Friday, October 13, 2006

Hastert's Former Chief of Staff Says Hastert Knew of Foley Concerns in 2002

The chief congressional overseer of House pages, who says he tried to stop ex-Rep. Mark Foley from e-mailing a Louisiana page in late 2005, was questioned Friday by House investigators.

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., who testified behind closed doors, has said he kept the two other House members overseeing the pages in the dark as he confronted Foley last fall. Shimkus, chairman of the House Page Board, said he was following the wishes of the boy's parents by not telling the other two lawmakers who oversee the high school page program.

A four-member ethics investigating panel, operating in closed session, is hearing key witnesses with knowledge of how Republicans handled several alarms raised about Foley's conduct over the past five years. The Florida Republican resigned Sept. 29 after he was confronted with sexually explicit instant messages sent to former male pages.

Foley's one-time chief of staff testified before the investigative panel for nearly five hours Thursday. Kirk Fordham has said publicly that he raised alarms with House Speaker Dennis Hastert's top aide nearly three years ago.

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