Kirk Fordham Hub




Tim Gill Appoints Republican Kirk Fordham to Lead Action Fund

Tim Gill has named a gay Republican the new head of his Action Fund, the Denver Post reports:

FordhamKirk Fordham, who starts work for Gill in April, is a registered Republican whose first political job was working for then-U.S. Rep. Jim Imhofe, a conservative Oklahoman.

Fordham spent most of his political career on Capitol Hill, where he said he was part of a "gay Republican SWAT team" that worked with moderate Republicans to push back on anti-gay legislative efforts. When former U.S. Rep. Joel Hefley of Colorado Springs sought to overturn a Clinton administration directive to protect federal employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, the team helped defeat the bid.

The Victory Fund adds:

Fordham’s appointment was met with praise from national political leaders who have worked with him, including Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who chairs the Democratic National Committee.  ”Kirk practices a bi-partisan approach to problem-solving that has earned him the respect of many friends on both sides of the aisle.  As we continue our march forward to protect the right of every LGBT person to enjoy every opportunity this nation has to offer, I look forward to working with Kirk to build on the progress that has been made by groups like Gill Action,” said Wasserman Schultz.


Vanity Fair's Mark Foley Page-Turner

Vanity Fair digs into the Mark Foley saga, providing a vivid timeline of events that led up to the congressman's downfall, as well as the damage control attempted by those around him, particularly Jeff Trandahl and Kirk Fordham. Foley's boozed up trips to the page dorm were one of the first real breaking points:

Mfoley_1

Around 2003, Fordham recalls, he took a call from Jeff Trandahl, then clerk of the House: "We have a problem The congressman showed up at the page dorm last night. He appeared to have been drinking, and he was turned away at the door." Fordham remembers agonizing with Trandahl over what to do about this overt display of uncontrolled behavior. Obviously his mild warnings to Foley were not having an impact.

And the moment that everything came unhinged:

After Kello had read Fordham only a few lines, Fordham cried, "Stop! That's all I need to know!" He heard female campaign workers weeping on the other end of the phone. When he hung up, he says he saw Foley, who was joining him on the patio, looking scared. Fordham told him the news.
"Are those instant messages authentic?" he asked Foley, who turned away, mortified.
When Foley looked back, he said, "Probably."
"Probably?"
"Yeah, I'm sure they're real," said Foley.
Nicolson joined them. "Liz, I've been stupid," said the congressman.
"Mark, I don't know how you can go on in this race," said Fordham. "Do you really want to spend the next 40 days of the campaign running around your district explaining sexually explicit e-mails to pages to your constituents?"

Foley_4

Fordham thought he made it clear that his old boss needed to quit, but Foley couldn't bring himself to do that. The N.R.C.C. headquarters was around the corner, and Fordham made it his next stop. There he found Representative Reynolds and Speaker Hastert. But before he could finish relaying the awful news, Reynolds's face got purple and he began to shout, "He needs to resign, and he needs to do it right now!" The Speaker just sat there, silent, according to Fordham: "He didn't react at all. This was weeks before the election, and they're thinking how this is going to impact us."

The gist of the juicy piece is that Foley was a ticking time bomb: "Everyone knew Mark Foley was gay. Everyone. And everyone who had a stake in his success—party, press, parents, staff, supporters, and pages—conspired for their own purposes to keep the closet half closed."

Don't Ask, Don't Email [vanity fair]

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New Anti-Gay RNC Chair Martinez Has No Issue with Gay Staffers

Incoming RNC Chair Mel Martinez, who has been vocal in his opposition to gay marriage and also attacked one of his opponents for supporting hate crimes legislation based on sexual orientation, had no problem hiring (at least two) gay staffers.

Dowless_fordhamJohn Dowless, the former executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, worked for Martinez as a political consultant and arranged lunches with conservative religious leaders for Martinez during his 2004 Senate race.

A top staffer on that Senate campaign was Kirk Fordham, a former chief of staff to sex predator Mark Foley and to Republican Congressman Tom Reynolds, from whose staff he most recently resigned in the wake of the Foley scandal.

As John at AmericaBlog notes: "Of course, in the end, the joke may be on the religious right base of the Republican party. Martinez didn't just have the openly-gay Kirk Fordham as a top aide on his Senate campaign, he also had a second top aide who was gay. Mr. Martinez may play a homophobe on TV, but he doesn't have a problem having key advisers who are openly gay. Which is great. But it also means that Martinez's personal commitment to the anti-gay agenda is more than just a little suspect."


Inebriated, Foley Attempted Access to Page Dorm:
Kirk Fordham to Testify

Mark_foleyMark Foley attempted to gain access to the page dorm in 2000 and again in 2002 and 2003, according to ABC's The Blotter. A former page recalled the first incident: "It was a beautiful summer evening, and I recall Mr. Foley arriving in his blue Series 3 BMW convertible about 9:30 at night. Several of us saw him and went outside to chat." The page said that soon after leaving the program he began receiving emails and IMs from Foley (none of which were retained): "I would turn on my instant messenger, and he would be online at all hours of the day or night. The talk would quickly turn sexual."

The Blotter also reports, "According to Newsweek Magazine, it was the report of a similar nighttime visit by an inebriated Foley to the page dorm sometime in 2002 or 2003 that caused Foley's then Chief of Staff, Kirk Fordham, to alert Speaker Hastert's office to the congressman's inappropriate actions, a warning Hastert's office now says they never received."

Fordham_1Fordham is due to testify before a House Ethics panel today:

"A source familiar with his account of events told CNN that Fordham will say he notified Scott Palmer, Hastert's chief of staff, three or four years ago about a report that Foley had shown up drunk at the dormitory that houses the teenage messengers. CNN was told by two sources familiar with Fordham's account and a third, independent source that Fordham maintains he arranged a meeting between Foley and Palmer about that report and accounts of other behavior Fordham found troubling. In a statement last week, Palmer denied Fordham's account, insisting that 'what Kirk Fordham said did not happen.' He has made no further public comment."

Another page, Richard Nguyen, told The Michigan Daily yesterday that he witnessed Foley "pat a male page's behind" on the House floor, but the page did not report the activities:

"At the time, the then-16-year-old thought it was 'questionable activity,' but he was unsure how to interpret it. 'I wasn't sure if it was a social norm I wasn't accustomed to,' Nguyen said. 'I mean, you see athletes patting each other's asses all the time on the field.'"

Added Nguyen, "We always saw that Mr. Foley was very friendly to male pages. There were signs, for an observer like myself, but I never knew what I know now...If there were people who knew that the pages were being sexually harassed, you have to ask yourself. Are these the right people to be in charge of young people and to be in charge of our country?"

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

road.jpg Foley reportedly had decided to retire from the House in early 2006 and set up shop as a lobbyist, but was pressured into running again by Karl Rove: "According to the source, Foley said he was being pressured by 'the White House and Rove gang,' who insisted that Foley run. If he didn't, Foley was told, it might impact his lobbying career. 'He said, 'The White House made it very clear I have to run,'' explains Foley's friend, adding that Foley told him that the White House promised that if Foley served for two more years it would 'enhance his success' as a lobbyist. "I said, 'I thought you wanted out of this?' And he said, 'I do, but they're scared of losing the House and the thought of two years of Congressional hearings, so I have two more years of duty.'"

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