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Monday, October 02, 2006

Foley Scandal: What Did Heather Wilson Know and When Did She Know It?

Foley1Things haven't been going well for Republican incumbent Rep. Heather Wilson's campaign (NM-01). The lastest polling shows Dem challenger Patricia Madrid tied at 44% with Wilson, and the new Madrid ad calls Wilson out in no uncertain terms on lying for Bush about the disasterous Iraq War. Now the scandal that's exposed Rep. Mark Foley's sexual targeting of underage House pages may well be the nail in the coffin for the Wilson campaign. Political analysts are suggesting that other tight congressional races may also tip in the Democrats' favor as a result of this unfolding story about what Foley did and what Republicans did or didn't do when they found out about it.

Wilson was forced to donate the $8000 she got from Foley's PACs to charity, and she's joining other Repubs in tight races in suddenly stating concern about the situation -- trying to distance themselves from Hastert and others. It's now clear that the Repub leadership and at least some Repub members of the board that manages the House page operation (which has only one Democratic member) had knowledge of Foley's problems with minors for months, if not years. Yet they did nothing. According to a New York Times article:

Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues, Republican lawmakers said Saturday.

... Besides the leaders, other lawmakers and Congressional officers who served on the board that oversaw the page program were aware of the e-mail messages, though the Democratic lawmaker who serves on the board, Representative Dale E. Kildee of Michigan, said Saturday that he had never been informed.

Hmmm. Heather Wilson was a member of the House board that oversees the page program in 2001-3004, when pages were reportedly already being warned about Foley. What did she know about Foley's penchant for sending sexual emails and IMs to young, male pages and his "overly friendly" attitudes towards the 16 and 17 year olds? And if she knew about Foley's tendencies, as a number of Republican leaders did, why didn't she or anyone else do anything meaningful about it?

Wilsonnosee_2
Rep. Wilson: See no evil?

As reported in the Bloomberg article also linked above:

"Toleration of inappropriate behavior is almost as bad as the behavior itself,'' said Representative Heather Wilson, a Republican from New Mexico who faces a difficult race in November.

I wonder if Wilson includes herself in those Republicans who tolerated the inappropriate behavior. It's hard to believe she hadn't heard anything about the warnings about Foley given her membership on the page management board that oversees the program and its young interns.

What we do know is that the Republican House leadership apparently lacks the capacity and/or curiosity to investigate questionable activities, whether they involve members of their own caucus or the war in Iraq. Always number one on their agendas? Protecting their own and winning at almost any cost. Family values party, my eye.

ThinkProgress has a timeline of what is known so far in the Foley controversy.

October 2, 2006 at 02:31 PM in Candidates & Races | Permalink

Comments

I hope they can make a big deal about the fact that the House Ethics Commmittee was dismantled by the Repubs years ago. Even if someone in congress had wanted to go after him, there was no mechanism in place to do so.

Posted by: Michelle Meaders | Oct 2, 2006 2:37:13 PM

More evidence the Republicans don't look at anything their own members do. I don't see how anyone can see them as anything but liars, cheats, creeps and hypocrites.

Posted by: El Norte | Oct 2, 2006 3:34:44 PM

Heather Wilson was on the Page Board from 2001 - 2004. Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader Boehner, NRCC Chair Reynolds, and Reps. Alexander and Shimkus all knew about it. Wilson was on the page board - she had to have known something. Then again, Wilson has a history of coverups. Make sure to watch the video on WashingtonWilsonWatch.com about Wilson's tenure at Children, Youth & Families.

Posted by: Pattern? | Oct 2, 2006 3:34:49 PM

The epitome of hypocrisy!!!

Posted by: Mary Ellen | Oct 2, 2006 3:52:04 PM

Heather had much more important things on her mind, like how to lie for Bush about Iraq, how to get more money to the big drug companies, how to make sure Bush could wiretap without any court approving it.

Has there ever been a congress that is more compromised and filthy than this one? If we don't get a change now we are down for the count.

Posted by: JLC | Oct 2, 2006 4:06:25 PM

Here is a nifty little piece of legislation that Wilson voted in favor of last Friday that passed: (quoted from KOS)"The Public Expression of Religion Act - H.R. 2679- provides that attorneys who successfully challenge government actions as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment shall not be entitled to recover attorneys fees. The bill has only one purpose: to prevent suits challenging unconstitutional government actions advancing religion. The bill applies even to cases involving illegal religious coercion of public school children or blatant discrimination against particular religions." Why be surprised that Wilson may have known something about Foley, afterall she is a "GOP team player".

Posted by: VP | Oct 2, 2006 6:12:27 PM

Good, informative posts, especially from Pattern?, Michelle and VP. Thanks. Always nice to learn things on a blog instead of being in a mere echo chamber.

If you saw the ABC piece on Foley (available on YouTube, of course), the word has been out on Foley for five years at least. The class of 2000-2001 was warned about him.

I hope that, in the midst of all the sex scandal with Foley, voters also hear about Condi's forgotten meeting with Tenet before 9-11. What a litany! All the Dems would have to do is make a list of missteps and scandals involving this President and his Congress, and have it scroll over the screen with accompanying photos for a half a minute, and we'd be amazed at the turnaround in this election. Katrina, Iraq, Schiavo, Diebold, Foley and the cover-up, 9-11, torture, and on and on and on until voters rush to rent all the copies of V for Vendetta.

Posted by: John in Santa Fe | Oct 2, 2006 8:35:27 PM

Wouldn't it be ironic if America turned on its conservative Congress because of Foley, instead of because this Congress voted to legalize torture, wiretapping without warrants, indefinite imprisonment, and outlawed habeas corpus?

Posted by: John in Santa Fe | Oct 2, 2006 8:57:31 PM

John in Santa Fe, there would be some irony in that, but nothing grabs the attention of mindless voters like a "sex scandal" especially the 30% that keep supporting the Bu$h Cabal in spite of what is plainly happening in front of them.

Posted by: VP | Oct 3, 2006 11:27:49 AM

Is this true? Heather Wilson may have been involved in evidence suppression to protect her husband when HE was accused of inappropriate behavior with a 16 year old boy? See the police reports:

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Congresswoman_on_page_board_buried_file_1019.html

Posted by: beth | Oct 19, 2006 5:16:15 PM

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