NY13 Blog; Retaking NY-13 from Rep. Vito Fossella

Following the corruption, ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of Rep. Vito Fossella.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Vito's Hastert problem

via Brooklyn Papers;

Rep. Vito Fossella has donated $1,000 he received from disgraced ex-Rep. Mark Foley to a Staten Island charity for abused children, and now, Fossella’s Democratic rival for Congress is demanding that he return the $7,000 he’s gotten over the years from embattled House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

“You don’t want to show support for someone who has not been diligent in his duties as Speaker of the House,” said Stephen Harrison, the Bay Ridge attorney running against Fossella, New York’s only Republican congressman, for the seat that covers Staten Island and Bay Ridge.

Hastert has been engulfed in accusations that he knew about Foley’s sexual harassment of male pages, but took no action against Foley, who resigned abruptly two weeks ago after ABC news aired his raunchy instant-messages to House pages.

Fossella has received $7,000 from Hastert’s Keep our Majority PAC since 1997 — but a $5,000 contribution came in June 2005, after the Clerk of the House says he told Hastert’s chief of staff about Foley’s behavior.

“Hastert was aware there were problems for months,” said Harrison. “He should have investigated and done something about it.”

But Fossella is standing firm.

“He is not returning Hastert’s money,” said campaign manager Matthew Mika.

Harrison paints Fossella’s refusal to return Hastert’s donation as a sign of his blind obedience to the Republican party and to President Bush.

“What we have is a congressman who says he is an independent, but will always rally around the Republicans, rather than do the right thing,” Harrison said.

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