Saturday, October 7

WHO IS JEFF TRANDAHL?

We've yet to hear from House Clerk Jeff Trandahl, but he's increasingly appearing to be a key factor in the Mark Foley case:

Hastert's office contends that the first confrontation with Foley occurred in November 2005, when Shimkus, the head of the House Page Board, and then-House Clerk Jeff Trandahl took Foley aside to discuss what they termed "over-friendly" e-mails that Foley had sent to a Louisiana boy. Fordham's account not only pushed the matter back at least two years but also indicated that alarms over Foley's behavior had gone well beyond bland e-mails.

Sources close to Fordham say Trandahl repeatedly urged the longtime aide and close family friend to confront Foley about his inappropriate advances on pages. Each time, Foley pledged to no longer socialize with the teenagers, but, weeks later, Trandahl would again alert Fordham about more contacts. Out of frustration, the sources said, Fordham contacted Palmer, hoping that an intervention from such a powerful figure in the House would persuade Foley to stop.
...
Palmer, who shares a townhouse with Hastert when they are in town, is more powerful than all but a few House members. Members know that he speaks for Hastert.

The divergent accounts have highlighted the holes in the public's understanding of Foley's undoing. And they are sure to ratchet up the pressure on Trandahl to come forward with his knowledge of events. As House clerk between January 1999 and November 2005, Trandahl had direct control over the page program.
...
Trandahl's departure came within days of his confrontation with Foley over e-mails that the congressman had sent a former page.
...
Lilly said: "He seemed to suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke."


More and more, I'm convinced that whoever finally leaked the initial e-mails to CREW and media outlets was simply desperate to get somebody, ANYBODY, to bring the Foley "advances" to teenaged House pages to light so that they would be stopped. Scott Palmer is lying. Denny Hastert is lying. Jeff Trandahl has yet to be heard from.

This story isn't dying anytime soon.

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