  Hastert’s office says this is the first time they heard of concerns about Foley. Jeff Trandahl (former Clerk of the House): Notified of Foley’s e-mails to the former Louisiana page by a member of Hastert’s staff in the fall of 2005, Trandahl told Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), chairman of the Page Board, and the two of them met privately with Foley and warned him to stop contacting the 16-year-old. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.): Shimkus says the conversation with Trandahl in the fall of 2005 was the first he ever heard of problems with Foley.  He says in retrospect, "There’s stuff that everybody would have done differently." Ted Van Der Meid (Speaker Hastert’s Counsel and Floor Manager): Van Der Meid has not given his account publicly, but Trandahl is believed to have testified that he regularly informed Van Der Meid of "all issues dealing with the page program," including a "problem group of members and staff who spent too much time socializing with pages." Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.): About six months after it happened, in the spring of 2006, Reynolds says he learned of Foley’s inappropriate e-mails to the Louisiana teen and personally raised the issue in a meeting with Speaker Hastert.  Hastert has said he does not recall the conversation but does not dispute Reynolds’ account. Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio): His accounts have been contradictory.  Boehner initially told the Washington Post he learned about the e-mail last spring, discussed it with Hastert, "and he told me it had been taken care of."  Boehner then called the Post back to say he wasn’t sure he’d spoken to Hastert after all.  In subsequent interviews, he said he was "99 percent sure" he had talked to the speaker, and he "believed it had been dealt with." Read The Blotter’s Full Coverage of the Foley Internet Scandal.

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