In response to two of my favorite people: Maybe if we NR-niks could agree on the facts we would agree on the proper remedy. According to the Foley scandal timeline released by House GOP leadership over the weekend and Speaker Hastert’s statements since, the Speaker was unaware of the “overly friendly” e-mails brought to the attention of his aides by Rep. Alexander’s chief of staff last fall. So he didn’t order his lieutenants to do anything. The Speaker’s aides didn’t see the e-mails, relied on a description of them by Alexander’s office and notified the House clerk — who also didn’t see them (not a very curious bunch), who notified Rep. Shimkus. The conversation with Rep. Foley took place. No one else in Speaker’s office was told about the incident, including the Speaker himself. Hastert didn’t “let Shimkus handle the red flag e-mail problem last year.” [It seems to me, if Alexander’s office wanted the Speaker’s office and others involved they should have been made to share contents of e-mails so others would know exactly what they were dealing with. i.e. No full-scale investigation had to be launched. A review of e-mails would have indicated Foley messages to two former male pages and a reference to a member of Congress who “hits on pages.” They provided evidence that the problem was bigger than one former page and his parents who wanted Foley to stop with the e-mails. i.e. Negligence by all concerned.]
There don’t appear to be any “decisions” made by Hastert previous to when the scandal broke last week that could be criticized. (Damage control since then is another matter) Taking him at his word, he didn’t make decisions regarding the Foley e-mails because, again, he was unaware of them.
Tom Reynolds didn’t bring e-mails to Hastert earlier this year. According to Reynolds, he only mentioned that Alexander said there had been an incident last fall re: Foley and e-mails to a page that “had been handled.” This is the conversation that Hastert doesn’t recall but has no reason to dispute.
I think the Foley affair was mishandled by all involved last year. They did the minimum to satisfy Alexander whose only concern was for his own constituents.