In early 2006 no less. And the Wash Post has revealed that his staff knew about it in the fall of last year. Yet nothing was done about it.
Now, of course Hastert is saying that he only found out about this story last week, but the problem he’s running into is that not only has Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.) gone on the record as saying he notified him about the situation, but House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has also said that when he found out about the questionable emails (not the IMs) in the late Spring, he told Hastert about them and Hastert made it apparent he already knew about them.
Now, to be fair to the GOP, it appears as if the emails were not anywhere close to what the IM sessions have revealed about Foley’s behavior. However, I think the following piece of information may be the most damning of all. See, when all this came about the chairman of the House Page Board, Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.) was notified, but he didn’t tell the Democrat on the Board, Rep. Dale E. Kildee (D-Mich.), about the situation.
Ladies and gentleman, my prediction is that this will absolutely destroy the G.O.P.’s chances of holding onto the House in the fall. It’s over.
I’ll have more as it unfolds.
Ed Morrissey has some suggestions for the GOP:
I cannot tell CQ readers how disgusted I am with Speaker Hastert. Reynolds is no fringe nutcase; he’s the man Hastert trusted to run the midterm re-elections of the Republican caucus. He has no reason to lie, but Hastert apparently did. This also calls into question Boehner’s earlier reversal, when he denied saying that he informed Hastert after Hastert denied knowing of Foley’s activities.
Hastert should have been a man from the beginning and admit that he knew about Foley. Now he has destroyed any credibility left in his Speakership, and he has only compounded the embarrassment for the GOP caucus. Foley’s actions reflect on Foley alone, but thanks to Hastert and perhaps Boehner, the aftermath will reflect on all Republicans in the House.
Republicans have to act swiftly to remove the stench of Foleygate from the party. They need to demand the resignation of Hastert as Speaker, as well as Boehner as Majority Leader if he lied to protect Hastert. Allowing Foley off the hook was a mistake in judgment, but this is a betrayal of those who trusted Hastert to lead the House with dignity, honesty, and integrity.
Dollars to donuts, Hastert will stay.