Less than a week after former President Clinton handed the right wing their ass on Bin Laden and President Bush had more proof of his lies thrown in his face when the National Intelligence Estimate came out, a sex scandal has erupted in the US House of Representatives.
Rep. Mark Foley (R-Florida) resigned suddenly after learning a report on his inappropriate Internet contact with a 16 year old House page was about to be reported on ABC News.
What made me bust out laughing was when I heard that Foley was a leader on the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus. He worked to help gain passage of the “Adam Walsh Child Protection Act of 2006” which, among other things, increases penalties for adults who use the Internet to discuss or solicit sexual acts with “minors” (defined as an “individual who has not attained the age of 18 years”). GOP leaders hailed this law as a vital tool in protecting our nation’s children against Internet predators.
Now one would think that the GOP would bounce Foley and stick to their scripts about “protecting children”, but it seems the speaker and majority leader knew back in 2005! about Foley and his obsession with male pages.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was notified early this year of inappropriate e-mails from former representative Mark Foley (R-Fla.) to a 16-year-old page, a top GOP House member said yesterday — contradicting the speaker’s assertions that he learned of concerns about Foley only last week.
Hastert did not dispute the claims of Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.), and his office confirmed that some of Hastert’s top aides knew last year that Foley had been ordered to cease contact with the boy and to treat all pages respectfully.
House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post on Friday that he had learned in late spring of inappropriate e-mails Foley sent to the page, a boy from Louisiana, and that he promptly told Hastert, who appeared to know already of the concerns. Hours later, Boehner contacted The Post to say he could not be sure he had spoken with Hastert.
Any time an adult has some kind of contact with a minor of a sexual nature, people get quite upset, and the adult usually is vilified. Unless you are a Republican and your PR comes from Fox News:
Discussing the recent resignation of former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) with host Chris Wallace on the October 1 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, Fox News political analyst and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) claimed that House Republicans would have “been accused of gay bashing” if they had “overly aggressively reacted” to Foley’s allegedly inappropriate email communications with a 16-year-old male congressional page when House Republicans reportedly first learned of Foley’s actions in late 2005.
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume asserted that there is a “difference” between the Democratic and Republican parties because former Republican Rep. Mark Foley is “out of office and in total disgrace in his party” after allegedly engaging in sexually explicit communications with underage congressional pages, while President Bill Clinton and Rep. Barney Frank were not similarly reprimanded for their “inappropriate behavior.” However, neither the Clinton nor the Frank allegations involved minors.
On Fox News’ The Big Story Primetime, Ann Coulter claimed that reports that the House Republican leadership was previously aware of communications former Rep. Mark Foley allegedly had with underage congressional pages are “somewhat incredible,” asking: “Why wait until right before the election to let it break?” and dismissing such reports as gossip, saying: “It’s something you hear.”
Brian Ross, who broke the story on Friday on ABC (US), is not one to report hearsay. More than one page has come forward and there are reports that pages were warned about Foley when they started their assignments.
Fox News is trying to spin the scandal like when they claimed that the abuse at Abu Ghraib was nothing more than Fraternity hazing.
So I guess we can add Republicans to the list of those who get a free pass on child abuse – along with Catholic priests.