October 19, 2013
Tom Foley's Leadership of the US House
Long-time Washinton Congressman and Speaker of the House of Representatives Tom Foley died this week. He led the House for six years and led his Democrats in the House to thorough defeat in the election of 1994. He even lost his own seat when the voters in Spokane and rural eastern Washington told him to come home. And he did, but they didn't see him. He continued to live in Washington, DC, his home.
This is the place to say he is remembered for working across the aisle, etc. But I have no memory of him being other than a Democrat partisan who talked conservative in his Eastern-Washington district and was an establishment power player inside the beltway. For instance:
He sued the voters of Washington!!
And he expected them to reelect him? The voters of the state passed Initiative 573 to limit Congressmen to 6 consecutive years in the House and Senators to 12 years. Someone had to put us in our places. So Foley bravely sued us. Christian Science Monitor - Ballot Pedia
He led the defense against investigation of the House Post Office. Examiner
The Capitol Police investigated embezzlement charges in the House of Representatives Post Office. Originally, they targeted a solitary employee, but the investigation quickly expanded to include many workers. The Democratic leadership quickly moved to stop the investigation. Clearly, they feared what the police would discover.
The U.S. Post Office took up the case and issued a scathing report. Speaker of the House Tom Foley did his best to censor the report, but elements leaked to the press. In 1992, news of embezzlement and money laundering trickled out to the public. Congress launched an investigation designed to whitewash the affair. In July, the Democratic report claimed an end to the scandal. The Republican report disagreed and raised serious questions about the House Post Office.
What Post Office scandal? Say you were a Congressman and got a check for $1,000 from a lobbyist. You had use for that money; you didn't want to put it into your reelection account. So you would take it to the House Post Office and buy a sheet of stamps for $5.00 and get $995.00 in cash back. Nice, eh? Illegal? Yes. One of the House's most powerful Democrats, Dan Rostenkowski, went to jail for his involvement.
The House Banking Scandal
There was a similar privilege in the House's own bank. If Congressman XYZ overdrew his checking account they let it slide. Say he overdrew it by $10,000. The bank could wait until pay day, or the next pay day or the one after that. I don't find any fingerprints of House Speaker Foley on a cover up of this. But he was the leader of the entire House; it was on his watch. Examiner
That's the Tom Foley I remember.
Posted by Ron Hebron at October 19, 2013
03:58 PM | Email This
1. Well, that's the one I remember, too, but it might have been better to wait a week or so before saying what an SOB he was.
2. Well, that's the one I remember, too, but it might have been better to wait a week or so before saying what an SOB he was.
3. I just can't believe the seattle times doesn't note this! They're all over those treasonist house members these days.
4. Tom Foley put Nancy Pelosi to shame, but that's a back handed compliment if there ever was one.
5. I remember his line that "there is no evidence but the seriousness of the charge demands an investigation."
I remember I-537. That was the unconstitutional law that Foley successfully challenged -- which is what one should do with unconstitutional laws. As I recall, one of Foley's points was that voters had a chance to limit his term every two years if that's what they wanted. And that's what they did in 1994 -- awarding his seat to a scalawag named George Nethercutt, largely because Nethercutt promised to self-limit his tenure to three terms. After all, that's what the voters wanted.
Of course, once his three terms was up, Nethercutt had other ideas and ran twice more until his hubris led him to run against Patty Murray, who handily dispatched him 55-43.
Nethercutt provided a perfect example of the hypocrisy of proto-teapartiers while Hebron's post exemplifies the meanness of spirit that permeates the far right. Nice work, Ron.
Sticking with Foley rather than your favorite Republican targets, who is defending his actions in the House Post Office scandal and actions or lack thereof in the House Bank scandal?
If it is mean-spirited to criticize what he did, then do the opposite and defend him on those two messes.
Ron writes, "Someone had to put us in our places."
You mean the US constitution? How awful! No wonder you don't like the guy!
9. I'm always amazed at those who act like dying is something reserved for the chosen few. When an SOB dies, what you have is a dead SOB - not a candidate for sainthood.
10. RIP Tom. Tom was one of my law school classmates. He was a protege of Scoop Jackson. He is from a bygone era when people went to Washington to serve the public. Now they go there to get rich.
Defend him? His friends don't seem to see what he did.
Anonymous Steve, please give the link to where you had only praises for President Reagan.
Spammers have hit. Will close comments if more spammers post their links to their junk.
"I don't find any fingerprints of House Speaker Foley on a cover up of this. But he was the leader of the entire House; it was on his watch."
And when he learnt of the abuse of the bank, he shut it down.
One of his Republican successors was given credible evidence, from multiple sources, that a rather different Rep. Foley was chasing boys through the halls of Congress. What did that Speaker do to stop that abuse?
That's the Republican Speaker I know.
When the time comes for you to shuffle off this mortal coil and someone recollects your life, I hope that those who knew and knew of you can point to this post, Tom Foley's Leadership of the US House, and say "That's the Ron Hebron I remember".
You should feel damn proud that you boiled down a 30+ year political career of service to the residents of Washington and the nation to a half dozen years and 3 incidents of less than stellar performance. Good for you Ron!
14. Anonymous commenters offer no defense for Foley. (#17-Everyone knew about House bank but Foley. Yeah. Buy that!!.)
15. Everyone knew about House bank but Foley.
Newt Gingrich certainly knew. He kited 22 checks himself before he found it in himself to be outraged by the practice.