So much for family values. GOP leaders in Congress knew of Mark Foley's sexual cruising of minors and covered it up, all while keeping Foley in charge of the chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus.
Republicans kept a man in his 50s, who they knew was exploiting minors online, in charge of protecting children from exploitation by adults over the Internet. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse! (Actually, the "hens" were boys, which only adds to the hypocrisy of the homophobic GOP.)
Among the Republican explanations during the night:
_The congressional sponsor of the page, Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., said he was asked by the youth's parents not to pursue the matter, so he dropped it.
_Alexander said that before deciding to end his involvement, he passed on what he knew to the chairman of the House Republican campaign organization, Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-N.Y. Reynolds' spokesman, Carl Forti, said the campaign chairman also took no action in deference to the parents' wishes.
_Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., chairman of the Page Board that oversees the congressional work-study program for high schoolers, said he did investigate but Foley falsely assured him he was only mentoring the boy. Pages are high school students who attend classes under congressional supervision and work as messengers.
_The spokesman for Speaker Dennis Hastert, Ron Bonjean, said the top House Republican had not known about the allegations. Shimkus said he learned about them in late 2005.
Rep. Rodney Alexander also notified majority leader John Boehner:
Alexander said he also notified majority leader John Boehner of Ohio.
“I don’t know what action (the House leadership) took,” Alexander said.
Alexander said he believed the e-mails were inappropriate.
“It certainly wasn’t something I would say to a young man or woman,” Alexander said. “Obviously (the teenager) thought there was something wrong with it.
“I can tell you that I’d be disturbed if I was a parent or grandparent of a young person and a grown man sent him these e-mails.”
He was disturbed, but not enough to do anything about it except pass it on.
The Washington Post reports that Boehner passed it the matter on to Hastert.
Hastert has wasted no time spinning himself into the protector of children. What timing.
Meanwhile, the Republican majority leader, Representative John Boehner, R-Ohio, has blocked investigation into this matter. Instead, he's passing it on to the ethics committee.
Just a little late for that, isn't it? If Foley had not been caught, it's clear the Republicans would have done nothing.
Big hat tip to Crooks and Liars.