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House ethics panel set for Foley hearing

[JURIST] The US House Ethics Committee [official website] will hold hearings Thursday on the Mark Foley scandal [JURIST news archive]. Former Foley chief of staff Kirk Fordham is set to testify about when he notified the staff of US House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) [official website] about Foley's inappropriate behavior. Fordham has maintained he notified Hastert in either 2002 or 2003, while Hastert's chief of staff Scott Palmer claims that he did not receive warnings about Foley until the fall of 2005, when US Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA) [official website] told the Speaker's office about a questionable, but not sexually explicit, Foley email.

Hastert has come under fire [BBC report] after allegations that he had prior knowledge of the sexually explicit e-mails sent from Foley to teenage males in the House Page program [PDF backgrounder]. Hastert disputes claims by Majority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) [official websites], the House Republican campaign chairman, that Boehner and Reynolds warned Hastert of Foley months before Foley resigned [Reuters report]. The ethics committee has not yet scheduled Hastert to testify, though Hastert has said he will provide full testimony if subpoenaed. The committee issued four dozen subpoenas [JURIST report] last week. AP has more.

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