2007 House Page Board Resignations

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On December 6, 2007 Reps. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) resigned from the board governing the House Page program. The page board set the policy for the page program while the clerk managed the program on a day-to-day basis. The Congresswomen alleged that the House clerk did not inform them properly about page infractions. Two pages were dismissed after being caught shoplifting, while two others were dismissed for sexual activity.[1]

Explanations for resignations

Brown-Waite explanation

Charlie Keller, a Brown-Waite spokesman, said the Congresswoman did not make her decision to leave lightly. Brown-Waite had volunteered to join the board earlier in the year to reform the panel after the Mark Foley page scandal. However, the Florida Congresswoman was said to have been alarmed when she was not told about the shoplifting incidents before the pages were dismissed. Keller said House clerk Lorraine Miller informed chairman of the board Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.) only about the shoplifting case. When the sexual incidents occurred, Kildee called an emergency committee meeting of the board to inform them. Brown-Waite, however, said she wanted more supervision of the pages and possibly a tougher code of honor that they must sign.[2]

Capito explanation

Capito said there had been "numerous occurrences" in 2007 in which board members had not received timely information about incidents involving pages. She noted the "failed leadership of the clerk of the House and the continued lack of oversight" as prompting her resignation. Capito said she had no other alternative to show her serious concerns about the page program’s management problems.[3]

Response

Kildee response

Kildee responded to the resignations of Reps. Brown-Waite Capito saying he was sorry to see them resign but he "deeply appreciates their concerned and conscientious service." Kildee said he was also unsatisfied with the "manner and timeliness" in which the board was informed of page infractions, but that pages who were found in serious violation of the code of conduct were immediately expelled and sent home.[4]

"I look forward to working with the two new Republican members of the House Page Board who will be appointed by the House Republican leadership," Kildee said in a statement. The Michigan congressman explained how he and Capito sponsored a bill expanding the page board to include two members of the House from each party, the House clerk and sergeant at arms and two outside members, a former page and a parent of a page. Kildee noted that since April the board had held five meetings to examine and reform the program's procedures and policies.[5]

No Republican replacements until reforms made to program

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he would not appoint new Republican members to the House page board until reforms were made to the program. Brian Kennedy, a Boehner spokesman said "It would be irresponsible for the Republican leader to reinstate members to a board that is quite obviously broken. We need to address the problem first, in a way that gives members and parents full confidence that incidents aren't going to continue unabated.[6]

Boehner met on December 11, 2007 with the two Republicans members who resigned their seats from the page board to discuss why they resigned and what solutions could be offered. Democratic and Republican staffers met for an hour on December 10, 2007 to discuss ways to improve the security and safety of the pages after the recent issues of misconduct.[7]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

Sources

  1. Susan Crabtree, "Two GOP lawmakers resign from page board," The Hill, December 6, 2007.
  2. Susan Crabtree, "Two GOP lawmakers resign from page board," The Hill, December 6, 2007.
  3. Susan Crabtree, "Two GOP lawmakers resign from page board," The Hill, December 6, 2007.
  4. Susan Crabtree, "Kildee responds to page board resignations," The Hill, December 7, 2007.
  5. Susan Crabtree, "Kildee responds to page board resignations," The Hill, December 7, 2007.
  6. Jackie Kucinich, "GOP in no rush to name new page board members," The Hill, December 12, 2007.
  7. Jackie Kucinich, "GOP in no rush to name new page board members," The Hill, December 12, 2007.

External resources

External articles