GOP Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) let Foley spend “a lot of time” with pages, including private dinner with one, after GOP knew Foley was a problem

Shimkus is toast. There’s even video of Shimkus letting Foley talk to the pages AFTER the GOP knew Foley had page-issues.

You’ll recall that he is the Republican member of Congress who runs the Page Board, the group in charge of the pages. You’ll also recall that tonight we learned on ABC News that GOP House staff warned the page class of 2001-2002 to stay away from ex-Rep. Mark Foley.

Then why is it that on June 6, 2002, well after the kids were warned to stay away from Foley, Shimkus notes approvingly that Foley has spent a lot of time with the Page Class of 2001-2002? This is Shimkus speaking at the page’s goodbye ceremony,

MR. SHIMKUS: I thank my colleague. Now someone who spends a lot of time with you also, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Foley), would like to say a thank you.

(Note: We’ve confirmed in the Congressional Record that this is the exact transcript of the proceedings that day.)

The GOP staff knew Foley was a problem the year before, they warned the pages in 2001. Yet Shimkus, the next year is acknowledging that Foley was still permitted to spend “a lot of time” with the pages. In the name of God, why?

Oh, but it gets worse.

Foley then gets up in front of Shimkus and tells a special little story of how he took one male page to a private dinner in downtown Washington, DC. Put the page in his BMW and “cruised” – Foley’s word – to dinner.

And now for the kicker.

Foley told the kid he had to get permission from his mom and he had to notify the Clerk of the House, Jeff Trandahl, the Republican staffer who works for Republican Speaker of the House Denny Hastert (R-IL). You’ll also recall that Trandahl is the Clerk who joined Shimkus in 2005 to talk to Foley about the creepy email exchange with the first child who got this scandal started.

Why did Shimkus let Foley spend so much time with the pages after GOP staff already knew Foley had a “page problem”? Did the Clerk of the House approve of this dinner? Did Shimkus? Clearly Foley had no fear in the kid going to Clerk and asking for permission – so Foley seemed to think the Clerk wouldn’t mind. And clearly Foley had no fear in telling the story in front of Shimkus, so he obviously didn’t think Shimkus would mind either.

Shimkus then introduces Foley. Read what Foley has to say to the pages of the 2001-2002 class in his speech wishing them goodbye.

FOLEY: John [one of the pages] was the highest bidder on lunch with Mark Foley. Maybe you all do not know this story, but John had paid considerable sums to dine with me. I had offered to take the winning bidder to lunch in the Members’ dining room. Then I heard how much John Eunice paid. And I said, “John, there is no way in the world after you committed so much money to have lunch with me that I would dare take you downstairs to eat in the Members’ dining room.” I said, “Where do you want to go?” He says, without reservation, “Morton’s.” I said, “Morton’s? Like in Morton’s Steakhouse?” He said, “Oh, would that be too much?” I said, “Oh, no, we’ll go.” I said, “Call your mother, get permission, make sure she notifies the Clerk and we will go to Morton’s.” And so we proceeded to cruise down in my BMW to Morton’s.

Putting aside the creepy notion of children bidding on dinner with an already-suspected child sex predator, what in God’s name were Shimkus and the Clerk doing approving of Foley taking a kid in his BMW to a private dinner in downtown Washington? The GOP staff already knew that Foley was trouble. They had already warned the kids. Yet Shimkus let Foley spend lots of time with the kids, by Shimkus’ own admission. And then they let Foley cruise the kid to dinner in his beamer.

Shimkus is toast.

Oh, and if anyone would like to see video of Shimkus praising a suspected child predator for spending lots of time with underage 16 year old pages, you can order the video from this specific date from C-Span for $270. As C-Span notes, the video includes appearances by Mr. Foley and Mr. Shimkus.

(Hat tip to MyDD for discovering the transcript.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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