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Foley Scandal Spreads to Illinois. Does That Make You Horny?

By Matt Wood in News on Oct 3, 2006 11:58AM

chicagoist_200610_foley.jpgThe fallout from Rep. Mark Foley's resignation from Congress over revelations that he loves the young pageboys has widened to include a number of Illinois politicians. Dick Durbin has been around to wring his hands, although we're sure he'll apologize for it later, and Springfield Rep. John Shimkus, chairman of the House Page Board, is coming off looking rather clueless. But the big local name making the headlines is House Speaker Dennis Hastert, because one of the more troubling details of the scandal, if you can get past a Congressman IM-ing a 16-year-old kid about his boner, is that he and other GOP congressional leaders knew about Foley's taste for veal over a year ago.

chicagoist_200610_hastert.jpgHastert says that last fall, his office learned that Foley had exchanged emails with a page that were "overly friendly" but not sexually explicit. He and other House leaders asked Foley to stop, and, responsible guys that they are, assumed all was well. Now, Hastert is shocked -- shocked! -- that there was more to it than that, and says that he feels "duped" by Foley.

Now either Denny has been living under a rock for the past two years and not seen at least one TV expose about online predators, or he was trying to cover it up. In today's Tribune, he says that the emails raised a red flag, but his hands were tied because the boy's parents didn't want the publicity. We know rumors fly fast on Capitol Hill, but if that were the case, couldn't they have asked Foley to resign for "personal reasons," and prep a new candidate? Now the GOP runs the risk of losing a House seat they previously had in the bag.

The natural conclusion of course, is that GOP leaders covered this up to protect their majority in the House. They tell Foley to knock it off again, he retains the seat, and no one is the wiser. Since hypocrisy doesn't seem to bother these guys, it makes sense: keep your friends close, and keep your pedophiles closer. That the scandal broke now would seem like a nightmare for Republicans. But even though Foley's name will still be on the ballot, some polls only show him trailing by three points in a strongly Republican district. Chicagoist is left to wonder if the story's breaking at this point actually works in the GOP's favor. Foley's Democratic opponent Tim Mahoney won't have time to build much of a case against replacement Joe Negron, and now voters who would have voted for Foley can say, "Well now that the perv is gone, I can still vote Republican." Common sense would tell us that voters should be disgusted with the whole affair and obvious attempts at coverup, but then, common sense hasn't exactly had a place in politics in the last five years.