|Considering how he got to Washington, he should have known better than most how important trust and ethics are. In 2006, District 16 incumbent Mark Foley resigned six weeks before the election when his many lewd e-mails to underage pages came to light. It was one of several scandals that resulted in Republicans losing their majority in Congress to Democrats, many of whom, like Rep. Mahoney, made ethics an issue. Democrats blasted GOP House leaders, who had been aware of the complaints against Foley but had refused to act.|
Spokespersons for Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, who recruited Rep. Mahoney, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, have acknowledged that their bosses confronted Rep. Mahoney about the affair this year. Both, however, deny knowledge of the settlement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who says she first learned of the allegations from Monday's ABC News report, has called for the ethics committee to investigate "without delay."
In 2006, Rep. Pelosi promised that Democrats would "lead the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress in history." If that's true, now is the time for her and other members of the House leadership to tell the public, as Democrats demanded of Republicans two years ago in the Foley case, what they knew and when they knew it.
Rep. Mahoney's behavior means that this year's congressional Christmas present probably will go to Mr. Rooney. An Army veteran and lawyer whose family owns the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Palm Beach Kennel Club, Mr. Rooney won the Republican primary. The Post won't agree with him as often as we agreed with Rep. Mahoney, but Mr. Rooney does support the national disaster insurance bill and he favors a timeline for ending the Iraq War.
On Wednesday, Rep. Mahoney's attorney said the $121,000 came from the congressman's account. Too much about this scandal, though, remains unanswered. Rep. Mahoney called it "a private matter," but it involves taxpayer money to hire the mistress, and he lost the privacy shield when he campaigned on "Faith and Family - Where I Stand." Now, it's where he has slipped and fallen.
The FBI probe is getting bigger now involving FEMA.