Last week I posted that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had put in a request with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to try to gain access to House computers in their criminal investigation of former Florida Rep. Mark Foley and his communications with underage pages.
That request has been denied.
Yesterday, the Palm Beach Post published an opinion piece arguing that investigator’s should have access to the machines:
“Unfortunately, members of Congress have tried to use the ‘speech or debate’ clause to avoid searches for incriminating material. A federal appeals court ruling this summer, associated with the Jefferson case, extended congressional rights so far that the Justice Department correctly has appealed it. Prosecutors fear that the ruling might prevent them from speaking with congressional aides, a practice vital to probes into the dealings of imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The effect on Foley’s case isn’t clear, since the FDLE is not a federal agency. Still, the state now should go to court, because there remains a workable solution. Rep. Pelosi should allow the FDLE access. Foley should be allowed to declare which files he thinks are protected. If a judge agrees, those files would be withheld. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, has the correct perspective: ‘I don’t think any of us are above the law,’ he said. ‘If there was a law that was broken, they should turn it over.’ A lawmaker’s legislative materials should be off-limits. But we already know that Foley sent all those lewd messages to former pages. In a milder exchange, he said of a teenager’s shorts, ‘Love to slip them off of you.’ That remark has nothing to do with lawmaking. The public deserves to know whether it had to do with law-breaking.”