The Ethics Committee report is out. Verdict: no rules were broken but all parties involved could have and should have known what was going on. The Blotter, appropriately, has the most complete account:
The report states that as “a general matter,” the committee “observed a disconcerting unwillingness to take responsibility for resolving issues regarding Rep. Foley’s conduct…Almost no one followed up adequately on the limited actions they did take.” Other than one congressman and his staff, the committee says, no one in the House responsible for Foley’s conduct actually saw any of the e-mails…
It states that the committee “was distrubed by the conduct of those who dealt with allegations regarding the conduct of former Representative Foley. When confronted with such allegations, the response of some individuals was limited to that necessary to shift notice and responsibility to those they believed more responsible for dealing with such matters.”
Jeff Trandahl, the former House clerk, allegedly knew as far as back as ten years ago. Why the cover up?
“Some may have been concerned that raising the issue too aggressivelty might have risked exposing Rep. Foley’s homosexuality, which could have adversely affected him both personally and politically,” the report states, adding that “political considerations played a role in decisions” by both Democrats and Republicans.
Democrats and Republicans? Yeah — according to a separate article at the Blotter, page 76 of the report states that the communications directors for the House Democratic Caucus and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee each had copies in the fall of 2005 of the famous e-mail in which Foley asked a former page to send him a picture of himself. Hastert’s office learned of that e-mail around the same time but did basically nothing, despite the fact that they had heard rumors about him before. The article continues, “there is no follow-up to the brief one sentence mention on page 76 that powerful Democratic committees also knew about the e-mails except to note that Matt Miller, the House Democratic Caucus staff member, sent the e-mails at some pont to various news organizations.”
Meanwhile, Jim Kolbe might or might not have suppressed evidence about when he first learned of Foley’s “tendencies” and, according to Trandahl, might or might not have a little page problem himself.
As for Foley himself, it looks like he’ll skate. He knew the law well enough to stay, barely, on the right side of it.
CREW calls the report a whitewash.