Mark 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 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?"
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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