The number-two Republican in the U.S. House says the scandal over a former Florida Congressman’s lurid messages to House pages has been a distraction. But during an appearance today (Friday) in Des Moines, House Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said he and other Republican leaders should not be blamed.
“I do not believe, thus far, that Republicans knew about these sexually-explicit instant messages,” Boehner told reporters. “I have not seen any evidence of that thus far.” Boehner will testify next week before the House Ethics Committee about what he knew about former Congressman Mark Foley’s communication with House pages.
Today, Boehner campaigned with Republican Jeff Lamberti, the G-O-P candidate who hopes to unseat Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell.
Boehner suggests it’s Democrats who knew about Foley’s objectionable behavior and failed to do anything about it. “Democrat operatives were shopping this information around for some time and, as this was going on and kept out of the public eye, someone who had this information allowed the 16-year-old pages to be at risk while they were playing their political games,” Boehner said. “Hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of who knew what and when.”
Boehner says he will tell the House Ethics Committee about his “short” conversation with a Louisiana congressman about Foley’s inappropriate contact with a former page. Boehner said the page’s parents didn’t want the issue pursued. Boehner told reporters in Des Moines that voters are ready for candidates to set the scandal aside and start talking about the issues.