Friday, October 06, 2006

Foleygate Revelations

Hastert is sticking to the line that he's done nothing wrong in respect to how he's handled the Foleygate situation. He's going to go down fighting and is naming the usual laundry list of potential shadowy groups/individuals who brought up this mess so close to the election. Fighting back is sure to please folks like Macranger and Mark Levin. House GOPers are also coming to Hastert's defense.

The pollsters are loving this scandal because they think that it shows that the GOP are likely to lose seats over this. I'm not so sure. The House has 435 separate elections, and most of those seats are safe - not going to change hands. Only a small number of seats are competitive, and Democrats need 15 to change hands to give them control in the House. It is doable, but not a certainty. They appear to have improved their odds with Foley resigning, but I don't see much of a carryover to other districts.

CREW is claiming the FBI is attempting a coverup:
The dispute is the latest controversy this week for CREW, a liberal-leaning group that has come under attack from House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and other Republicans because it has received money from a foundation funded by liberal financier George Soros.

CREW held a news conference Monday to announce that in July it had provided the FBI suspicious e-mails between Foley and a former House page. The group criticized the bureau for not taking more aggressive action and asked Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine to investigate the FBI's handling of the case.

Law enforcement officials said then that the e-mails did not provide enough evidence of a possible crime to warrant a full investigation. In the e-mails, Foley praises the physical attributes of one page and asks another teenager for his picture.

In subsequent days, unidentified Justice and FBI officials told reporters that the e-mails provided by CREW were heavily redacted and that the group refused to provide unedited versions to the FBI. One law enforcement official -- speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation -- also told The Washington Post the FBI believed that CREW may have received the e-mails as early as April and that the group refused to tell the FBI how they were obtained.

Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, said copies of the original e-mails she sent to an FBI agent show those assertions to be wrong. Sloan said the agent called to confirm receipt of the e-mails and to ask if one of the parties was Foley.

Sloan said the group sent unedited e-mails to the FBI because "we wanted them to commence an investigation. We're sort of outraged that they're saying anything differently." The group has asked Fine's office to look into the FBI's assertions.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse declined to comment on that issue but defended the FBI's handling of the original e-mails: "The e-mails, while inappropriate, did not contain a criminal predicate to allow the FBI to move forward in an investigation."
Foley's actions, while reprehensible did not rise to the level of criminal acts. Should they have raised all kinds of red flags, including whether Foley should have further contact with pages? Are we into precrime and indicting and convicting people in the court of public opinion on acts that are not yet criminal? It's an interesting ethical quandry that really deserves to be heard in a more thoughtful manner than in the current swirl of scandal and political hackery on all sides.

Pelosi thinks that this is all to her advantage, and if the Democrats emerge from the elections with a majority, she thinks she's the one to clean up the House. Don't get carried away Nancy. You haven't won anything yet, nor have you actually provided any substantive ideas other than "we're not the big bad GOP" on the key issues of the day - terrorism, Iraq, and national security. It doesn't look good when the Democrat leaders in the House are all angling for various investigations, including impeachment hearings.

The House Ethics Committee is investigating the matter, though it appears to be focusing on the leadership and whether they violated any ethical standards.

Three more pages have come forward asserting that Foley made online sexual advances. The continued pubilicity is sure to bring out still others who will assert that Foley acted improperly. Foley, for his part, has already resigned, so the key points to look for are whether Foley actually had physical encounters with underage individuals and whether anyone knew or had reason to know of these encounters and should have reported them to the authorities - whether it was the House leadership, FBI, Capitol Police, or local law enforcement. At this point, it looks like that did not happen.

Allahpundit is seeking a reprieve from the Foleygate mess. I can understand that, but wonder at whether his "suggestion" that Hastert resigns will actually quell the controversy. I don't think it does.

It doesn't; because the media loves a good sex related scandal - even when there hasn't been any actual physical sex. All the alleged incidents involved cybersex or innuendo of cybersex.

And for all that Foley resigned. That solitary seat may be a Democrat pickup. Hastert resigning from his leadership post isn't likely to change his constituents from voting for him. So he'll be back.

Where are the other seats going to come from? The elections in November aren't to select an entire slate for Congress, but 435 separate elections for the House, and 1/3 of the Senate that is currently up for reelection.

The allegations against Hastert thus far is that he didn't manage an investigation and/or didn't do enough once he found out about the situation. I find his leadership of the GOP questionable - especially in the William Jefferson investigation, but if the GOP thinks that Hastert is sufficient to lead the party in the House, that's their call to make after the election. I think they'll find someone else, but that will come after the election, especially since they're rallying around him at this time.

AJ Strata finds some interesting discrepancies in the faxed emails that CREW claims to have sent to the FBI. The dates raise some questions as to what they knew and when. Were the emails tampered with? That's something investigators will certainly have to piece together, though I doubt any findings will be forthcoming before the election.

Did CREW sit on the emails and refuse to provide the FBI with unedited emails upon the Bureau's request? Sources at the Bureau seem to suggest precisely that.

AJ Strata has a timeline posted for those who are trying to figure out what happened and when.

Jordan Edmund, the page whose identity became known as receiving some of Foley's instant messages, has retained Stephen Jones as his attorney. Jones is best known for representing Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing. While Jones wouldn't comment about most aspects of the investigation, he did say the following:
The attorney disputed as “a piece of fiction” a report on a widely viewed Internet site, The Drudge Report, that Edmund’s exchanges with Foley were a prank by the page.
Sauce for the goose.

Prior coverage: Foleygate Reloaded, Foleygate, The Foley Scandal Grows, Has Foley Scandal Gotten Worse?, Rep. Mark Foley Resigns Over Sexually Explicit Emails

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