The Corner

What Hastert Knew and Did

Thank you Ramesh.  My guess is that Hastert hears all kinds of things about all kinds of House members.  That’s not to downplay the Foley case, but put it in perspective.  He must hear everything from gossip to a member assaulting a police officer. And while it may (or may not) have been an open secret that Foley liked men younger than himself, let’s assume it was common knowledge for our purposes here (but let’s be clear, several pages have reportedly denied that this was an open secret, and no member of Congress has come forward and acknowledged it was an open secret.  Of course, if they did, questions would be raised about their silence.)  Moreover, it’s not unheard of for 54-year-old heterosexual congressmen to like younger women.  So, this by itself, isn’t enough, as you acknowledge.I read the e-mails and they’re clearly different in substance and tone from the instant messages.  But the e-mails did, in fact, take the issue to a new level, i.e., beyond the open secret.  But based on information from the e-mails, not the instant messages, it doesn’t take us very far.  It’s clearly something less than criminal, as we now know that the FBI found no criminal basis for pursuing Foley based on the e-mails.So, Hastert apparently told his lieutenants to tell Foley to cut it out and leave the ex-page alone.  I suppose he could have turned the matter over to the House Ethics Committee, but that would have seemed like an over-reaction to many of us, again based on the information from the e-mails.  Moreover, the family’s desire for privacy wouldn’t trump a full-fledged investigation if the Speaker had additional information suggesting pages were endangered.  But that’s not what we’re talking about  Presumably, the Speaker then went on to the kind of busy schedule any Speaker must contend with.  Let me put it this way, if there was a fear that Foley was doing more than writing these e-mails, somebody should have been jumping up and down about it — including the head of the page alumni program, who is all over TV alleging that Foley’s interests were common knowledge.  Others may come forward, and with much more lurid stories, especially given all the media publicity.  But that doesn’t change what Hastert was told at the relevant time.  It’s just one man’s opinion, but in my view it was perfectly reasonable for Hastert to do exactly what he did based on what was presented to him.  But your view, Ramesh, is not unreasonable. 


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