Letters to the Editor:
Calls for Speaker Hastert to step down from his leadership position are an overreaction based on what we know. The Speaker has stated that he was not aware of the text messaging between Congressman Foley and a page.
It’s important to separate the email that was reported to the Speaker’s staff, the Clerk of the House, the FBI, and the St. Petersburg Times a few months ago from the text messages that were reported by the media this week. The email was evidently determined by all to be overly friendly but not of a sexual nature while the text messages, just revealed were explicitly sexual.
Any text messages that were sexually explicit should have been turned over to the Speaker, to the Ethics Committee, and to the FBI as soon as they were discovered. Speaker Hastert has recommended that the Attorney General launch an investigation into Foley’s actions and also into who knew about the messages and why they were held to be given to the media five weeks prior to the election rather than to law enforcement officials right away.
This is a sad day for all of us who serve in Congress. Every time a member becomes involved in misconduct, it casts a shadow over the entire membership. The young people who come to Washington to serve as pages and interns should be protected and held in high esteem by everyone serving in that body.
Speaker Tip O’Neill was not asked to resign when scandals involving pages with both a Democrat Congressman and a Republican Congressman surfaced in 1983. It would be unfair to cast blame on the Speaker and others in the Republican Leadership for the despicable actions of one man.
Henry J. Hyde