PALLONE: GOP LEADERS SHOULD STEP ASIDE FROM THEIR LEADERSHIP POSITIONS UNTIL FOLEY INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETE
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) issued the following statement today urging House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-NY) to step down from their leadership positions until a federal investigation is complete into what they knew and what actions they took regarding former Rep. Mark Foley's improper and potentially illegal interactions with House Pages.
"Former congressman Mark Foley's actions were egregious, inappropriate and potentially illegal. When parents send their children to Washington to participate in this rewarding and unique program they put their trust in us to protect the pages while they are working for Congress.
"Over the weekend, it became clear that Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader Boehner and Tom Reynolds, the chairman of the Republican campaign committee, were all informed about these emails at least six months ago. According to news reports, their only response to the emails was to ask the Republican head of the Page Program, John Shimkus, to tell Foley to break off communication with the teen.
"At no time did Republican leaders apparently find it necessary to investigate whether this was an isolated incident or if it was more widespread. Republican leaders also chose not to tell Rep. Dale Kildee, the Democratic member of the House Page Board, about the Foley emails. Other reports have surfaced that House pages have been warned for years about Congressman Foley, and were told to keep a distance from him. If this is indeed true, why didn't the emails set off an intense investigation into Foley's interactions with House pages?
"The sad fact is that House Republican leaders put the safety of their House majority before the safety of the teenage pages. Their inaction is now appropriately the subject of a federal investigation, but these House Republican leaders potentially betrayed the American trust and should therefore step down from their leadership positions until the federal investigation is complete. Then, after all the facts are in, House Republicans can decide if they believe these three men are really worthy of leading their party."