Washington Prowler

They’ll Regret It

In going too far in the Foley scandal, Democrats risk major exposure themselves.

By 10.5.06

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"We're getting into very dangerous territory, and I've warned my colleagues to be careful." That's what a Democrat leadership aide was saying on Wednesday, as word circulated about David Corn's blog posting that revealed that a list of gay Republicans congressional staffers was circulating through emails.

Such a list has been talked about for months, if not years, by more militant homosexual activists, who have threatened to out Republican congressional staffers or even congressmen if they take positions counter to their gay lifestyle.

Now, in the wake of the Rep. Mark Foley scandal, a form of "the list" is again circulating among journalists and any other interested third parties.

"If that list is made public, all of the political gains we've made in the past 96 hours get flushed down the toilet," says the leadership aide.

Just as troubling are concerns among some House Democrat staff that there are potential scandals lurking of a similar vein for them. According to another Democrat source, "I've been warning my people to stay away from this story because you just don't know what will come back to bite you."

Of concern: that House Democrat leadership or Rep. Dale Kildee (Mich.), the Democrat member of the page board, who has served on it since 1985, or his staff have received complaints about Democrat colleagues' perceived inappropriate communications or contact with pages or former pages, and have not brought those complaints to the board or House management, such as the House Clerk's office. Kildee has been vocal about the Foley complaints not being brought before the full board prior to the scandal breaking, and the secretive nature of the Republican leadership's attempts to bring closure to the scandal.

"We all know this kind of scandal isn't just a Republican problem," says a Democrat political consultant in Washington. "We don't want to see what is out there about Democratic House members or former members."

But other Democrats say more is to come, that talk among Democrats around town is that researchers at CREW and the House Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee have in recent weeks been in contact, and that there are additional stories involving Republicans and questionable ethics behavior to be leaked closer to election time.

"It's gossip, and there is just a feeling that the DCCC is in on some of this and that there is more to come closer to Election Day. Remember, [DCCC Chairman Rahm] Emanuel has done this kind of stuff before back with the Clintons," says the Democrat consultant.

History certainly shows this to be a Democrat M.O. Back on October 30, 1992, Iran-Contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh indicted former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. This was the Friday before the election, and came at time when it appeared that then-President George H.W. Bush had closed the gap and possibly pulled ahead of challenger Gov. Bill Clinton. Adding to the notion that this was a political dirty trick was inclusion in the indictment of a January 7, 1986 note written by Weinberger that seemed to suggest that then Vice President Bush knew more about the arms-for-hostages deal than he had let on. Such a note was not legally required to be included in the indicting documents, and at the time was considered purely a dirty trick. More recently, Democrat operatives dropped the current President George W. Bush's old drunk driving story less than a week before Election Day 2000.

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