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Angie Paccione Demands that Dennis Hastert Step Down - 10/3/2006

For Immediate Release: October 3, 2006
Contact: James Thompson
(970) 222-6397

Angie Paccione Demands that Dennis Hastert Step Down

Paccione calls on Musgrave to demand accountability in the Foley scandal and rethink her opposition to helping exploited children.

FORT COLLINS—As details emerge about the House Republican leadership’s complicity in covering up former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley’s pattern of inappropriate conduct towards young male pages employed at the U.S. Capitol, State Rep. Angie Paccione today called on Marilyn Musgrave to denounce her party leadership’s cover-up and to join her in demanding that House Speaker Dennis Hastert step down from his leadership post.

Paccione also called on Musgrave to pressure Foley into donating his campaign funds to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and added that Musgrave should rethink her opposition to the center. Musgrave was one of only fourteen Members of Congress who voted against the Runaway, Homeless, and Missing Children Act that reauthorized the center in 2003.

“Marilyn was one of only fourteen to vote against the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” said Paccione. “This scandal allows Marilyn to rethink her past attitudes toward vulnerable and exploited children. She should call on Foley to shift his campaign funds to this vital institution.”

Foley was chair of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus and pushed legislation targeting pedophiles. On Friday, he resigned from his congressional seat after ABC News published Foley’s sexually explicit electronic messages with male minors serving as House pages.

“Mark Foley was preying on children in the halls of Congress, while Dennis Hastert swept it under the rug,” said Paccione. “This massive failure of leadership is shameful, and Marilyn needs to join those who are calling for accountability.”

Republican Rep. Rodney Alexander’s staff informed Hastert’s office in fall 2005 of the original messages. House Majority Leader John Boehner told the Washington Post that he has known since the spring about contact between Foley and a 16-year-old boy. According to the Post, Boehner originally said he informed House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and that Hastert replied, “We’re taking care of it.”

Also, the Associated Press has reported that several months ago Alexander informed Rep. Thomas Reynolds, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Reynolds also says he informed Hastert, which Hastert denied, but later admitted.

Indicating that Foley’s inappropriate advances were common knowledge on Capitol Hill, ABC News reported, “One former page [said] his class was warned about Foley by people involved in the program.” Yet the special-interest protection racket in the Congress insulated Foley from responsibility.

Paccione questioned Hastert’s judgment in allowing Foley to remain as head of the Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus. “These are children we are talking about. Why was this permitted?” she said.

In August, Hastert visited Loveland, Colorado for a Marilyn Musgrave fundraiser, lacing his appeal for special-interest cash with references to family values. Paccione—a co-sponsor of legislation that protects children from Internet predators, increases public access to information about sex offenders, and advances child Internet safety at schools and libraries—called on Musgrave to stand up for those values today.

“The American people won’t tolerate caving in to these powerful politicians,” said Paccione. “Marilyn, it’s time for you to demand real leadership.

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