Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., says she was not told about suggestive e-mails that a Florida congressman sent to a 16-year-old former Capitol page, even though she is one of three representatives who oversee the page program. [...]Several high-ranking House Republicans have known about the e-mails for months, including Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., chairman of the House Page Board.
Late last year, Shimkus met with Foley about the e-mails. But Shimkus never told Capito or the board's other member, Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., about them until Friday, according to all three.
"There's only three of us on the page board. I feel that we should have been informed," Capito said. "I'm absolutely disgusted by what I'm hearing. I was caught totally unaware." [...]
Capito said she would have been very concerned if she had read those e-mails.
"I don't think it would pass the sniff test," she said. "Even asking those questions -- that is not normal between a 52-year-old adult and a 16-year-old. It's not like they're family friends or anything. I think it would raise some serious questions. But I wasn't given that opportunity."
Late last year, Shimkus and former House Clerk Jeff Tandahl met privately with Foley to talk about the e-mails, but did not tell the other House Page Board members or launch an investigation.
Hastert -- unbelievably -- is changing his story yet again, trying to claim that the House leadership "didn't know." That's a flat lie. There have now been at least two high-level GOP figures, Boehner and Reynolds, who gave direct quotes to the press saying Hastert personally knew about the Foley "problem". Boehner then rather astonishingly called up the Washington Post to retract his previous quote -- but Reynolds didn't, and Hastert has pointedly refused to dispute Reynold's assertion.
The undisputed facts here are these: the GOP pages (but not the Democratic pages) were "warned" about Foley as of 2001. Alexander, Shimkus, Reynolds, Boehner, Tandahl, and Hastert, at minimum, knew about the problem. It came up very directly again in late 2005, and there are stories in the press describing Hastert and the others as discussing the problem multiple times between then and the spring of 2006.
And nothing happened. Hastert himself knew, his office knew, and a sizable chunk of the leadership knew -- and they just didn't do nothing, they prevented the usual channels from even investigating the claims. As Capito says, it doesn't pass the sniff test.