jim ryun and the foley scandal
As someone completely in bed with the leaders of the House, Kansas's own Jim Ryun should be one of them.
First, according to Ryun's FEC filings, he has accepted money directly from House Speaker Dennis Hastert. With each passing hour, Hastert is becoming more and more radioactive, as it becomes increasingly apparent that he knew of Foley's penchant for pages and did nothing (for example, just today it was reported that Hastert knew about Foley's problems for at least two years) Prominent conservative voices from Reagan economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow to the Washington Times editorial page are calling for his resignation. If Hastert takes the fall, will Ryun return the money, or simply hope the stink doesn't rub off on him?
Second, Ryun has contributed money directly to the Republican head of the House Page Board John Shimkus. Today, Shimkus defended his handling of the Foley debacle:
Amid mounting criticism from his own party, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, said he acted properly when confronted last year with a questionable email sent by disgraced former congressman Mark Foley to a former congressional page.Of course, as many others have been quick to point out, there are quite a few things he could have done differently.
"I don't know of a single thing I would have done differently," Shimkus told The State Journal-Register editorial board during an hour-long Wednesday meeting.
Shimkus has faced criticism from both parties for not telling the other two page board members last year when the parents of a former page complained that Foley had asked their son to send him a picture of himself.If Shimkus survives, will Jim Ryun continue to fill his campaign coffers?
Members of both parties have also said that Shimkus and others who knew about the email should have conducted a more thorough investigation. Controversy exploded late last week when sexually explicit instant messages Foley that sent to a different former page surfaced publicly, forcing the Florida congressman to resign Friday.
After reading excerpts of 2005 emails, Shimkus said he confronted Foley, told him to stop contacting the former page and to not have contact with other pages. He took no further action.
Third, Mark Foley and Jim Ryun are literally next door neighbors in Washington. Earlier this year the Topeka Capital Journal reported
Ryun agreed to open his much-talked-about townhouse this month to guests willing to drop $1,000 into his re-election coffer.
It was part of the second-annual "D Street Block Party," which brings five Republicans together for booze and schmooze. Connecticut Rep. Nancy Johnson offered martinis, while Florida Rep. Clay Shaw Jr. set people up with Scotch. Indiana Rep. Chris Chocola mixed margaritas and Florida Rep. Mark Foley popped the cork on wine.
The last stop was at the Ryuns, who ran the sobriety checkpoint and offered guests coffee and dessert.
The article is silent as to whether dinner guests were carded.
Of course it's worth remembering how Ryun and Foley came to be neighborly. The same article reports:
The Ryuns' search that summer in an upscale area east of the Capitol was initially discouraging. Little progress was made until Ryun recalled that U.S. Family Network, a conservative advocacy group funded mostly with contributions linked to Abramoff, owned a townhouse in the zone coveted by the Ryuns.
The congressman contacted Ed Buckham, former chief of staff to DeLay and founder of U.S. Family Network, to find out whether the organization would sell. Buckham, DeLay and others knew the building as the "Safe House." Buckham put Ryun in touch with Thomas Smith, U.S. Family Network's attorney.
By November, the Ryuns had a contract to buy the two-story brick building for $410,000. It needed cosmetic upgrading and a bit of structural work, but they were pleased.
"You have to look and be at the right place at the right time," the Kansas Republican said.
At the closing in December, nobody took notice that this 1890s home had never been placed in the hands of a Realtor to seek fair market value for the seller. No one raised red flags about a private sale to the Ryuns, which helped U.S. Family Network avoid $25,000 in commissions. Also slipping under radar, until recently, was the fact U.S. Family Network sold out at a $19,000 loss despite escalation of housing prices in the two years the organization owned the property. U.S. Family Network had purchased the property for $429,000.The home is assessed at $764,000 for tax year 2007, according to the Office of Tax and Revenue.
Fourth, Ryun and Mark Foley are both financed by the same group of people. An analysis of Foley and Ryun's FEC filings reveals donations to both by the following people (almost all donors have given money to both Foley and Ryun repeatedly):
AFLACAnd last but not least, lets not forget that both Foley and Ryun accepted loads of money from ultra-corrupt former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
America's Community Bankers Community Campaign
American Crystal Sugar Co.
American Dental PAC
American Hospital Association
American Hotel Lodging Association
American Medical Association PAC
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association PAC
American Sugar Cane League
American Sugarbeet Growers
Associated Builders Contractors PAC
Associated General Contractors America
Auction Markets PAC
Automotive Free International
Bank of America
Bellsouth Employee's PAC
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.
Eric Cantor for Congress
Capital One PAC
Chicago Board of Options Exchange
Credit Union Legislative Action Council
Dairy Farmers PAC
Dealers Election Action Committee
Deloitte & Touche
E*Trade Financial Corp.
Every Republican is Crucial PAC
Farm Credit Council
Federal Express PAC
Florida Sugar Cane League
HSBC North America
Independent Community Bankers of America
Independent Insurance Agents of America
Investment Company Institute PAC
KPMG Partners/Principals & Employees PAC
Manufactured Housing Institute PAC
Metlife Employee's PAC
National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers
National Association of Realtors
National Restaurant Association PAC
NRA Political Victory Fund
Pepsico Concerned Citizens Fund
Price Waterhouse Cooper PAC
Property Casualty Insurers Association
Quaker Oats PAC
Teco Energy Employee's PAC
Title Industry PAC
Trea Senior Citizen's League
Union Pacific Corp. Fund for Effective Government
United Parcel Service
United Services Automobile Association
United Technoloies Corp.
Williams Companies, Inc.
Of course, most House Republicans have ties to people involved in the Foley scandal. But thats exactly the point--this group is so corrupt that it's time for fresh blood. There were already indications that Ryun's re-election bid was in trouble. Widespread revulsion at Republican attempts to hide a sexual predator in their midst threatens to sink Ryun completely.