The Rural Patriot

October 4, 2006

WNY Legislators’ Reaction to Mark Foley Scandal

We all know about this, so let’s take it local. How do our WNY elected federal representatives feel about this?

If you are anywhere in the Buffalo TV market, you’ve no doubt seen Tom Reynolds (R-26) coverage on the newscasts. Because he is the Chairman of the NRCC, he can’t escape the media. (Why did he have to surround himself with a number of children during a press conference?) On the issue, “Reynolds says he believes Foley’s actions are unacceptable and believes he should be held accountable”. Much more can be written here regarding Reynolds’ involvement, but chances are you’re already informed of his statements that contradict Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert’s remarks. (You can read the Buffalo News, or read/watch video clips at WGRZ, WIVB, and WKBW if you missed any of the coverage.)

These items are from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, also has asked for an overhaul of the congressional page program. … “I’m mad as a wet hen,” … “People sat on these allegations against Foley for 11 months. They should have taken every step possible to protect those children.” … She believes the allegations were kept quiet for political reasons.

(Rep. James Walsh, R-Onondaga, Onondaga County) Walsh said he was “angry that a member of Congress would betray a trust and use his position to prey upon a young person.” He also said, “This young man who went to Washington to participate in the page program with a sense of idealism and respect for the institution will now be forever affected by this experience. His look at Congress and our government will be tainted by the aggressions of one individual.” … called for “an immediate and complete look at the congressional page program to ensure that its young participants are protected.”

U.S. Rep. Randy Kuhl Jr., R-Hammondsport, Steuben County, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., did not return calls seeking comment, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., declined immediate comment.

Search all you like, but it looks like Brian Higgins (D-27) hasn’t released a statement, either.

Congressman Kuhl’s Democratic challenger, Eric Massa, as this to say yesterday:

Massa Challenges Kuhl to Take a Stand/ Navy Vet Urges Incumbent to Demand Accountability for Sexual Predator in Congress

Pittsford, NY – Congressional candidate and retired Navy Commander Eric Massa today called upon his opponent, freshman Republican Randy Kuhl to “come clean about what he knew and when he knew it” with respect to the unfolding Foley cover-up scandal. Massa wrote a letter to Congressman Randy Kuhl urging him to join Massa and other conservatives in calling for the resignation of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Whip John Boehner, and NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds for their complicity in the scandal involving a Republican congressman who stands of accused of cyberstalking male teenaged House Pages.

“It’s one thing for Randy Kuhl to keep mum as the Congressional leadership shortchanges veterans with unfair cuts,” declared Massa. “It’s a whole different matter to remain silent in matters of child safety. The record is clear: the House Republican leadership knew there was a snake in the nursery and they did worse than nothing, they left a man in office who stands accused of improper sexual advances to a male teenage page.”

In particular, Massa expressed concern about Kuhl’s close relationship with key leaders who have been implicated in the cover up. Kuhl has taken campaign contributions totaling $24,500 from Tom Reynolds, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, John Boehner, and Speaker Dennis Hastert. “My opponent chooses to take money from corporate PACs, which is his decision,” said Massa. “But it is outrageous for a sitting member of Congress to accept money from those who have engaged in a cover-up for a known pedophile.” It is unclear whether Kuhl has accepted money directly from the former Rep. Foley as the publicly available FEC reports only reflect contributions made prior to late August.

Clinton and Schumer, I (sort of) understand (maybe, but not quite) – this is a House matter, not a Senate matter. I don’t understand Higgins’ and Kuhl’s non-response, though, especially since the elections are less than five weeks away. The voters in their districts deserve to know where these gentlemen stand; it’s past the time to step up and make a clear statement on where they stand.

The Foley situation is a high-profile issue that covers not only his alleged activities with young pages, but also the alleged cover-up by republican leadership members. The House Ethics Committee is meeting tomorrow; maybe Higgins and Kuhl are waiting to see the outcome of this meeting. But, as we know, the Ethics Committee doesn’t have such a great track record lately. Higgins and Kuhl did vote “Aye” on the following motion; perhaps they feel that their “Aye” vote is a sufficient statement:

House Vote 514
Question: On Motion to Refer the Resolution: Privileged resolution requiring an investigation of knowledge of offenses of Representative Mark Foley.
Category: Motion
Vote description: Privileged resolution requiring an investigation of knowledge of offenses of Rep. Mark Foley.
Vote type: Recorded Vote
A standard vote that requires a simple majority for approval or passage of the legislation.
Result: Passed, 409-0, with 23 not voting.
Date/time: September 29, 2006, 10:57 p.m.

If you are so inclined:

Randy Kuhl’s phone number: Olean (800) 562-7431; Washington DC (202) 225-3161
Hillary Clinton’s phone number: Buffalo (716) 854-9725; Washington DC (202) 224-4451
Charles Schumer’s phone number: Buffalo (716) 846-4111; Washington DC (202) 224-6542
Brian Higgins’s phone number: Buffalo (716) 852-3501; Jamestown (716) 484-0729; Washington DC (202) 225-3306
Capitol Hill Switchboard, toll-free: 888-355-3588

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