WSJ's Miniter falsely asserted Shimkus told Foley "to cut off all direct contact with underage pages"
OpinionJournal.com assistant editor Brendan Miniter falsely asserted that Rep. John Shimkus, chairman of the House Page Board, decided "to confront [former Rep. Mark] Foley and tell him to cut off all direct contact with underage pages." In fact, according to a statement Shimkus put out, he ordered Foley to cut off contact with only one specific page; he otherwise advised Foley "to be especially mindful of his conduct with respect to current and former House Pages."
In an attempt to recount "what we know so far" about the emerging scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), who abruptly resigned from Congress on September 29 amid allegations that he sent sexually explicit emails and instant messages to underage former congressional pages, Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal.com assistant editor Brendan Miniter falsely asserted in his October 3 column that upon "look[ing] at the few emails" Foley had written to one page, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), chairman of the House Page Board, decided "to confront Mr. Foley and tell him to cut off all direct contact with underage pages." In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, Shimkus limited his warning to Foley only to the specific page in question, telling Foley "to cease all contact with this former House Page," according to a statement published on Shimkus's website. In his statement, Shimkus also asserted that he and "the then Clerk of the House, who manages the Page Program," had advised Foley "to be especially mindful of his conduct with respect to current and former House Pages," but nowhere in his statement did he say that he or anyone else told Foley to "cut off all direct contact with underage pages."
From Miniter's October 3 OpinionJournal.com column:
Here's what we know so far: Late last year, when informed that there might be something amiss, the speaker's office referred the issue to Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois. He heads the committee in charge of the page program, and he took a look at the few emails that had surfaced. Mr. Shimkus was concerned enough by what he saw to confront Mr. Foley and tell him to cut off all direct contact with underage pages. The Florida congressman apparently spun a story that he was only mentoring the boy who had received the emails. And, looking over messages asking for a picture and what the page wanted for his birthday, Mr. Shimkus apparently bought it. But the question that will haunt Republicans now is, if the evidence was compelling enough to confront Mr. Foley, why wasn't it also compelling enough to dig deeper?