“While Mark Foley’s plasticine body remains at auction over at eBay”, the House Ethic Committee started its third week of investigation into Foley’s conduct with Congressional pages and who knew what, when, how, and why. (And probably where, too.)
Today, Sally Vastola, Rep. Tom Reynold’s political aide, went before the Committee today. As usual, there’s no word of what she actually said, but we’re sure she reiterated the “fact” that Tom Reynolds (R-NY) found out about the emails last spring.
Later in the week, however, the Committee will get the treat of sifting through the (alleged) pile of bullshit that’s being funnelled out of Speaker Dennis “Hasturd” Hastert‘s office. 365 Gay reports:
The panel also is expected to hear testimony this week from top aides to Hastert, including chief of staff Ted Van Der Meid, who had frequent interactions with former clerk of the House Jeff Trandahl about House operations, including problems in the page program. Hastert’s top political aide, Mike Stokke, is also likely to testify this week, and the speaker himself could also testify.
Testimony from Hastert’s aides – so far virtually silent about long-known problems about Foley and pages – would go a long way toward wrapping up the interviews required for the panel to make its findings, though it’s unclear whether the panel will have enough time to issue a report before Election Day.
In other Foley news, you have catched the Washington Post article yesterday about now Foley used to target the “hot” boys. No? Well, here’s a snippet discussing one of Foley’s correspondence with a would-be hook-up:
The messages were innocent at first. But after the young man moved home, he recalled, Foley started asking about “my roommates, if I ever saw them naked.” Within months, the congressman was dangling a job offer, “because I was a hot boy,” he said. Two years later, when he contacted Foley for advice on D.C. hotels, the congressman wrote back: “You could always stay at my place. I’m always here, I’m always lonely, and I’m always up for oral sex.”
Foley’s a saucy little man, isn’t he?
In light of that article (and also that we think it’s relevant, interesting, and discussion worthy), we recently received an email from The Stonewall Libertarians – you know, the group that’s just like the Libertarian champions of small government, big individuals, and lower taxes, only gay.
We’ve pasted the entire press release after the jump, but the gist of it is that the entire Mark Foley scandal has high-lighted the tyranny of governmental age of consent laws. President of Stonewall Libertarians New York, Jeff Grizlo, says:
The male pages who sought to pursue a personal relationship with Rep. Foley knew exactly who they were getting involved with when they exchanged e-mails and instant messages with the Congressman. It was no secret Mark Foley was gay. If any of the male pages weren’t interested in such a relationship, they could have terminated the communications at any time…I would have beeneager to pursue a personal relationship with Rep. Foley had the opportunity been presented to me. I’ve been a Bent Wanker for as far back as I can recall.
What Grizlo forgets, however, is that not all the boys were “bent wankers” (love that gay speak, by-the-by), but were kids who wanted to support their government. If you recall the Washington Post article:
“I didn’t want to piss off a member of an institution that I really revered,” said a former Republican page from 2002, who said that, shortly after he finished the program, he exchanged a handful of messages with Foley over two months and that they gradually became sexual. He played along, then slowed his responses until Foley took the hint and stopped. He never considered reporting Foley to authorities. “I figured maybe someday I will want to be involved in Congress,” he said. “I didn’t want to make an enemy.”
We’re not sure where we stand on this whole issue (and we’re also way tired to get into where consent laws comes from, why we have them, where they should be stuck, etc), so we’ll let you guys duke it out in the comments.
For Immediate Release
October 20, 2006
Contact: Dr. Tom Stevens
Stonewall Libertarians Executive Director
Turning Over A New Page: Ending The Hysteria Over Teenage Sexuality
The revelation that former Rep. Mark Foley exchanged friendly e-mails
and sexually explicit instant messages with former Congressional
pages raises the issue whether what he did should be considered wrong
or inappropriate. Certainly, if said conduct took place in Washington
D.C., where the age of consent is 16, Rep. Foley could have had
consensual sex with those male pages without committing any crime.
Written communication with male pages who registered on Mark Foley’s
gaydar screen shouldn’t be turned into a shameful or immoral act.
“Teenagers today are exposed to adult knowledge and are engaging in
sexual activities at an early age but instead of recognizing this
fact by lowering the voting age and the age of consent, society has
reacted by passing laws denying fully functioning teenagers the right
to express their sexuality as they see fit,” said Dr. Tom Stevens,
Executive Director of Stonewall Libertarians.
“It is natural and healthy to be attracted to older teenagers. It is
the denial of that attraction that is unnatural and perverse” said
Dallwyn Merck, Executive Vice-President of Stonewall Libertarians New
York. “Many states try to deny teenagers their freedom by enacting
curfew laws and age of consent laws. Our country is out of step with
the rest of the world. Over 45 nations have an age of consent that is
as low as 14. In this case, it appears to me the male pages and Rep.
Foley both benefited from their interactions. The male pages got a
mentor and a powerful gay man they could identify with and Rep. Foley
was able to give something back by reaching out to help provide
guidance and advice to those male pages open to such a relationship.
The sin here is in making those male pages feel guilty or dirty
because they chose to pursue a personal relationship with Rep.
Foley,” Merck said.
“I think the true impropriety lies not in Mr. Foley’s actions but in
the hypocrisy of condemning love between two consenting people, in an
age when war and acts of governmentally sanctioned torture face no
such scrutiny,” said Chris Staheli, Vice-President of Stonewall
Libertarians New York. “The capacity for love and its expression
represent the highest flowering of human endeavor and hysterical
decrying of the expression of human sexuality in the form of legal
witch hunts is a true source of shame. Society straightjackets normal
healthy impulses and condones man’s most inhumane actions as vital to
the function of the state, and that is truly a crime,” Staheli said.
“The male pages who sought to pursue a personal relationship with
Rep. Foley knew exactly who they were getting involved with when they
exchanged e-mails and instant messages with the Congressman. It was
no secret Mark Foley was gay. If any of the male pages weren’t
interested in such a relationship, they could have terminated the
communications at any time,” said Jeff Grizlo, a college student who
is President of Stonewall Libertarians New York. “I would have been
eager to pursue a personal relationship with Rep. Foley had the
opportunity been presented to me. I’ve been a Bent Wanker for as far
back as I can recall. I’ve been exchanging sexually explicit instant
messages with friends since I was 14. To do so with a like-minded gay
Congressman would’ve boosted my self-esteem, inspired me to achieve
better grades, and might have helped me feel less alone,” Grizlo said.
Dr. Stevens said, “If discrimination against gay men wasn’t as
prevalent as it is, Rep. Foley might have been more open about his
sexuality and might have been freer to pursue healthier
relationships. But times being as they are, even the pages reportedly
referred to Rep. Foley as ‘FFF – Foley the Fag from Florida’. In that
atmosphere, there shouldn’t be any surprise when situations like this
Stonewall Libertarians, founded by a Stonewall Veteran on April 20,
1996, is an independent organization of libertarians that believes in
being politically active to promote smaller government, lower taxes
and more individual freedom. It exists to reach out to Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual, Transgender & gay-friendly libertarians to promote
tolerance and equality in society.