- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2006


Former Rep. Mark Foley’s former aide didn’t waver yesterday before the House ethics committee from his contention that he told the House speaker’s chief of staff about Mr. Foley’s approaches to male pages at least three years ago, the witness’s attorney said.

Kirk Fordham would not comment after emerging from nearly five hours of closed-door testimony, but his attorney, Timothy Heaphy, said Mr. Fordham was “consistent in his accounts.” Mr. Fordham has spoken out publicly on his timeline and was questioned by the FBI.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has said that he personally learned of the inappropriate approaches by Mr. Foley in late September and that his aides found out in fall 2005. The speaker’s chief of staff, Scott Palmer, has denied that Mr. Fordham contacted him at least three years ago, contradicting Mr. Fordham and creating one of the major conflicts the committee will have to resolve.

Mr. Heaphy told reporters that his client was “forthcoming” in his testimony. “He has been consistent in his accounts of these events when he talked to the FBI and today met with the ethics committee. He has been truthful and cooperative and will continue to be throughout this and other investigations.”

Mr. Heaphy said Mr. Fordham has been asked not to comment on the substance of the inquiry because of the ongoing investigation.

Mr. Foley resigned from Congress Sept. 29, after being confronted about his sexually explicit instant messages.

Mr. Fordham isn’t the only witness who will testify about earlier, unsuccessful attempts to stop Mr. Foley, although the timelines differ.

Rep. John Shimkus, Illinois Republican, who is scheduled to appear today, has said he confronted Mr. Foley in the fall, after he was told by Mr. Hastert’s office of an overly friendly — but not sexually explicit — e-mail to a page from Louisiana. Mr. Shimkus is chairman of the House Page Board, a group of three lawmakers and two House officers who set policy for the program that brings teenagers to Congress to attend school and perform errands in the chamber during sessions.

Mr. Shimkus has said that he and Jeff Trandahl, who was House clerk at the time, confronted Mr. Foley in his office in the fall after hearing from Mr. Hastert’s aides about the e-mail. Mr. Shimkus said he told Mr. Foley to cease all contact with the Louisiana teenager.

Mr. Shimkus did not tell the two other House members of the Page Board about the meeting — Democrat Dale E. Kildee of Michigan and fellow Republican Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. Mr. Shimkus said he was following the wishes of the boy’s parents.

“I think Congressman Shimkus acted in an expedited manner to find out what happened, again with what the framework of what the family concern was,” Mr. Hastert said in support of the decision to keep the other two lawmakers out of the loop.

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