Democratic Leadership Knew About Foley E-mails

Brian Ross reports that, “The House Ethics Committee Report includes new information that top Democrats were also aware in 2005 of Mark Foley’s inappropriate e-mails to congressional pages at about the same time as outgoing Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office was informed.”

I’m not sure what to make of that, really. The presumption was always that Hastert and company chose to cover up the scandal for political reasons. The only way politics could explain the Democrats’ keeping silent for so long was to keep it for closer to the election, which would be repugnant. That did not happen, however; the information was leaked by a Republican.

So, what explains this? Is there an institutional mindset that this sort of thing is permissible? Or did people honestly read the initial e-mails and think they were not particularly serious?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anon says:

    Hm…another possibility is that maybe the Democrats saw no real political advantage to leaking the sordid tale at that point. After all, at that point, it was just the case of a single congressman behaving inappropriately. If leaked, the Republicans could take decisive action, and might even come out looking good for putting the safety of children above politics.

  2. I look at the initial emails and can easily see how people would not see a red flag. Or to put it another way, if you would censure someone for those emails (absent the other information), then invest in wood futures as witch burning will be coming back in style.

  3. Bithead says:

    One more advantage you guys missed:

    The answer can only be that their method of obtaining said documents, would be discovered. If I recall correctly, there was an awful lot in the way of document leakage from one side of the house to the other this last time around. It was said, that this was one of the reasons that the republicans were less effective than they might have been.

    In short, they got the goods on Foley, by illicit means… Means they didn’t want to lose the advantage of. In short, their political advantage, was worth more to them than ‘saving the children’.

  4. Nikolay says:

    Democrats sent e-mails to newspapers in 2005, pretty much as soon as they learned about them, so what’s the point? They didn’t keep silent.