Ethics report: Page says Kolbe tried to silence him

A former Kolbe page says that Foley sent him an inappropriate instant message in the fall of 2001.

Published December 8, 2006 7:24PM (EST)

The House Ethics Committee report on the Mark Foley scandal suggests that retiring Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe tried to keep a former page from talking to the committee about an inappropriate IM message he received from Foley in 2001.

According to the report, the former Kolbe page e-mailed Kolbe in the fall of 2001 to say that he had received an instant message from Foley that had made him uncomfortable. According to the page, Foley "made reference" in the message "to the size of his penis." The page says he forwarded the message to Kolbe and asked him to "take care of it." Kolbe denies seeing the message itself but says he directed one of his aides to contact Kirk Fordham, Foley's chief of staff, and tell him to tell Foley to cease communication with the former page. The Kolbe aide did so and also informed former House Clerk Jeff Trandahl about the incident.

Once the Foley scandal broke this fall, the page says he circled back to Kolbe to ask what he should do if contacted by the House Ethics Committee or any other authority. According to the page's account, Kolbe told him then that it would be "best that you don't even bring this up with anybody ... There is no good that can come from it if you actually talk about this. The man has resigned anyway."

Kolbe denies telling the page not to talk, saying that the page told him that he'd decided not to talk about the incident and that Kolbe responded: "That's your decision."

By Tim Grieve

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

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