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How Nancy Pelosi Is Protecting The Children

From, of all places, the DNC’s Washington Post:

Another Sexually Charged House Page Scandal

So much for reform of the House page program in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal. House teenage pages are so wild and unsupervised that two GOP members of Congress have resigned from the House Page Board, protesting that they were not informed of two pages caught shoplifting and two others busted for engaging in public oral sex.

One of the members who resigned, Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida, tells the Sleuth that she felt “very, very uncomfortable” both as a mother and a grandmother continuing to serve on a board she feels is inadequately supervised.

“I thought the Mark Foley incident was a wake-up call,” Brown-Waite said, referring to the disgraced former GOP congressman from Florida who was caught sending sexually tawdry instant messages to male House pages. “Apparently it wasn’t.” The congresswoman added, “If I had a 16-year-old granddaughter, I wouldn’t let her come up here. I would not let my 16-year-old grandson come up here.” (The congresswoman does have a 16-year-old grandson.)

One of the incidents that bothered Brown-Waite involved what she called “inappropriate sexual indiscretions” between two teenaged pages. She would not elaborate, though she said other pages served as “enablers.” A source familiar with the incident – which resulted in the expulsions of two pages – said one female page performed oral sex on a male page in the page dorm room as the other teenagers watched. “The enablers provided cover for them, the other pages were watching,” the source said.

According to Brown-Waite, the alleged public sexual indiscretions were “not an isolated incident.”

Two other pages were expelled for shoplifting. Brown-Waite and another source said one of the shoplifters was charged with a felony.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) , Brown-Waite suggested that the Clerk of the House, whose job it is to oversee the House page program, should no longer be in charge of the teenagers. “Page supervision, other than on the floor of the House, is found to be sorely lacking, and the clerk has been slow to share information with members of the board,” Brown-Waite wrote. “In at least one vitally important incident, we were intentionally kept in the dark about dismissals for more than a week, and were only given the details after personally confronting the clerk with rumors we had heard.”

Both Brown-Waite and Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who also resigned from the page board in protest, said they blamed Pelosi for not reforming the program as promised. Capito said the “problems with communication between board members that plagued the program in the past have only continued under new House leadership.” Capito plans to officially tender her resignation on Friday…

UPDATE: Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), the chairman of the bipartisan House Page Board, weighed in Thursday night. He expressed regret over the resignations of Reps. Capito and Brown-Waite from the board and suggested he agreed, at least in part, with the congresswomen that members of the board should have been notified sooner by the House clerk of the pages’ misconduct.

“Pages who were found in serious violation of the Page Code of Conduct this year were immediately expelled from the program and sent home,” Kildee said in a statement released by his office. “The Board was not satisfied with the manner and timeliness in which it was informed of these actions. Therefore, in our Page Board meeting of November 9, 2007, the Board unanimously agreed that the Clerk of the House should immediately and simultaneously inform all Members in cases where pages were dismissed from the program. Indeed, that was the case in the most recent incident.”

Kildee didn’t specify what the “incident” involved, nor did he make reference to any sexual activity or shoplifting.

UPDATE: The House clerk’s office this evening released a statement from Miller acknowledging Brown-Waite’s resignation and welcoming “constructive criticism” and “ideas for further improvement” but also defending her oversight of the page program. She did not address the shoplifting or public sexual conduct allegations, but said the dismissals of the four students involved “are an example of our willingness to exercise our option of immediate dismissal from the program, an option that we will continue to exercise when appropriate and warranted.”

Miller said Democrats, since taking control of the House, have “adopted a zero-tolerance policy when faced with rules violations or conduct that is ethically or legally suspect” and that “under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, we have implemented significant reform measures designed to restore and enhance the integrity, effectiveness and reputation of the House Page Program.”

She said those reforms involve a “strictly enforced Honor Code” and “comprehensive training and orientation that establish clear expectations for conduct that reflects credibly on the House.” She added, “Those of us who are entrusted with the safety, security and wellbeing of our Pages take this responsibility with the utmost seriousness. Creating an environment in which our nation’s youth can be nurtured and developed to their full potential is an extremely rewarding practice and we will continue to develop our Page program to achieve these objectives.”

A “strictly enforced honor code”? That would seem to be an contradiction in terms.

Anyway, here is the letter (from a pdf file) to Speaker Pelosi from Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (with emphasis added):

December 6, 2007

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi H-232, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi:

It is with sincere regret that I am forced to write this letter of resignation to you today. Since my appointment to the House Page Board earlier this year, it has been my wish to see a strong and vibrant page program reestablished in the United States Capitol. Unfortunately, due to the failed leadership of the Clerk of the House, and the continued lack of oversight, I have no choice but to resign as a Republican representative to the Page Board. It is my hope that this drastic step will bring attention to the continued mismanagement of the pages and help revive the flagging program.

Following the upheaval of the page program last September and October, Speaker Hastert took affirmative steps to provide more oversight of the program. When you took office as Speaker this year, you also suggested, and [ supported, what I thought were well designed changes to the page program. When I agreed to serve as a Republican representative to the Page Board, I truly believed that we would have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of high school students working in our Capitol.

Unfortunately, what I have seen is even less oversight and less supervision from the Clerk’s and your office than in Congresses past. This year has already seen four pages dismissed from the program; dismissals for serious criminal acts and for inappropriate sexual indiscretions between the students. Given the rate and seriousness of these events, I do not see how the page program can be properly administered with the current leadership of the Clerk of the House.

To be quite frank with you, while the makeup of the board has expanded, and the Party in control has changed, I have yet to see the wholesale changes that were promised by you and your leadership team upon taking office this year. It is clear to me that you have paid nothing more than lip service to a wholesale revamping of the program, and that you have learned nothing from the lessons of the Mark Foley scandal.

Page supervision, other than on the floor of the House, is found to be sorely lacking, and the Clerk has been slow to share information with members of the Board. In at least one vitally important incident, we were intentionally kept in the dark about dismissals for more than a week, and were only given the details after personally confronting the Clerk with rumors we had heard. Madam Speaker, it is impossible to do our jobs as Page Board members if we are not given the information necessary to make decisions in the best interests of the students and their families back home. Withholding information is simply an unacceptable management practice.

Sadly, I submit this letter of resignation with the full knowledge that in the short term the credibility of the Board will be damaged, and the page program may suffer. However, I see no other alternative to bring to your, and the rest of the House’s, attention the serious management problems the page program currently faces. We have been given no opportunity to make substantive changes.

Please know that I wish current and future students the best in their studies, and that I thank the other members of the Board for their time and service. I hope that you take the seriousness of my resignation to heart and that immediate action is taken to put strong and effective oversight of the Page program into place. The pages serving the House, and their parents, deserve nothing less. Until I can ensure parents that proper supervision is provided, I intend to not seek students to participate and encourage my colleagues to do the same.


Ginny Brown-Waite
Member of Congress

Ms. Pelosi has often proclaimed that everything she has tried to do this term in Congress has been “for the children.”

Yet it would once again appear that everything she has done has been a failure.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, December 7th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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