As I’ve said before, this scandal doesn’t have legs for a very simple reason. You want scandal, you’ve got to shock. And congressmen having sex of any stripe with pages is shocking.
Although maybe not as much as we might wish:
The former clerk of the House of Representatives, Jeff Trandahl, who testified for more than four hours before the House Ethics Committee today, is believed to have testified that a top aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert was informed of “all issues dealing with the page program,” according to a Republican familiar with the investigation.
The Republican source said Trandahl planned to name Ted Van Der Meid, the speaker’s counsel and floor manager, as the person who was briefed on a regular basis about any issue that arose in the page program, including a “problem group of members and staff who spent too much time socializing with pages outside of official duties.” One of whom was Mark Foley.
Fun facts about Van Der Meid from last week’s WaPo:
Van Der Meid is the relative newcomer — he came to the speaker’s office after guiding the ethics committee’s probe of then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). Known by some as the mayor of the House, Van Der Meid has the institutional knowledge of the chamber’s customs. He handles legal matters but has been known to intervene angrily on a shade of carpet or which paintings to hang on the Capitol’s walls.
I feel obliged to note that. WaPo’s gone out of its way lately to insinuate that various Republican staffers — as well as Dennis Hastert himself — are gay, and such diligence should not languish in obscurity.
That’s Foley in the foreground, of course. And over his shoulder? Jerry Weller of Illinois.
The only thing I love more than America is coincidence.