Pombo And Hastert Sitting In A Tree
As the Mark Foley scandal continues to unfold, the careers of several members of the Republican Congressional leadership would seem to be in terrible jeopardy, most particularly that of Dennis Hastert (R-IL), the Speaker of the House. It turns out that a number of House Republican leaders knew of Foley’s e-mails and were aware of Rep. Foley's taste for young pages — as far back as 2001 — and did nothing. (Think Progress has created a timeline of key events that tracks this whole sordid affair. ) Speaker Hastert and other House Republican leaders appear to have taken no action because they were more worried about maintaining power than the safety of congressional pages.
Josh Marshall writes:
The scandal — to the extent we are talking not about Foley as an individual but the leadership's role in enabling him — is about accountability. And at the gut check moment, Hastert lied to duck responsibility.Speaker Hastert's actions in this whole matter are simply deplorable. It’s already well established that he knew about the e-mails "months ago." Now, it appears that Hastert may have been told about Foley’s inappropriate overtures to House pages as early as 2003. He knew about Foley's child predator behavior. He knew what he was saying and doing. And. He. Did. Nothing. Not only that, he lied about what he knew as the scandal was unfolding in the public eye.
Hastert and his cohorts in the upper echelons of the Republican Party made a conscious decision not to act regarding Foley's predatory behavior until forced by mounting public and political pressure.
All of which leads to this question for Richard Pombo. Will Pombo denounce the Speaker's involvement in this sick and disgusting cover-up and call for Hastert’s resignation?
Will Pombo return donations from the fundraiser headlined by the Speaker last year? Will Pombo return the additional $30,000 that Hastert raised at his appearance on behalf of Pombo this May in Acampo?
You would think that accepting money from two nights of wining and dining with an enabler of child predators would be below the ethics and morals of Richard Pombo — or at least it should be.
But don’t hold your breath. In typical fashion, it appears as though Pombo has no interest in doing the right thing by repudiating Hastert and returning the money. When questioned at the Tracy Forum on Thursday evening as to his views on the Foley scandal and whether he still had confidence in Speaker Hastert, Pombo limited his response to a condemnation of Foley’s behavior and refused to address the portion of the question that dealt with Hastert. Even though we all know that ethics and accountability are not his strong suits, Richard Pombo ought to realize that his refusal to renounce Dennis Hastert’s behavior clearly implies tacit approval of the Speaker’s actions.