I know nothing about the details of the page scandal, except what's in the press and D.C. gossip, and have no idea who might have tried to prevent or not prevent Foley from continuing his predation. It is clear, however, that the House Clerk at the time, Jeff Trandahl, is close to the center of it. Today's Washington Post has an interesting story that suggests that Trandahl was a strict disciplinarian of the pages, took his responsiblities very seriously, did everything he could to stop Foley, and after being unable to get Hastert or Reynolds to stop it, quit:
Sources close to Fordham say Trandahl repeatedly urged the longtime aide and close family friend to confront Foley about his inappropriate advances on pages. Each time, Foley pledged to no longer socialize with the teenagers, but, weeks later, Trandahl would again alert Fordham about more contacts. Out of frustration, the sources said, Fordham contacted Palmer, hoping that an intervention from such a powerful figure in the House would persuade Foley to stop.
Now, a second House aide familiar with Foley and his actions told The Washington Post yesterday that "Scott Palmer had spoken to Foley prior to November 2005." The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is now the subject of a criminal investigation and the House ethics committee inquiry.
Why would Trandahl have persisted? Because he cared about the pages, and wanted to stop the abuse. He was strict and took his reponsibilities seriously:
As House clerk between January 1999 and November 2005, Trandahl had direct control over the page program. Pages apparently saw Trandahl as a strict disciplinarian. In one instant-message exchange obtained by The Post, a former page, on his way to his first annual reunion in Washington, told Foley in January 2003 that "everyone is going to be pretty wasted a lot of the time in dc."
He then added, "well we dont have the [expletive] clerk to fire us anymore. . . . we didnt like trandahl that much . . . he isnt a nice guy . . . and he gets really scarey when he is mad."
Then there's the swift, unceremonial resignation of Trandahl last November:
"My one-hour Special Order changed to a five-minute Special Order, now to a one-minute," Shimkus said. "I just want to say thank you for the work you have done."
I don't know the answers to the many questions here. But, in the interests of full disclosure, I should add that I have known Jeff Trandahl for close to two decades, as a friend. I cannot know what he did or did not do in this affair, I assume he is fully cooperating with the relevant inquiries, and I haven't spoken with him since this thing broke.
But I should say two things: I know in the last couple of years in his job, he seemed extremely stressed and unhappy. I also know he is one of the most honest, decent, ethical, kind, and principled men I've met in my life. My affection for him is as deep as my respect. He's a good man with integrity, always openly gay, and he always took his responsibilities very seriously. I have complete confidence that he will tell the whole truth to the relevant authorities without fear or favor, and let the chips fall where they may.