- Major cover-up suspected in GOP's "Pagegate"
now rocking Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill sources report that the congressional
page sex scandal that has barraged the Republican leadership weeks before
the general election is a re-flash of a similar scandal in the late 1980s.
In June 1989, openly gay Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, two months before
he admitted that his aide was using his Capitol Hill home for prostitution
purposes, threatened to expose the identities of a number of closeted gay
Republican members of Congress after a Republican National Committee surfaced
that suggested then-House Speaker Thomas Foley was gay. The Republican
leadership went into immediate crisis mode and wanted to sweep the matter
aside. However, the story of Republican lobbyists and members of Congress
procuring the services of underage male prostitutes soon hit the newspapers.
- The scandal surrounding GOP congressmen having sex with
minors first burst onto the headlines in October 1980 when Maryland conservative
Republican Rep. Bob Bauman resigned after his arrest for having sex with
a 16-year old male prostitute. In 1983, Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Gerry
Studds was censured by the House for inappropriate sexual contact with
a 17-year old male page. The Republicans clearly pulled their punches amid
calls for Studds to be expelled by the House. However, after Studds' admission
he was gay, he was re-elected in 1984.
- Although Studds was the first House member to admit his
homosexuality, the GOP was worried about starting a trend of self-disclosure.
They had their own skeletons to be concerned about. In 1989, the Barney
Frank-male prostitute aide scandal broke. However, Frank cooperated with
the House Ethics Committee in its investigation and he quickly fired the
aide involved. The year 1989 would also introduce the American public to
the underground sordid world of GOP underage male prostitution rings --
a story that emanated from a scandal involving male congressional pages
that culminated in headlines in The Washington Times beginning in June
1989 that reported underage male prostitutes had been given midnight tours
of the White House. As WMR reported yesterday, these tours involved the
private quarters of the White House.
- With the scandal surrounding Florida Republican Rep.
Mark Foley's sordid e-mail and Instant Message exchanges with 16-year old
male pages, including one who was sponsored by Lousiana Republican Rep.
Rodney Alexander, those familiar with the 1989 scandals are taking a closer
look at House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
- Congressional sources told WMR that Hastert, while working
from 1964 to 1980 as a popular history/government teacher and wrestling
coach at Yorktown High School, in Yorktown, Illinois -- a suburb of Chicago
-- was the subject of persistent rumors about inappropriate contact
with male members of his high school wrestling team. The culture of the
times usually resulted in such alleged behavior being covered up by public
and parochial school authorities. However, the rumors were enough for his
Yorktown constituency to reject him when he ran for an open seat in the
Illinois House of Representatives in 1980. However, Hastert lucked out
when another sitting Republican House member who represented the three-seat
district had a stroke and declined to run for re-election. The GOP machine
bosses selected Hastert as the replacement candidate.
- Hastert served in Springfield from 1980 to 1986, six
years to make the transformation from wrestling coach with a cloud surrounding
himself to politician. In 1986, Hastert received an unexpected promotion.
After incumbent Republican Rep. John Grotberg was nominated by the GOP
for a second term, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and fell into
a coma. The Illinois Republican Convention selected Hastert as the replacement
on the ticket, a virtual election to the U.S. House of Representatives
in the strongly Republican district.
- In 1989, when the allegations of homosexuality among
GOP congressmen arose during the first "Pagegate" scandal, Hastert's
name was one of those whispered. In 1995, Hastert became Chief Deputy Whip
under now-disgraced GOP Majority Whip Tom DeLay. Hastert would luck out
again. In late 1989, amid scandal, House Speaker Newt Gingrich resigned.
After Louisiana Rep. Bob Livingston was elected as Speaker by the GOP House
Caucus, he too resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair -- an
amazing development since the House had impeached President Bill Clinton
for lying about his own extramarital affair. Hastert, without much scrutiny,
emerged as the compromise candidate for Speaker, after the GOP deadlocked
on Majority Leader Dick Armey (also the subject of various rumors after
he called Barney Frank, "Barney Fag") and Majority Whip DeLay.
- Now Hastert is fending off allegations that he knew about
the page problem with Mark Foley for 11 months and refrained from taking
any action. It is also noteworthy that the Chairman of the House Page Board
is Republican Rep. John Shimkus, a close ally of Hastert's from Illinois.
Allegations of cover-up are also surrounding Louisiana GOP Rep. Rodney
Alexander, the sponsor of the 16-year old Louisiana page to whom Foley
sent messages concerning masturbation and erections, and New York Republican
Rep. Tom Reynolds, the chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign
Committee. Both representatives stand accused of covering up Foley's activities
for as long as 11 months.
- And the Pagegate scandal threatens to turn into a tsunami
that could sweep a number of GOP congressmen from office on November 7.
Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, a Christian fundamentalist activist lawyer who was
a legislative aide for California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and
a close associate of Orange County GOP chairman Scott Baugh, has been charged
by Orange County, California police with repeatedly engaging in sex with
a 14-year old Westminster, California high school freshman male in 2003
and amassing a large amount of child pornography in his Ladera Ranch condo.
Nielsen, an attorney for Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, also reportedly engaged
in sexual activities from 1994 to 1995 with a northern Virginia boy, who
was 13 and 14 at the time. Nielsen, at the time, was a legislative assistant
to Rohrabacher. Prosecutors in Orange County have been accused of dragging
their feet on the Nielsen case -- charges that involve political pressure
from the GOP.
- In addition, WMR has learned of possible connections
between GOP lawmakers and former school teacher John Mark Karr, who was
arrested in Thailand and deported to the United States after he claimed,
falsely, that he killed six-year old Jon Benet Ramsey at her Boulder, Colorado
home in 1996. After Boulder prosecutors declined to prosecute Karr for
JonBenet's death, he was transferred to Sonoma County, California to face
misdemeanor child pornography charges. However, U.S. intelligence source
report to WMR that the high degree of interest shown by U.S. Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. intelligence officials in Karr -- including
having one CIA officer in Bangkok intercede, along with DHS Bangkok attache
Ann Hurst, with Thai law enforcement authorities after Karr's arrest --
was due to Karr's knowledge of the involvement of top U.S. government officials
in a major pedophilia ring.
- On Sept. 19, 2006, former DHS press aide Brian Doyle
agreed to a plea agreement entailing up to five years in prison for engaging
in cyber-sex with what he thought was a 14-year old girl but who turned
out to be a Polk County, Florida detective. Doyle is scheduled for sentencing
on Nov. 17.
- House GOP pedophilia: links emerging between cases of
John Mark Karr, Mark Foley, Jeffrey Ray Nielsen (one time aide to California's
Dana Rohrabacher), and House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
- Law enforcement and intelligence officials point out
that if there are no arrests in Washington stemming from "Pagegate,"
it can be assumed that this second major eruption of scandal involving
top Republicans and pedophilia has been swept under the carpet once again.