In all the media fuss about whether the GOP House leadership knew about former representative Mark Foley's behavior, hardly anyone in the press seems interested in whether Democrats knew about the story and declined to expose Foley's conduct, thus "putting at risk" the congressional pages in the way we constantly hear that Speaker Hastert and others did.
Turns out, Democrats did know about Foley's antics. According to Ken Silverstein, a writer for the liberal Harper's magazine, he was approached with the story way back in the month of May--by a Democrat.
House Majority Leader John Boehner has charged that the release of
the Foley documents so close to the elections “is concerning, at a
minimum.” Meanwhile, accounts I've heard about the FBI's initial
inquiries suggest the bureau is as interested in uncovering how the
story came to public attention as it is in investigating Foley's
Republican leadership is lying when they claim that Democrats have
engineered an “October Surprise”; there was never a plan undermine the
G.O.P. or to destroy Hastert personally, as the speaker has
vaingloriously suggested. I know this with absolute certainty because
Harper’s was offered the story almost five months ago and decided,
after much debate, not to run it here on Washington Babylon.
a source put me in touch with a Democratic operative who provided me
with the now-infamous emails that Foley had sent in 2004 to a
sixteen-year-old page. He also provided several emails that the page
sent to the office of Congressman Rodney Alexander, a Louisiana
Republican who had sponsored him when he worked on Capitol Hill. “Maybe
it is just me being paranoid, but seriously, This freaked me out,” the
page wrote in one email. In the fall of 2005, my source had provided
the same material to the St. Petersburg Times—and I presume to The Miami Herald—both which decided against publishing stories.
was a Democrat who brought me the emails, but comments he made and
common sense strongly suggest they were originally leaked by a
Republican office. And while it's entirely possible that Democratic
officials became aware of the accusations against Foley, the source was
not working in concert with the national Democratic Party. This person
was genuinely disgusted by Foley's behavior, amazed that other
publications had declined to publish stories about the emails, and
concerned that Foley might still be seeking contact with pages.
Despite Silverstein's attempt to spin things leftward, the fact remains: Democrats knew about Mark Foley and his affinity for congressional pages. Don't look for it to be reported on tonight's news, though.