Major cover-up suspected in 'Pagegate' now rocking Capitol Hill
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
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
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
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.
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.