shame against human rights, deficit in budget with half trillion annually, foreign debt increase with more than 9 Trillion dollars, scandal of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and Wood Ward State of Denial, and lastly Mr.Foley sex scandal . Republicans must go for the sake of US, UN, and the world .
Associated France Press (AFP) 5/10/2006
US Republicans face widening sex scandal
by Stephanie Griffith
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A senior Capitol Hill aide resigned his post as a widening sex scandal pummelled President George W. Bush's Republican party one month before national congressional elections.
Charges continued to fly over how long Republican leaders in the House of Representatives knew about the inappropriate behavior of Mark Foley, who quit his House seat over revelations that he had a history of making sexual overtures to underage male congressional aides.
Kirk Fordham, a close friend of Foley, resigned Wednesday as chief of staff for Tom Reynolds, a powerful House Republican leader, to protect Reynolds from being further implicated in charges of covering up Foley's allegedly predatory behaviour against teenage pages in the House.
Reynolds and Fordham are accused of concealing information about Foley's activities, and Fordham said he feared his ties to the disgraced lawmaker could affect Reynold's tough bid for reelection in November's midterm polls.
"I want it to be perfectly clear that I never attempted to prevent any inquiries or investigation of Foley's conduct by House officials or any other authorities," said Fordham.
"It is clear the Democrats are intent on making me a political issue in my boss's race, and I will not let them do so," Fordham said in a statement.
But the scandal took a new turn late Wednesday when ABC News reported that Fordham said he had informed Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert's own top aide nearly three years ago about Foley's inappropriate behavior, and that Hastert was aware of it.
The widening scandal has increased pressure on the Republicans as they risk losing control of Congress for the first time since 1994 heading into mid-term elections on November 7.
The party already looked likely to lose Foley's once rock-solid Florida seat to the Democrats, which he had captured in part on his strong record as a defender of children's rights against sexual predators.
Ironically Foley could potentially face charges over his behaviour based on laws he himself helped get through Congress as part of a House group addressing child abuse.
Many leading Republicans rejected Foley's explanation that his advances and lurid emails and text messages to the pages, at least one aged only 16, were in some way related to sexual abuse he claimed to have suffered at the hands of a clergy member when he was a teenager.
"He has defamed himself, he has defamed this Congress," said two prominent Republicans, Representative Mike Pence (news, bio, voting record) and Joe Pitts in a joint statement.
"Worse than any of these, he has violated the trust and innocence of a number of young people."
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a senior member of the opposition Democrats, said heads should roll in the scandal, which is "replete with violations of the public trust."
"It is clear that there was knowledge of improper, immoral, and possibly criminal behavior, and the leadership did nothing about it. That leadership should go," said Feinstein.
But Republicans rallied around beleaguered Hastert and rejected calls that he be removed.
At a press conference Tuesday, Foley's attorney David Roth revealed that the former lawmaker was undergoing treatment not just for alcoholism but for the effects of abuse.
"Based upon the experts I spoke to, the combination of alcohol and mental illness can result in inappropriate conduct which Mark Foley has fully accepted responsibility for," Roth said.
"He is extremely apologetic ... to his party and to his country and to the people that he feels he's let down," he said.
Roth added that his client had been molested "between the ages of 13 and 15," but had "never had sexual contact with a minor."
That was backed up by most accounts from House officials and former pages who spurned his advances. The pages, who perform minor jobs in the Congress, had been warned away from Foley more than once.
However, ABC television on Tuesday released details of a possible intimate relationship between Foley and a young male page.