Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved quickly to snuff out “PageGate II”, the revelations that the House Page Board has been getting timely information.
These are the same charges that dogged Republicans last year after the Mark Foley scandal broke. House leadership knew but didn’t do anything.
Now it seems that those charges are back, even though the leadership of the House has changed from Republican hands into that of the Democrats.
Two members of the board resigned last week, calling attention to recent misbehavior of the pages that wasn’t received by the Board “in a timely manner”.
Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) and Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) both quit the Board after revelations of page misconduct that was known by the House leadership, but left the Board out of the loop. This is the same charge hurled at Republicans when the Foley news broke late last year.
“It is with great regret and a heavy heart that I announce my intention to resign as a member of the House Page Board,” Capito said through a spokesman.
“I looked forward to the opportunity to reform a very valuable program. Unfortunately, the problems with communication between board members that plagued the program in the past have only continued under new House leadership.
“Members of this board cannot productively tackle problems that may occur with our pages when questionable incidents are held from members of the Page Board.
“There have been numerous occurrences this year in which board members have not received timely information, and it is my belief that to move forward we must start fresh with a truly open dialogue.”
Capito and Waite resigned to protest what they called lax oversight.
Five Congressional pages have been involved in misdeeds recently: two were expelled for shoplifting. The items shoplifted were “a large amount of merchandise; not a stick of gum”, according to a spokesman for Capito.
Two pages — usually high school juniors who serve Congress as messengers — have been dismissed for allegedly having oral sex in public areas of their Capitol Hill dormitory.
“It wasn’t kissing and hugging — let me put it that way,” said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Florida, last week. “It did go beyond that. There were not only a young male and female involved, but there were also observers and other page participants who were, let’s say, enablers.”
Just last week, another page was “involved in a fist fight” and also expelled.
Capito was cheered by news of the investigation.
“I applaud the Minority Leader and the Speaker for addressing this issue in a bipartisan manner,” said Rep. Capito.
“A program designed for young people truly deserves such a bipartisan – even nonpartisan – approach.”
A year ago, questions about what Republican leaders knew about Foley’s communications with former male pages and when they knew it cost GOP candidates at the polls.
Now, with sex and pages in the news on the Democrats’ watch, Pelosi appears to be trying to minimize the political fallout by bringing House Republican Leader John A. Boehner into the loop.
Pelosi and Boehner emerged from a meeting Thursday over allegations of sexual and criminal activity by pages with a rare joint statement directing the House Inspector General to conduct an independent investigation.
“We expect the Inspector General to gather the facts and recommend the appropriate and necessary corrective actions to be taken by the House,” they said. “We will also work together to select a highly regarded, independent entity to conduct a thorough review of the Page Program’s organization and operation, and make recommendations concerning its long-term future.”
The move follows reports that two pages engaged in oral sex in front of other pages at their Capitol Hill dormitory. The criminal allegations involve shoplifting. At least four pages have been sent home this year for misconduct.
Page Gate II: page misconduct and the leadership appears to have known about it without informing the people responsible for oversight of the page program.
We heard about this last year. We were told changes were made and the results would be different.
It appears that something is wrong again. The circumstances are similar.
What remains to be seen is if the media will engage in the same feeding frenzy as a year ago–when the Republicans were running the show.
Pelosi, Boehner Order Investigation of Page Program
House Investigates Alleged Congressional Page Scandal
Capito Web Site Press Release
Notes, talk with Capito press spokesman, Jonathan Coffin
Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.