NRCC Held ‘Damage Control’ Meeting about Foley Two Days Before Scandal Broke

Rep. Tom Reynolds, who chairs the NRCC, may have known about Rep. Mark Foley’s emails to teen-aged pages earlier than he has said publicly.

NRCC staffers are on the record saying that they held a “damage control” meeting about Foley’s emails two days before Foley resigned — which is also two days before Reynolds has said he learned about the emails.

NRCC Communications Director Carl Forti and Reynolds then chief-of-staff Kirk Fordham both took part in the first call the evening of Wednesday, September 27, and one call the next day, Forti and other sources familiar with the call confirmed. Forti’s involvement and the NRCC’s role in the run-up to the Foley scandal add another link between the disgraced former congressman and Reynolds, who has said he knew only indirectly of questionable emails, and that he reported them to his House superiors. They also reflect another moment at which House GOP leadership was aware of concerns about Foley and pages…

The conference call, described by a Hill staffer familiar with its contents as focused on “damage control,” also included Foley’s Florida-based political consultant, Richard Johnston, and his communications director, Jason Kello, according to two people familiar with the call. The participants were unaware of the explicit instant messages that would force Foley’s resignation two days later…

Among NRCC staff, “I was the only one who participated in the conference calls,” Forti said, referring to the Wednesday night call and to another after the first ABCNews report Thursday but before the graphic instant messages surfaced Friday.

Forti said he couldn’t comment on whether either Reynolds himself or NRCC executive director Sally Vastola participated in the early discussions about the first Foley email because both testified before the ethics commission on the case and are forbidden from discussing their testimony. Reynolds’ campaign spokesman, L.D. Platt, declined even to ask the congressman about the issue, citing the ban on discussing testimony.

Foley consultant Richard Johnston and Foley communications director Jason Kello were also on the phone, according to two people familiar with the call.

Fordham, then Reynolds’ chief of staff, and formerly Foley’s chief of staff, played a central role throughout the affair.

“Kirk was involved before the resignation – in the days before – helping, advising Foley with respect to how this would be handled in the context of his reelection campaign,” said Fordham’s lawyer, Timothy Heaphy, referring to the earlier, less damning email. “There were NRCC people involved in that discussion.”

3 Comments

  • November 4, 2006 - 4:56 am | Permalink

    SURE ALL OF THE REPUGS KNEW OF FOLEY CRIST AND ALL OF THE OTHER MAN LOVERS! BUT IT IS OK IF YOU SCREW MWN! IS IS JUST AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE IF YOU USE A WOMAN LIKE CLINTON! FOR BOTH PARTIES HAVE LIED ABOUT THEIR SEXY CAPERS!

  • Aaron
    November 4, 2006 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Google “Kello” AND “George Allen”

  • byclechalamib
    May 5, 2008 - 2:53 pm | Permalink

    The wages of sin are unreported.

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