WASHINGTON – President Bush on Friday signed a bill into law to overhaul the board that supervises teenage congressional pages. The legislation passed after a scandal that left youngsters vulnerable to a lawmaker's sexual come-ons and helped Democrats win control of Congress.
The House voted unanimously earlier this month on the measure to equalize the political membership of the House Page Board.
In remarks before the vote, lawmakers expressed anger that the past board chairman, John Shimkus, R-Ill., failed to convene the board when he learned in the fall of 2005 that then-Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., had sent overly friendly e-mails to a former Louisiana page.
Left unaware were Reps. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., the new board chairman, and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who will remain on the board. Both said they learned of Foley's conduct when he resigned and it became public.
Kildee and Capito were co-sponsors of the newly approved changes. To add additional oversight to spot any future misconduct, the expanded board now will include a former page and the parent of a current or former page.
Pages are high school students who run errands for lawmakers while learning about Congress, attending a congressionally run high school and living in a supervised dormitory.
Foley resigned Sept. 29, and polls showed the scandal was a factor in Republicans losing control of the House in November. Foley became acquainted with the teenagers while they worked in Congress, and kept in touch after they left — sending some overly friendly e-mails and others, sexually explicit instant computer messages.