- one hour a day for the last four days before the election, and
- two hours on Election Day, November 7th.
Monday, October 30, 2006
The lawyer, John Morgan, heads Morgan & Morgan, which specializes in personal injury cases, among other things.
The Bar complaint against Morgan & Morgan does not mention Kottkamp. But it could ruffle the traditional Republican political base of medical, insurance and business interests that have fought for limits on personal-injury lawsuits.
The complaint was filed last year by another trial lawyer, J. Steele Olmstead of Tampa. Olmstead claims that Morgan's firm was soliciting accident victims through the 1st Health company headed by chiropractor Gary Kompothecras, whose TV ads urge injured viewers to call 1-800-ASK-GARY.
POSED AS VICTIM
Olmstead said he called 1st Health posing as an accident victim. About an hour later, Olmstead said, he received a call from a paralegal at the Morgan & Morgan law firm.
''I'm not trying to attack him. I just want him to play by the rules,'' said Olmstead, who added that he does not advertise.
Olmstead's complaint to the Bar claims Morgan & Morgan may be paying ''kickbacks'' to Kompothecras for the referrals but says he has no direct knowledge of any such payments.
Florida Bar rules forbid lawyers from soliciting clients in person or through a third party. And state law says it is a third-degree felony for anyone to offer money in exchange for patient referrals to anyone, including a lawyer.
Kompothecras and Morgan have denied any wrongdoing. Asked about the investigation, John Morgan told The Miami Herald: The thing with ASK-GARY is over with us. The Bar just closed the file.''
However, Florida Bar spokeswoman Francine Walker said Thursday that the investigation is ongoing.
Morgan said his firm resolved the issue by agreeing to send an attorney to a three-hour class on advertising. He dismissed the complaint as one of dozens lodged each year by disgruntled potential clients and competitors who dislike his aggressive advertising.
NO MORE CASES
He also said the firm does not ''take any more cases'' from Kompothecras' company. ''The Bar has sent this letter to 100 other law firms,'' Morgan said. This referral service is not just us. I don't even know [Kompothecras]. He advertises his services and then refers cases out to attorneys.''
He added: 'It's such a minor thing. We said, Do you end it, or do you let it go on?' ''
Kompothecras said he did nothing wrong. He said people who call the phone number are asked if they need a lawyer. If they say yes, they are offered a referral.
''We provide a service,'' he said. We're not trying to scam anyone.''
Through a campaign spokeswoman, Kottkamp said he had heard about the complaint but wasn't familiar with the details
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson -- ahead in the polls and in fundraising -- transferred another $250,000 to the Florida Democratic Party on Thursday, a sign that his campaign is confident of a win and in his ability to help his party.Nelson already had given $250,000 to the state party in September and raised another $600,000 for the party and tight races for governor, attorney general and chief financial officer.The Orlando Democrat also raised or donated $1.2 million to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, bringing his total contribution to the party in the 2006 elections to $2.3 million.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Mandy Dawson With Crist
Earns Support of Three Major Newspapers
Tim Mahoney, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress in Florida’s 16th District has received newspaper endorsements from The Charlotte Sun Herald, The Palm Beach Post and The Sarasota Herald Tribune. With fourteen days left until Election Day, Mahoney has proven himself to be a moderate voice and the change Washington desperately needs.
"I am honored to have received these endorsements. I will be a moderate voice for all Floridians and will work across the aisle to restore personal responsibility and fiscal responsibility to Washington and get America back on track. It is time for change and I am the candidate who will deliver that change for Florida voters," Tim Mahoney said.
The Charlotte Herald Sun – "Mahoney has a businessman’s approach to government – look at all the data and make the best decision. He is strong on fiscal conservatism and has pledged to work with Republicans to change the course on spending and to better secure our borders and our ports – two priorities he says have not been funded by the current administration. We are impressed with Tim Mahoney’s moderate, business-like approach to government."
The Palm Beach Post – "The man with a fresher perspective is Mr. Mahoney, owner of Palm Beach Gardens financial services company and first-time candidate." "Lack of change seems certain with Rep. Negron. The Post recommends Mr. Mahoney, to give change a chance."
The Sarasota Herald Tribune – There are better reasons to vote for Mahoney, "He runs a successful financial services business, will push Florida as a center for the production of alternative energy, espouses balanced policies on immigration (similar to those that gained bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate), urges a change of course in Iraq but not an abrupt retreat, and supports women’s reproductive rights."
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Entering Tuesday's first Florida gubernatorial debate, the race has tightened to a statistical dead heat, with 46 percent of likely voters for State Attorney General Charlie Crist, the Republican, and 44 percent for U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, the Democrat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Eight percent of voters are undecided and 11 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind before Election Day.
The change from an October 10 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe- ack) University, showing Crist ahead 53 43 percent, is almost all because of a 21-point shift to Rep. Davis among independent voters who went from 50 43 percent for Crist to 50 36 percent for Davis. Davis leads among Democrats 74 19 percent, while Crist is ahead among Republicans 85 8 percent.
There also is a large gender gap, with men backing the Republican 56 34 percent and women backing the Democrat 54 38.
The Florida Governors election is now a real horse race," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. It took Jim Davis a while to introduce himself to Florida voters, but he seems to have broken through and made a positive impression on many Floridians to whom he was until recently an unknown.
In the poll two weeks ago, 57 percent of Florida voters said they did not know enough about Davis to be able to say whether they viewed him favorably or unfavorably.
In this latest survey, Florida voters give Davis a 35 22 percent favorability, with 19 percent mixed and 23 percent who havent heard enough to form an opinion.
Crist gets a 48 19 percent favorability, with 21 percent mixed and 10 percent who dont know enough to form an opinion. That compares to a 42 14 percent favorability October 10.
Because of his financial disadvantage, Jim Davis was late in getting on television. But obviously now that his ads have been on the air he has made significant progress, said Brown. The large swing among independent voters may also reflect a national Democratic wave that seems to be taking hold around the country.
Although women generally vote more Democratic and men more Republican, the size of the gender gap in the governor's race is extraordinary.
In the last two weeks, Davis has hit a chord with women. He had been tied with Crist among female voters; now he leads by 16 points. It isn't enough to offset Crists 22 point lead among men, but it has gotten him back in the game, said Brown.
From October 18 22, Quinnipiac University surveyed 816 Florida likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
With polls still showing him up 11 points (albeit narrowing) Florida's Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Charlie Crist, is trying to run out the clock until Election Day.
He will hold two debates with Democrat Jim Davis, but
only behind a podium. Florida Politics calls this pusillanimous,
lacking courage. He has also been changing his positions on keyissues,including felons' voting rights, in tune he says with the public mood.
Mainly Crist has been portraying himself as a populist, a friend of the little guy, allowing hard-right staffers from Governor Jeb Bush to cross over to the legislature. And it's working. The state's newspapers note that he's picking up substantial black and latino
support (not just the Cubans either). State Democrats admit to
being worried. Others say they're disgusted with their candidate.
Can Crist run out the clock? It depends partly on the "gay issue," which is now bubbling
into newspapers. Republicans note that Crist did not make his reputation as
a gay-basher, but still deny he is, in fact, gay.
If that stance can keep working for two weeks, and Crist wins, maybe he can
come out at the podium.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Miami Herald -- October 18, 2006
by Mary Ellen Klas
Sunday, October 15, 2006
One of the most audacious and cynical attacks on the rights of Florida voters will appear as ''Amendment 3'' on the Nov. 7 ballot.A coalition of powerful special interest groups wants to amend the state Constitution to make it harder to -- of all things -- amend the state Constitution. To thwart grass-roots movements that threaten their chokehold on the Tallahassee power structure, the promoters of Amendment 3 want the ruleschanged so that all future amendments will require 60 percent of the popularvote, instead of the current simple majority.
Is Crist trying to avoid a Hardball moment?
Sunday, October 08, 2006
in tongues but could not specify specific policies - in any language, living or
Earlier this summer Ms Harris told the Florida Baptist Witness newsletter that
Christians should be involved in politics because otherwise legislative bodies
would "legislate sin," and that the separation of church and state is
"a lie we have been told," while showing symptoms of stigmata.
Ms Harris spokeswoman Jennifer Marks defended the congresswoman's comments.
"She was simply drawing a comparison between herself as a practicing
Fundamentalist Christian and the incumbent who is allegedly a pagan idolater
and who may or may not be gay, and that we can neither confirm or deny is
virtually an al-Qaeda
candidate with a list of misdemeanors a mile long. It's up to people to look
into their Bibles and making an informed decision.''
With about a month to go before the Nov. 7 election, Harris trails Nelson by
double digits in most polls, much to the relief of Democrats and Republicans
alike. She has had a disastrous campaign, with questions about her IQ, dealings
with a corrupt defense contractor, endless waves of staff resignations, failed
rallies and top Republicans initially trying to recruit another candidate, any
candidate, anyone. When Ms Harris heard of this she allegedly rang up Karl Rove
and screamed into the phone, 'Teach your friends some manners. Tell them that
without me they wouldn’t have a job. WITHOUT ME THERE WOULDN’T BE ANY BUSH
Harris, as Florida secretary of state, 'oversaw' the Florida recount that illegitimately
gave George W. Bush the presidency in 2000 and has brought the U.S. to the state
that it's in today. Few have forgiven her. Her words at a press conference in
2000 were, 'We didn't need votes we had God. Just us, the cameras, and those
wonderful people out there in the dark!... All right, Mr
Rove, I'm ready for my close-up.'
[Inset - Despite continuing opinions to the contrary, this photo has
not been digitally altered].
On the October 8 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday,
host Chris Wallace left unchallenged Rep. Jack Kingston's (R-GA) false claim
that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a
"partisan 527 organization." In fact, CREW is a nonpartisan and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
Kingston misrepresented CREW while baselessly suggesting that CREW may have
been complicit in a scheme to benefit Democrats by withholding from the media
incriminating emails that former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) allegedly sent to
underage congressional pages under shortly before the midterm elections. In
fact, The Hill newspaper reported that the media received Foley's alleged emails "from a House GOP aide" who "has been a registered Republican since becoming eligible to
vote," and ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross reportedly said that the sources for his initial Foley report -- to the extent they had partisan affiliations -- were Republicans; CREW provided
the FBI with the emails allegedly sent from Foley to a former page on July 21,
two months before ABC News reported their existence, as Media Matters for America has noted.
The FBI has claimed that CREW did not provide the necessary follow-up information to act on the tip, but the FBI's account is inconsistent and contradictory, as Media Matters has also shown.
As Media Matters has documented, Kingston and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) pushed wholly unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about Democrats' purported prior knowledge of Foley's
electronic communications during an October 6 appearance on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. Fox News host Sean Hannity and U.S. News & World Report senior writer Michael Barone have also baselessly accused CREW of withholding Foley's alleged communications with underage pages, as Media Matters has also noted.
From the October 8 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: Let me ask you about that, Congressman Kingston. What does [House
Democratic Leader] Nancy Pelosi and [Rep.] Rahm Emmanuel [D-IL] -- they, of
course, are two Democratic leaders -- what do they have to go under oath
KINGSTON: Well, Chris, what I don't understand is, where have these emails
been for three years? Are we saying that a 15-year-old child would have sat on
e-mails that were X -- triple X-rated for three years and suddenly spring them
out right on the eve of an election? That's just a little bit too suspicious,
even for Washington, D.C. We do know that George Soros, a huge Democrat
[sic] backer, has a group called CREW, it's a 527 partisan group, they
apparently had the emails as late as this April and did not do anything about
it. And that's according to the FBI, as reported in one statement. But
again, if [House Speaker] Denny Hastert [R-IL] knew this guy was sexually
deviant, he would have tossed him overboard a year ago because it is a safe
Republican seat. It's a generic Republican seat. Anybody with a Republican
jersey could have won. All we would have had to do is say, "Mark, you're
doing some bad stuff. You gotta move on." We would not have to spend a
nickel to protect that seat.
FOX Broadcasting Company
FOX News Sunday
Fox News Channel
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Friday, October 06, 2006
Crist Leery Of Debate With Davis
TAMPA - It's an axiom in sports as well as politics: When you've got a long
lead, hold the ball.
Republican Attorney General Charlie Crist, with a solid lead in the race for
governor, is showing little enthusiasm for events in which he would directly
confront opponent Jim Davis. Those forums and debates are the political
equivalent of a one-on-one fast break.
Crist denies he's holding the ball: "We're running like we're 20 points
behind and taking nothing for granted," said campaign spokeswoman Erin
Despite this, he has declined recently to participate in two such events,
forums on health care and child welfare issues, even after their organizers
thought the campaign had agreed to them.
This week, Crist also threatened to withdraw from one of two planned
televised debates with Davis. His campaign objects to the format of the event,
an unstructured conversation between the two candidates and Chris Matthews, host
of MSNBC's "Hardball."
The negotiations over the debate "are just in the beginning
stages," campaign chief George LeMieux said Thursday, adding the campaign
wants a debate format with a moderator and podiums.
LeMieux denied Crist is reluctant to debate Davis. He said Crist has
challenged Davis to two debates, and expects two televised debates.
Recent polls have shown Crist leading Davis by margins of 15 to 20 percentage
The debate would be broadcast by WFLA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Tampa. The
Tampa Tribune and WFLA are owned by Media General Inc. and work cooperatively in
The debate is a project of NBC News Channel, a news network including WFLA
and other NBC affiliate TV stations.
The news directors of the nine stations that plan to air the debate
statewide, most of them NBC affiliates, intend to stick with their planned
format, said WFLA News Director Don North.
North wouldn't say what they'll do if Crist withdraws.
He said Florida NBC stations planning the debate believe viewers are well
served by the format used in "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert and
Matthews' "Hardball." Subjects and interviewer are seated and exchange
thoughts and spontaneous questions.
'More Natural Conversation'
"A more natural conversation," North called it, "that lends
itself better to follow-up questions and spontaneity." The format, he
added, provides "a feel for what kind of people the candidates are as well
as where they are on the issues."
LeMieux said a more conventional format "is what people expect, it's
what they want to see. It's supposed to be a debate, not a talk show."
He said the Crist campaign has agreed to a televised debate Oct. 24 with a
traditional format, to be broadcast by Public Broadcasting System stations and
moderated by Ray Suarez of the News Hour with Jim Lehrer.
University of South Florida political scientist Darryl Paulson, a Republican,
said a frontrunner might have reasons for wanting a debate in "a more
It's "the standard political rationale" that front-runners are
risking more in any debate, because they have the most to lose and relatively
little to gain, he said. The conventional format puts the frontrunner at less
risk, allowing the candidates to stick to their preplanned messages, he said.
In addition, Paulson said, both Russert and Matthews formerly worked for
Democratic politicians - Matthews with former House Speaker Thomas P.
"Tip" O'Neill - but Russert has a better-established reputation for
Matthews Not The Problem
LeMieux said the campaign has no objection to Matthews.
The debate has been in the works since early this year. LeMieux said the
campaign learned of the format only four days ago, but WFLA officials said it
was discussed before then.
Davis has agreed to both debates, his campaign said.
State Rep. J.C. Planas, a Miami Republican and one of the sponsors of the
child issues summit in Orlando, said he was responsible for a misunderstanding
that led organizers to believe Crist had firmly committed to attend.
Crist's campaign had said for months he planned to attend, but his scheduler
never formally confirmed the date, Planas said.
"Do I take full responsibility for the miscommunication? Yes,"
Planas said. "But in reality they never said 'No,' and all indications were
that he wanted to go."
Sponsors of a planned Sept. 25 health care policy forum with Crist and Davis
at the University of Miami also said they believed Crist would attend because of
his continued expressions of interest.
But Isaac said despite that interest, the campaign never formally confirmed
the date. Crist told the sponsors Sept. 15 he had a scheduling conflict.
Reporter William March can be reached at email@example.com
or (813) 259-7761.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
From : Wayne Madsen .com
Informed sources in Tallahassee, Florida have told WMR that Governor Jeb Bush
was fully aware of ex-Rep. Mark Foley's conduct with underage male pages but sat
on the information to protect Foley and another top GOP Florida official,
Attorney General Charlie Crist, who is currently running for governor to replace
Bush. Today, Jeb Bush said he had not previously known about Foley's behavior
with the pages before being informed by House Speaker Dennis Hastert in a letter
dated October 1, 2006. Bush said he was "dismayed and shocked to
learn about Congressman Foley's unacceptable behavior."
However, according to our Florida sources, the FBI and Justice Department
informed the Florida Governor's office, Attorney General Crist, and the Florida
AG's Child Protection Cybercrime Unit at least a year ago about Foley's
predatory emails and instant messages. WMR was told that Crist's
conflict-of-interest in the case stems from Crist's and Foley's involvement in
gay sex parties, some of which took place during 2003 in trendy Coconut Grove,
Foley scandal reverberating in Florida gubernatorial race.
Left to right: Crist, Foley, and Jeb Bush.
Informed Florida sources claim that up until now, Crist and Jeb Bush have
been able to keep a lid on the once-divorced Crist's life style, touting his
conservative Christian credentials, but that the Foley revelations will severely
impact the Crist gubernatorial campaign. The links between Foley and Crist are
certain to harm Crist with his conservative backers who admire Crist for his
anti-gay rights stance. Floridians begin early voting on October 23.
WMR has learned from informed sources in the
Justice Department that the salacious e-mails from Rep. Mark Foley were leaked
to ABC News by career Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents who are
incensed that Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales covered up
the House page scandal for political reasons. The back story of Pagegate is that
there was a criminal conspiracy by the top political leadership of the Justice
Department to cover up the predatory activities of Foley and other GOP members
of Congress since at least 2003 and, likely, as early as 2001.
Other informed sources in the nation's capital report that Pagegate will soon
implicate a number of GOP staffers in both the House and the Senate who
intimidated and pressured male pages into inappropriate sexual relationships.
One source confided that the staff members' contact with pages was "more
egregious" than Foley's behavior.
GOP in crisis, meltdown mode
The Pagegate scandal also involves senior officials of the Republican
National Committee, located near the House Office Buildings, according to our
Capitol Hill sources.
The bottom line is that the GOP is facing its worst political scandal since
Watergate and the White House, already under assault from the revelations in Bob
Woodward's insider account of the Bush presidency and the Iraq war, has told GOP
members of Congress that they are on their own as far as Pagegate damage control
October 3, 2006 -- The Pagegate scandal surrounding ex-Rep. Mark Foley
(R-FL) is growing in scope. According to congressional sources, Foley's
predatory sexual advances on underage male pages was tolerated because Foley was
a major campaign cash source for other Republican members. Although it has been
reported that Foley gave National Republican Congressional Committee chair Tom
Reynolds (R-NY) a $100,000 contribution, WMR has learned that Foley's
contributions to Reynolds' committee totaled $330,000. Meanwhile, the
conservative Washington Times, aware of the widening nature of the
scandal, has called for House Speaker Dennis Hastert to resign his leadership position.
WMR has also learned that Tom Reynolds, who is facing a serious challenge
from Democrat Jack Davis, is now in serious political trouble in his northern
New York district and looks likely to lose it in the November 7 election.
posted at: Wayne
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Harris implies Dems, media knew
of Foley scandal
In the following video clip from WESH-TV, Congresswoman and Senatorial
candidate Katherine Harris claims that Republicans did not know about the Mark
Foley page scandal, but implies that people "in the media and on the other
side of the aisle," may have known and withheld it from the public.
Foley, Gays and the Religious Right: Is This the Nail
in the GOP Coffin?
If there's any question as to why former Rep. Mark Foley was able to continue
his harassment of teenage congressional pages, look no further than the spin of
Bush spokesman Tony Snow:
"Look, I hate to tell you but it's not always pretty up there on Capitol
Hill, and there have been other scandals, as you know, that have been more than
simply, uh, uh, uh, naughty emails."
Those "naughty emails" (and instant messages) included "I
would drive a few miles for a hot stud like you," requests for photos,
unambiguous advances ("we eat …we drink … who knows … hang out …
late into the night"), and exchanges like this one (Maf54 is Foley):
Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: T-shirt and shorts.
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.
As egregious as his behavior appears to be, the writer of the above messages
isn't the whole story -- he's merely a catalyst. Foley, who resigned on Friday,
has checked into alcohol rehab and stated that he was "deeply sorry."
He faces an FBI investigation to perhaps, ironically, be convicted under some of
the laws he helped to pass.
But the bigger, more institutional question remains: What did the GOP
leadership know, and when did they know it? Evidence suggests that Speaker
Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Jim Boehner both knew that there were issues
-- though neither, of course, cops to awareness of anything approaching the text
above. In fact, evidence suggests that Foley's behavior was well known in GOP
circles for years, with former page Matthew Loraditch telling ABC News that
pages were warned to "watch out for Foley" as early as 2001.
After initially stating simply that he knew nothing until it was reported in
the press, House Speaker Dennis Hastert eventually owned up to the fact that his
office was notified of "over-friendly" communications between Foley
and a page many months earlier. His office was also notified that the page's
family "wanted the contact to stop."
This was roughly a year ago, in the fall of 2005, yet the speaker did
nothing. In fact, though he admits he was personally told about this by Rep.
Rodney Alexander, he also claims to not "explicitly recall" the
conversation. Alexander is the congressman of the page on the other end of
According to an AP report, "Rep. Thomas Reynolds, who heads the House Republican election
effort, said Saturday he told Hastert months ago about concerns that a fellow
Republican lawmaker, Rep. Mark Foley, had sent inappropriate messages to a
Then there's Majority Leader Jim Boehner's conversation
with Hastert, during which, Boehner says, Hastert claimed that "we're
taking care of it." That was this spring. Since then, Hastert has allowed
Foley several months of "over-friendly" "contact" with a
teenager. In a CNN interview, conservative Bay Buchanan noted
that the earliest emails "had predator stamped all over it." And that:
"No one in the country can suggest otherwise."
Hastert has consistently followed the Katrina approach to leadership: ignore
the warning signs, keep cronies in power and undercut investigations of
wrongdoing. Hastert himself is the beneficiary of cronyism -- he was shepherded
into the position of leadership by Tom DeLay after Newt Gingrich's resignation
and the resignation of the man who was poised to replace Gingrich. A
third-stringer, as it were.
According to the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman, Hastert's office was well known to take a "laissez-faire"
approach to ethics issues. Weisman quotes a Republican source, who adds:
"They don't respond when things are bending, but they get very excited when
Sure, this could easily describe Hastert's actions with regard to the Foley
case. But the story actually appeared earlier this year when Hastert came under
fire for his softball treatment of bribery and corruption allegations against
Republican Bob Ney. Ney, who's now in prison, was officially subpoenaed for
documents in the Abramoff scandal months before being asked "to temporarily
relinquish the chairmanship of the House Administration Committee." Still,
upon learning of "over-friendly" communications with a teenage boy,
Hastert didn't even ask Foley to quit his post as chairman of the Missing and
Exploited Children's Caucus.
Prior to that, Hastert had bent over backwards to protect Tom DeLay and
others, going so far as to replace the Republican head of the ethics committee
when he attempted to actually enforce ethics rules. Then, when DeLay faced a
determined Texas prosecutor in Ronnie Earle, Hastert went and changed the House
ethics rules altogether. The changes were eventually repealed as they allowed
too much leeway for even this House to deal with.
It's clear that this isn't a problem that can be taken care of by ousting one
or two bad apples. It's institutional. Insider journal Roll Call writes:
As of Saturday evening, nearly a dozen House GOP lawmakers and staffers have
acknowledged that they knew of the initial batch of nonsexually explicit
messages from Foley to a 16-year-old former House page, some of them for a
year or more. These include Hastert; Majority Leader John Boehner (Ohio);
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.);
Reps. Rodney Alexander (La.) and John Shimkus (Ill.); Mike Stokke, the
speaker’s deputy chief of staff; Ted Van Der Meid, Hastert’s counsel;
Paula Nowakowski, Boehner’s chief of staff; Jeff Trandahl, the former clerk
of the House; and another Hastert aide and Alexander’s chief of staff,
according to public statements and GOP insiders.
Not one of the above ever told a Democrat about Foley's actions, including
the only Democrat on the House page board, Rep. Dale Kildee. On Monday, the
political maneuvering became even more vivid, with Hastert telling CNN that he was probably informed by Reynolds "in the context of maybe
a half a dozen or a dozen other things ... that might have affected
Winning campaigns is, of course, a necessity in this line of work. The
problem has been that Hastert and much of the GOP-led congress has let the
desire to win overshadow the best interests of the American people. It was the
case with DeLay, Ney and now Foley, whose actions could have been hindered much
earlier, were a better balance struck between elections and ethics.
Up to this point, the "coverup" had been a mostly passive one, sins
of omission, shades of plausible denial and Reaganesque "I can't
recall's." But then, as the first emails began to emerge, Tom Reynolds,
whose job is to get Republicans elected, lent his chief of staff, Kirk Fordham,
to Foley. Or "lent him back" to Foley, I should say, as Fordham was Foley's
chief of staff for a decade. Fordham promptly attempted to bury his former
boss's behavior by making a deal with ABC's Brian Ross, who broke the story:
The correspondent [Ross], who had dozens of instant messages that Foley sent
to teenage House pages, had asked to interview the Florida Republican. Foley's
former chief of staff said the congressman was quitting and that Ross could
have that information exclusively if he agreed not to publish the raw,
sexually explicit messages.
In effect, an operative from the office that promotes the election of
Republicans attempted to suppress the most damaging elements of the emerging
scandal. With just weeks to go before the midterm election, analysts are
predicting that the fallout could be huge. The pundit zeitgeist seems to be
favoring the natural disaster theme: "8 or 9 on the Richter scale,"
according to Hotline's Chuck Todd and John Mercurio.
But there's another dimension to this scandal which could prove even more
damaging than the specifics of the Foley case and its coverup: the issue of gays
in the Republican Party. Howie Klein expands on what Josh Bearman refers to as "karmic irony for Republicans." Meaning: the party of
gay-haters being packed with gay politicians.
Klein notes that Republicans David Dreier, Jim Kolbe and Michael Huffington,
are well known to be gay, in addition to a number Bush's high level staff who
are thought to be as well.
Kenyn Cureton, vice president of the 16 million strong Southern Baptist
Convention, noted recently
that "Conservative Christians are somewhat disenchanted with
Republicans," and that "It has not escaped our notice that they waited
until just a few months from the November elections to address our agenda."
The No. 1 priority on that agenda, ahead of abortion even, is gays.
In the Wall Street Journal last week, former House Majority Leader
Dick Armey called the Christian right "thugs" and "nasty
bullies," while the week before that, Focus on the Family founder James
Dobson expressed his frustration at the Republican party, saying that he's
"flat-out ... ticked."
As for Bush himself, in just the past two years, he's gone from 78 percent
support from white evangelicals to a bruising 42 percent disapproval rating.
Into this rift lands the Foley wedge. That wedge is widened by the fact that
many in the GOP knew Foley was gay but didn't say anything for months or years
-- a tacit acceptance, even for political reasons, of gays in the party.
In a post entitled "Pro-Homosexual Political Correctness Sowed Seeds for
Foley Scandal," power pastor Tony Perkins writes: "Democrats seeking
to exploit the resignation of Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., are right to criticize
the slow response of Republican congressional leaders to his communications with
male pages." Of course, he goes on to cite faulty data connecting gays to
abuse, but the point remains, the rift is opening and the GOP is in danger of
losing its lifeblood: conservative Christian votes.
On Monday's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos stuck with the natural disaster
theme to paint a grim picture:
Right now it's a category 3 hurricane and it's picking up steam. Republicans
all across the country are getting questions about it. But here's the key
question: Did any Republican leaders know about those x-rated emails? If they
did, it's game over. The leadership will have to resign. It will cost
Republicans control of Congress. As one top GOP aide told me this morning,
"the place will burn down."
Evan Derkacz is AlterNet's associate editor and writer of PEEK,
the blog of blogs.