ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Turning back to the Mark Foley scandal, a new poll from The Washington Post shows that seven in ten people surveyed are closely following that story. The same poll found the level of approval for Congress at just 32 percent. That's its lowest level in more than ten years and as the political impact of the scandal becomes clear, the investigations are getting going.
NPR's Peter Overby reports.
PETER OVERBY: One of the former House pages met today with FBI agents. Jordan Edmund is in Oklahoma working on a political campaign. He and his lawyer, Stephen Jones, went to the FBI office. They met with reporters afterwards, as recorded by CNN. The former page had nothing to say, and his lawyer had very little.
Mr. STEPHEN JONES (Attorney, Jordan Edmunds): Jordan answered all of their questions, relying upon his memory as it exists. He was not served with any subpoenas to appear before any grand jury. He was not asked to return.
OVERBY: Jones said that Edmund cooperated to the fullest. He said other investigators seemed to be interested, too.
Mr. JONES: This morning I was contacted by the House official committee, the House committee on official standards known as the Ethics Committee. I will speak with them this afternoon.
OVERBY: A crucial question for the Ethics Committee is how long House Republican leaders knew about Foley's behavior. A key witness is Kirk Fordham, now scheduled to testify on Thursday afternoon before the Ethics Committee. He was Foley's chief of staff for ten years, then worked for New York Republican Tom Reynolds. Fordham resigned last week.
He is eager to tell his story and it's damaging to House leaders. He says he took his concerns about a specific incident to Scott Palmer, a top aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Palmer talked to Foley. Fordham says all this happened in 2002 or 2003. According to Palmer, it didn't happen at all.
But a Republican lawmaker now says he passed along a concern about Foley even earlier, some time between 2000 and 2002. Arizona Congressman Jim Colby said today that a former page got in touch with his office after getting uncomfortable emails from Foley. Colby said his staff contacted Foley's office and the office of the House clerk who oversees the page program. Colby made the remarks in a written statement responding to a Washington Post story yesterday.
The timeline laid out by Fordham and Colby undermined the account presented by House leaders. Speaker Dennis Hastert has maintained that Foley's revelation last month caught him by surprise. Hastert has been working to save his job. Today, he held a press conference. He took a hard line.
Representative DENNIS HASTERT (Republican, Illinois): If anybody's found to have hidden information or covered up information, they really should be gone.
OVERBY: And he also took a softer line.
Representative HASTERT: But I didn't think anybody at any time in my office did anything wrong. I found out about these revelations last Friday. That was the first information that I had about it.
OVERBY: It's not clear how much damage control Hastert can achieve. An increasing number of Republican House seats are in jeopardy and not all the central figures in the Foley case have been heard from yet.
Peter Overby, NPR News, the Capitol.
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