Sex scandal worsens for Republicans

The scandal that is currently engulfing the US Republican party over the former Congressional children’s caucus leader is getting even worse.

News has now broken that not only did Representative Mark Foley, who resigned on Friday, send sexually explicit emails to a 16 year-old former assistant, but also that senior Republicans knew as early as Autumn of 2005. And despite that, they still left Foley as head of the Congressional children’s caucus.

Mark Foley

Among those with prior knowledge are the House Majority Leader, John A Boehner, and Thomas Reynolds, New York Republican Representative and Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Reynolds also claims that he informed the third most senior Republican in the country, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, of concerns that he shared with the minor’s employer, Louisiana Republican Rodney Alexander. He said, “Despite the fact that I had not seen the e-mails in question, and Mr. Alexander told me that the parents didn’t want the matter pursued, I told the Speaker of the conversation Mr. Alexander had with me.”

It now seems that Republicans knew of earlier emails, going back as far as 2003. At the same time, House Democrats on the committee overseeing the programme on which the teenagers were enrolled were kept in the dark.

The scandal could not come at a worse time for the GOP, less than a month away from the mid-term congressional elections in which the Republicans are expected to make losses and, perhaps, lose control of one or both of the House and Senate.

Foley’s Florida-16 district, until now fairly safe Republican territory, looks vulnerable as his name may have to remain on the ballot and Palm Beach voters may not be too keen to vote for a known paedophile, even if he can be replaced after polling. But if the scandal engulfs the Republican Congressional leadership, their problem becomes far worse.

Update: In an ironic twist, it has emerged that Speaker Hastert was running a campaign to “Keep kids safe in cyberspace” while ignoring predators in his own ranks.

7 Responses to Sex scandal worsens for Republicans

  1. sosialydd says:

    Reynold’s seat is a marginal in Upstate NY. Upstate had been looking worse for GOP incumbents than the suburbs this year anyway

  2. That’s interesting I’ve got some family in a different part of upstate – I’ll have to ask them how things are shaping up.
    I’m not sure how much gubernatorial races impact upon voting patterns for Congress, but if they do, Spitzer will surely enthuse NY Democrats to go to the polls in greater numbers and generally create good mood-music across the state.

  3. Nick says:

    Given how tight the House might be (if it is a good year for the Dems) then just Reynolds’ seat plus Fl-16 could possibly tip the balance.

    It’s looking interesting, but I guess it depends how much the media pick up on this stuff – this would be the scandal of the decade in the UK but the British media have barely covered it so far. Not sure how it’s panning out in the US.

  4. Max says:

    With Spitzer and Hillary both likely to rack up 60%+ in their races, this has got to be the best chance for the Dems in upstate NY for a generation – if they can’t take seats like Reynolds’ in a year like this, then they’ll really have to look at their campaign organisation…

  5. Nick says:

    I’m assuming a possible effect will be to get Dems to the polls – unless people figure the elections are foregone conclusions and they needn’t bother.

    If they can get enough Democratic line-voters to the polls they can nick any marginal House seats as well getting Clinton/Spitzer in.

    Some encouraging polls on the Senate as well, though NJ is looking a bit dodge and you have to wonder if Tennessee will really elect a black Democrat.

  6. tyger says:

    Why is it always the Redneck evangelicals who are the closet perverts?

  7. Nick says:

    I see that Republicans in marginal seats are starting to condemn their own leadership now, with Christopher Shays first to put the boot in.

    Can anyone imagine the farrago if this had happened in Britain? The papers would report nothing else for months…

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