Hastert in a Foley contradiction, again

If House Republican leaders are telling the truth, why are they having such a hard time keeping their stories straight?

Published October 5, 2006 9:25PM (EDT)

When it comes to the Mark Foley case, House Speaker Dennis Hastert still seems to be having a hard time getting his story straight. TPM Muckraker's Justin Rood has caught him in the act this time.

At his press conference today, Hastert said that when House Page Board chairman John Shimkus met with Foley last fall about his e-mail exchange with a 16-year-old former page, Shimkus asked Foley "if there was any other messages." Foley said no, Hastert said.

That's not how Shimkus remembers it. As Rood notes, Shimkus acknowledged in an interview with the Chicago Tribune Wednesday that he did not ask Foley whether he had exchanged messages with any other House page.

Not that Shimkus saw a problem with that. "The thing that's frustrating to me is that I'm not the bad guy here," Shimkus told the Tribune. "Leadership's not the bad guy. The bad guy is whoever had these explicit instant messages that were done in 2003 and held them. That's the bad guy ... because those instant messages are what put these kids at risk."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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