Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Hastert Goes Before Ethics Committee
Dennis Hastert had his chance yesterday to straighten out the House Ethics Committee, who has heard much testimony about the Speaker's actions in the Mark Foley scandal.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) spent nearly three hours behind closed doors with the House ethics committee yesterday, describing what he knew about then-Rep. Mark Foley's relationships with young male pages and when he knew it.
The extraordinary appearance came just a few hours after the House Republican campaign chief, Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (N.Y.), went before the committee to reiterate his contention that he personally told Hastert in the spring about suspicious e-mails that Foley had sent to a Louisiana teenager. Hastert has said he has no recollection of that conversation and did not learn of the Foley matter until it surfaced in late September. ...
House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) testified last week that he also told Hastert in the spring about concerns stemming from what House leaders have termed "over-friendly" e-mails from Foley to the former page from Louisiana.
Yesterday's drama was the strongest indication yet that the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, as the ethics committee is formally known, may be nearing the end of its investigative work. The committee interviewed Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, on Monday and could call up his deputy chief of staff, Mike Stokke, and his counsel, Ted Van Der Meid, this week. ...
Hastert tried to deflect attention from GOP leaders yesterday, suggesting, as other Republicans have, that Democrats may have known about Foley's explicit instant messages but did not report them to authorities. Instead, Republicans have said, Democrats shopped them to the news media before the elections.