Hastert, Kolbe Continue to Spin Foley Scandal:
Republican Leaders Contradict Earlier Statements

House Speaker Dennis Hastert held a press conference in front of a graveyard yesterday, attempting to deflect blame for the congressional page scandal that has thrown the Republican Party into turmoil. Hastert denied that he knew anything about the inappropriate emails before last Friday and that the indiscretions between Foley and the pages did not happen while pages were in Washington.

Said Hastert: “I didn’t think anybody at any time in my office did anything wrong. I found out about these revelations last Friday, that is the first information I had about it.”

Unfortunately for Hastert, Kirk Fordham, the former chief of staff to House Republican campaign committee chair Thomas Reynolds and former aide to Mark Foley came forward last week and said that he had asked Hastert’s office “to intervene” after revelations of Foley’s inappropriate behavior became known sometime between 2001 and 2003.

So, who are we to believe, Fordham or a House Speaker backed into a corner? Said Fordham last week: “I have no congressman and no office to protect.”

“The problem we have to do today is, you know, this didn’t happen under our wa–, while pages were in Washington,” said Hastert. “It happened after these people left, in my understanding, left the page program, at least the ones we’re dealing with now, left the program and they were contacted after they left the program.”

Unfortunately for Hastert, we know that pages were warned about Foley as early as 2001.

Can Hastert continue to spread these falsehoods and get away with it?

Listen to the Speaker (left) offer this piece of advice to a youth program for aspiring politicians:

“Another important thing is—especially in politics—is trust. I mean, if people don’t trust ya, if you don’t develop that trust and that type of relationship, that you’re a person they can trust, that your word is your bond…y’know, that is so important. Y’know, a lot of people say, ‘Well, politicians, they’ll tell you anything.’ Well, y’know, politicians that tell people anything don’t last very long.”

This video is part of a series of interviews featuring Republican congressman collected by blogger Matthew Rettenmund, done for the web program Streaming Futures, produced by youth for youth. The interviews are meant to offer “free career advice from industry leaders.” Check the videos of Hastert and congressman Jim Kolbe out here.

Speaking of openly gay Arizona Republican Jim Kolbe, a man who is growing closer to the page scandal the more we learn, he issued a statement yesterday that directly contradicted the statement given by his spokesperson Korenna Cline on Sunday.

KolbeYesterday, Kolbe said, according to the Washington Post, that “he did not see the messages ‘and was not told they were sexually explicit.’ On Monday, the same paper had reported on a press conference by Kolbe’s spokesperson Cline, who said that Kolbe knew about Mark Foley’s indiscretions and had contacted him directly.

Huh? What are we to believe here?

CNN confirmed yesterday that Kolbe was a member of the page board when he first learned of Foley’s inappropriate emails.

Another interesting piece of information that dropped yesterday, via AmericaBlog, is that Kolbe and Foley were both in contact with the same page, Jordan Edmund, who sent the original Foley emails. Edmund was close enough to Kolbe, in fact, to make use of his Washington home while Kolbe was out of town.

More on this as it comes in…

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Barney Frank: “Gay GOP Like Secret Jews” [tr]
Hastert Asked “To Intervene” on Foley Three Years Ago [tr]
Mark Foley’s Indiscretions Began in ’95, as did Cover-Up [tr]
Foley is Gay, Says Attorney; Was Molested by Clergyman as Teenager [tr]
The Talk: Foley, Jon Stewart, Hastert, Bay Buchanan [tr]
Mark Foley Scandal Updates [tr]
Investigations Begin into Cover-up Surrounding Mark Foley: Republican Leaders Knew of Misdeeds for Five Years, Did Nothing [tr]
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