Fossella and Foley, the donations revisited
Former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fl) as you may recall, abruptly resigned from Congress on September 29, 2006 amid allegations of potential sexual misconduct and communications between himself and House pages, some of whom were underage at the time. As you should also be aware of by now, Rep. Vito Fossella had taken $1,000 in contributions from Rep. Foley, dating back to his 1998 election campaign.
On October 14, 2006, the Brooklyn Paper ran a story that lead with a report that Rep. Vito Fossella had donated Rep. Foley's contribution;
Rep. Vito Fossella has donated $1,000 he received from disgraced ex-Rep. Mark Foley to a Staten Island charity for abused children
All appeared to be well and good, as Rep. Vito Fossella parted with the contributions and thus distanced himself from the Foley scandal. After revisiting FEC reports, new questions seem to arise.
1. How much was donated?
While the Brooklyn Paper and FEC reports indicate Rep. Fossella received $1,000 from Rep. Mark Foley, the Politicker via a statement from Fossella's campaign indicates they made a $2,000 donation, equivalent to what they say Rep. Foley had given the campaign;
I also donated $2000. in contributions from Mr. Foley to organizations in Staten Island and Brooklyn.
This potentially is an incorrect statement from the campaign, as records only show $1,000, however the second part that donations were made to organizations in Staten Island and Brooklyn appears to be false. The Brooklyn Paper quote, and records below indicate that donations were only made to one organization, and that was in Staten Island.
2. The donations.
If we consider the $1,000 amount to be correct, there should be an easy trail through FEC records showing disbursements totaling $1,000. Going through the October Quarterly, the Pre-General and Post General filings by Fossella's campaign, there appears to only be two donations;
09/22/06 - $500 to Staten Island Children's Campaign
09/29/06 - $250 to Staten Island Children's Campaign
These totals if accurate would indicate $750 of the $1,000 donated.
Taking a look at his disbursements (contributions) in the three filings covering the time the Foley story was public and he resigned, through election day, there appears to be no indication that this $750 total is incorrect. In his October Quarterly filing, which covered (08/24/06 - 09/30/06), we find just the two donations to Staten Island Children's Campaign noted above. There were no donations made during his Pre General filing, which covered (10/01/06 - 10/18/06). In the next report, the Post General filing, which covered (10/19/06 - 11/27/06), there are only four donations made, none of which to Staten Island Children's Campaign.
3. The time line.
CNN has a time line outline for reference. ABC first reports on the email exchange between Rep. Mark Foley and House pages on September 28, 2006. Rep. Mark Foley resigned from Congress on September 29, 2006. However, if we go back and look at the dates of the disbursements from Fossella's campaign relating to the money he received from Foley, the first donation was dated six days prior to the first media report on the Rep. Foley scandal. This indicated that Rep. Vito Fossella was quite aware of the situation developing with Rep. Foley. While Fossella made statements such as "If the allegations are true, Mr. Foley should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law" to politically cover himself, he spent no time waiting to find out if the allegations were true to part with his money, although apparently only as an empty symbolic gesture.
If in fact Rep. Vito Fossella knew of the emerging Foley scandal, the next question is why did he do nothing about it? He took the time to cover himself, however what action was taken to assure that Rep. Foley had absolutely no interaction with anymore underage House pages during those six days, if not well before that. If he sat on this information for the sake of protecting his party from the fallout he committed an unforgivable travesty.
Maybe Stephen Harrison had the most astute observation after all;
“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.”
Editorial Note: In addition to this story Rep. Vito Fossella has a larger ethical problem. He has taken a total of $10,000 from Rep. Tom DeLay and his political action committee ARMPAC and has thus far refused to return any of it, despite Rep. DeLay's resignation from Congress and his indictment on money laundering.