- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Democratic Party involvement in the Foley scandal should come as no surprise. The release of Rep. Mark Foley’s inappropriate e-mails on Congress’ last legislative day, when the Republican Party was starting to modestly revitalize its base heading into the election, certainly smacks of political maneuvering, not coincidence. Although members of the Democratic leadership have denied their party’s connection to the story, five of the Foley e-mails were in the hands of Democratic operatives for close to a year, at least, prior to the story becoming public, according to reports.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, came out with an evasive denial Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” When asked if he or his staff knew anything about the e-mails before the story broke, Mr. Emanuel replied that he “never saw them.” When pressed, twice, if he was “aware” of the messages, Mr. Emanuel would only say that he “never saw them.” He then retreated behind reports that the e-mails came to ABC from a Republican source — a fact that Democrats like to trumpet because it misleadingly neglects their own involvement.

That the chairman of the DCCC didn’t “see” the e-mails before they appeared on ABC does not negate the fact that Democratic operatives had been peddling the story for close to a year. The Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine, Ken Silverstein, reported on Tuesday that “[i]n May, 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.” The same source provided the e-mails to the St. Petersburg Times in the fall of 2005. Mr. Silverstein uses this as proof that the release of the e-mails was not intended as “a grand piece of electioneering” because “[i]f either of the Florida papers had gone to press with the story last year, or if Harper’s had published this spring, as the source hoped, the Foley scandal would have died down long ago.”

Some Democratic operatives had bigger, more political plans for the Foley e-mails, however. “I’m hearing the Foley story wasn’t supposed to drop until about ten days out of the election. It was suppose to be a coup de grace, not the first shot,” a political consultant connected to the Democratic National Committee told the American Spectator. While none of this bears on the responsibility of the speaker’s office to protect the pages, it is strong evidence that the congressional Democrats had the information and chose to use it for political purposes rather than to protect the pages.

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