"House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's chief of staff confronted then-Rep. Mark Foley about his inappropriate social contact with male pages well before the speaker said aides in his office took any action, a current congressional staff member with personal knowledge of Foley and his behavior with pages said yesterday.* josh:
The staff member said Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, met with the Florida Republican at the Capitol to discuss complaints about Foley's behavior toward pages. The alleged meeting occurred long before Hastert says aides in his office dispatched Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.) and the clerk of the House in November 2005 to confront Foley about troubling e-mails he had sent to a Louisiana boy.
The staff member's account buttresses the position of Foley's onetime chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, who said earlier this week that he had appealed to Palmer in 2003 or earlier to intervene, after Fordham's own efforts to stop Foley's behavior had failed. Fordham said Foley and Palmer, one of the most powerful figures in the House of Representatives, met within days to discuss the allegations.
New Jersey's Thomas H. Kean Jr., whose candidacy offers the GOP its most promising hope to take a Senate seat from a Democrat in November, called for Hastert's resignation yesterday, as did the editorial page of the Los Angeles Times.
Sources close to Fordham say Trandahl repeatedly urged the longtime aide and close family friend to confront Foley about his inappropriate advances on pages. Each time, Foley pledged to no longer socialize with the teenagers, but, weeks later, Trandahl would again alert Fordham about more contacts. Out of frustration, the sources said, Fordham contacted Palmer, hoping that an intervention from such a powerful figure in the House would persuade Foley to stop.
Palmer, who shares a townhouse with Hastert when they are in town, is more powerful than all but a few House members. Members know that he speaks for Hastert.
Trandahl's departure came within days of his confrontation with Foley over e-mails that the congressman had sent a former page. House aides say the circumstances of Trandahl's exit were oddly quiet. The departure of a staff member of long standing, especially one as important as the House clerk, is usually marked with considerable fanfare... Trandahl's departure was marked by a one-minute salute from Shimkus and a brief insert into the Congressional Record."
"Looks like Denny Hastert's Chief of Staff, Scott Palmer, is in a heap of trouble.Hang on Denny. Hang on. Baby steps, baby steps. Let's aim to still be there on Wednesday, and then let's try to eke out a few more days after that. Let's see how many more A1s and "resign Denny' editorials we can get across the country.
Pretty clear a lotta this story has yet to unfold.
But I guess that's what next week is for."