- Oct 16, 2003
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co...rticle/2006/10/03/AR2006100301109.htmlCompare the current situation with the way Speaker Tip O'Neill and the House handled the last scandal involving sexual misconduct with pages, in the summer of 1982.
On "The CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" that June, two former pages, their teenage faces silhouetted to hide their identity, claimed they were victims of sexual abuse by members of Congress. One described homosexual advances by members; the other shocked the nation when he said he had engaged in homosexual relations with three members and procured prostitutes for others. The CBS broadcast sparked a wildfire of reports and rumors about sexual abuse of pages and drug use by members and pages.
Within a week the House had authorized its ethics committee to conduct a full investigation of allegations of "sexual misconduct, illicit drug distribution and use, and offers of preferential treatment in exchange for sexual favors or drugs by Members, officers or employees of the House." House Speaker O'Neill and Minority Leader Robert Michel asked me to be special counsel to the ethics committee, co-chaired by Ohio Democrat Lou Stokes and South Carolina Republican Floyd Spence. I was allowed to select my own staff and given a commitment that I could follow the evidence wherever it led, because, as O'Neill and Michel said, "The integrity of the House is at stake."
We interviewed, under oath, some 2,000 past and present pages, adults who had supervised and taught them, congressional staffers, and House members. We issued scores of subpoenas.
We found no evidence of widespread sexual misconduct. We did find that Rep. Daniel Crane (R-Ill.) had had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female page and that Rep. Gerry Studds (D-Mass.) had sexual relations with a 17-year-old male page and had made advances to other teenage male pages.
When I reported our findings to O'Neill and Michel, the dishonor that these members had brought on the House infuriated the two leaders. "Get it out," they said, "and let the committee recommend disciplinary action," which its four Democratic and four Republican members did, unanimously, in July 1983.
The course the House took in that scandal, and its reaction to the current one, show the difference between a leadership that saw a threat to the integrity of the House of Representatives and one that sees a threat to its continuing control of the institution.
More in article. The contrast is stark, the current crop is all about power. They could care less about the American people and producing sound policy.