WASHINGTON – House Majority Leader John Boehner says he might have taken matters into his own hands if he or any GOP leader had known about ex-Rep. Mark Foley's sexually explicit instant messages to former pages.
"Foley's conduct was reprehensible, abhorrent. And if any one of us would have known about this, we would have dragged him out of there by his tie," said Boehner, the current No. 2 leader in the House.
Boehner, R-Ohio, maintains he told Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., last spring about Foley's too-friendly e-mails to pages and was informed the matter was being handled.
"I believe strongly that the speaker — neither the speaker, myself or anyone knew of the sexually explicit instant messages," Boehner said. "All I was told was that there had been contact between Foley and the former page. ... I believe that I talked to the speaker about this. I believe that he told me it had been taken care of."
There has been no indication that Republican leaders knew of the sexually explicit instant messages to former male pages until the scandal became public and Foley, R-Fla., resigned at the end of the September.
Boehner and a second GOP House leader, campaign chairman Tom Reynolds of New York, have said that before then they were aware only of Foley's e-mails to a former Louisiana page. Those messages asked about the 16-year-old's birthday and requested a picture.
Boehner, interviewed Sunday on ABC's "This Week," said the Foley matter was one of hundreds he dealt with daily in the House, and he was hopeful an internal House probe will be resolved soon.
"I'm on the House floor as a majority leader, I'm having hundreds of conversations every day with Democrats and Republicans, trying to run the House," Boehner said. "The House ethics committee is doing a very good investigation in a bipartisan way. I was happy to meet with them, and I believe that they'll have a report coming soon."
The committee has interviewed 21 witnesses behind closed doors since Oct. 11, but there is no indication anything can be resolved before the Nov. 7 elections.