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FBI Investigating Foley Page Scandal
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FBI Investigating Foley Page Scandal


FBI Investigating Foley Page Scandal
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From the studios of NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY, I'm Alex Chadwick.


And I'm Madeleine Brand. Coming up, is the Bush administration in a state of denial?

CHADWICK: First, Congress is still rocking over the Mark Foley e-mail scandal. The now former congressman was the Florida Republican who had led efforts to protect young people from sexual predators on the Internet.

BRAND: While it turns out Mr. Foley himself was sending e-mail and instant messages to underage boys who had been pages in the House.

CHADWICK: So Mark Foley has resigned and has entered rehab for alcohol addiction. NPR Capitol Hill correspondent Brian Naylor is following the story. He joins us now. Brian, I thought everybody had gone home from Congress. Gone home from Washington for the fall. They're supposed to be gone, anyway. Who's left to deal with this?

NAYLOR: Well, you're right, Alex. They all adjourned on Friday, but with this scandal rapidly brewing, they decided - Speaker Hastert has stayed behind to deal with the after-effects. He's meeting today with Congressman John Shimkus, a Republican from Illinois. Shimkus runs the page program. Hastert, of course, the Speaker of the House. Today he put out his strongest statement yet, saying he was outraged and disgusted with Foley's actions. He has served as leader of the House now for going on eight years, longer than any other Republican has - Hastert - and he and Shimkus have a lot to talk about.

CHADWICK: Now, last week Speaker Hastert said he knew nothing about the e-mails, and then later he said he knew about overly friendly e-mails that Mr. Foley was sending to these pages, but not the explicit instant messages that turned up later. So just go over the - kind of the chronology here.

NAYLOR: Yeah, the page involved was sponsored as - they're all sponsored by their local members of Congress. In this case it was Congressman Rodney Alexander of Louisiana. And the page's family went to Alexander and told him about the e-mails from Foley, which the page had characterized as sick. Alexander then went to Tom Reynolds, who is the chairman of the House Republican campaign committee. Reynolds says he told Hastert and other members of congressional leadership, Republican leadership. Hastert says he doesn't have a specific recollection of this, but that he doesn't dispute Reynolds. Congressional leaders thought the e-mails were, as you say, overly friendly, and Foley was told to end the communications.

And there it sat for several months, until the revelations of more sexually explicit exchanges, apparently sent to another former page, were revealed last week. And all the while, Alex, as you say, Foley remained as chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus.

CHADWICK: Part of this, Brian, is the nature of these e-mails, which are now everywhere. They are beyond icky; they're totally gross. And you must wonder if there isn't going to be political fallout from this, with the Democrats already trying to say that, well, the Republican leadership has ignored this. So speaker Hastert has asked the Justice Department to investigate.

NAYLOR: That's right. And they have already changed the locks on Foley's office so that he can't get in. They're going to be looking through his computers, presumably, and today the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it's now looking into whether Foley did anything illegal. And meanwhile, the Republicans are very worried about the political stakes, the political fallout from all this.

CHADWICK: Brian Naylor on Capitol Hill for NPR. Brian, thank you.

NAYLOR: Thank you, Alex.

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