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Gay sex scandal rocks US Congress -

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Reporter: Tom Iggulden

There are fears that a disgraced legislator's come-ons to teenage boys in Congress may seriously
damage the GOP in the upcoming midterm elections.


TONY JONES: Once again, the old Washington lesson - the cover-up is worse than the crime - has come
back to haunt the US Republican Party. In the run-up to critical mid-term elections, the most
senior Republican in the House of Representatives is facing allegations he covered up a scandal
involving a former GOP congressman. Mark Foley resigned after it emerged last week he had sent
sexually suggestive emails to young men on his staff. Now Foley's Chief of Staff says he warned the
Republican House leader Dennis Hastert about the wayward congressman three years ago and nothing
was done.

TOM IGGULDEN: Republicans have held the majority in Congress since 1994, but the party was already
polling badly ahead of next months mid-term Congressional elections. A mushrooming sex scandal
won't help. Yesterday, Congressman Mark Foley resigned, following the revelation of highly explicit
cyberspace conversations he had with teenage boys working as pages on Capitol Hill. Admitting he's
been hiding his homosexuality, Mr Foley has checked into a Florida rehab clinic for alcoholism and
he revealed as a teenager he himself was sexually abused by an unnamed clergyman.

DAVID ROTH, MARK FOLEY'S LAWYER: Mark doesn't blame the trauma he sustained as a young adolescent
for his totally inappropriate emails. He continues to offer no excuse whatsoever for his conduct.

TOM IGGULDEN: Now attention is being turned to whether his behaviour was condoned by his Republican
colleagues. One former page said he was approached by a Republican staffer about Foley's behaviour.

MATTHEW LORADITCH: It was a slight cautionary statement, you mow. "Don't get too wrapped up in him
being nice to you" and that kind of stuff. "He's a nice guy, but he's a little bit odd."

TOM IGGULDEN: That would be an understatement if the messages that have been made public are
anything to go by. In one exchange Foley swaps explicit sexual fantasies and masturbation
techniques with a teenage boy before asking him to measure his penis.

GEORGE W BUSH: I was dismayed and shocked to learn about Congressman Foley's unacceptable

TOM IGGULDEN: But questions remain about how long his colleagues knew about his predatory
behaviour. Today his Chief of Staff Kirk Fordham said he told the Office of the Speaker of the
House about Mr Foley's behaviour three years ago and he became the second scalp, forced to resign
from his new job as Chief of Staff for another Republican congressman, who today said he was
surprised by the depravity of Mr Foley's behaviour.

CONGRESSMAN: When I saw the despicable, deplorable emails that no child, no person should have to
see, then I said, "He's got to go. Can we get his resignation?"

TOM IGGULDEN: But the scandal could reach higher. The Speaker, Dennis Hastert, is under pressure
from his own party to resign as well.

DENNIS HASTERT: I've known him for all of the years he's served in this House and he deceived me,

TOM IGGULDEN: After initially denying he had ever heard the allegation, Mr Dennis Hastert changed
his tune.

RADIO REPORT: He went to Foley and confronted him and he said he wouldn't do it anymore. He was
sorry. He was just trying to talk to the kid, he liked the kid, nice kid and he wouldn't do it any
more. We told him not to do it anymore there or to anybody - period.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Speaker has gone to ground issuing a statement saying the issue will be dealt
with by the House ethics committee, which meets tomorrow.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: There's unanimity that he hasn't done enough to deal with this. He has not
taken responsibility for it or ordered the right reforms and he's in deep trouble.

TOM IGGULDEN: Some Republican fundraisers ahead of the mid-term elections reportedly have been
called off to avoid questions about the scandal.