Oct 08 2006

Jeff Trandahl, Kirk Fordham And The Foley Emails

Published by at 5:39 pm under All General Discussions,Foleygate

Update: The RCP Blog noticed a Washington Post article that might confirm the theory Trandahl had been covering for Foley on more than one occasion:

A Republican congressman knew of disgraced former representative Mark Foley’s inappropriate Internet exchanges as far back as 2000 and personally confronted Foley about his communications.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) confirmed yesterday that a former page showed the congressman Internet messages that had made the youth feel uncomfortable with the direction Foley (R-Fla.) was taking their e-mail relationship.

Nevertheless, she (Kolbe press spokeswoman Cline} said, “corrective action” was taken. Cline said she has not yet determined whether that action went beyond Kolbe’s confrontation with Foley.

The fact she could not determine what action was taken beyond Kolbe’s tells me other elements of the House were notified at the time. This could be the House Clerk, given the fact Kolbe referred these Pages recently to discuss their experiences with the current House Clerk. But who knows. It iis probable Fordham would have heard about the incident, if he was Foley’s Chief of Staff at the time. What seems to becoming clear is a classic ‘circle the wagons’ mentality in the the Capitol Hill gay community. Gays, feeling under attack anyways, were probably trying to control Foley so they could avoid the bad press of a gay predator on The Hill. This mentality included shading the truth from the leadership, I am sure. In either event, there is still a mystery ‘source’ out and about passing this information about Reps to the news media. All the documentation appears to be from Rep documents or offices, but that doesn’t make the person who had the emails back in November of 2005 a Republican.

End Update

Reader MerlinOS2 has noticed some interesting news which dovetails nicely with the detailed timeline I have been collating. It seems there is on person who had a major change in position at the time the Foley emails shown to Rep Foley because of concerns voiced by a Louisianna Page and his parents to there Representative, Rodney Alexander. And that person was then House Clerk, Jeff Trandahl. First we note that Jeff Trandahl left his job on November 18th, 2005. This is inside the window of time when I suspect the emails were leaked from Congress and were being shopped around and the St Petersburg Times says they assigned reporters to the story because they had received the documents.

MerlinOS2 points to an ABC News article out yesterday that is still trying to claim the leadership timeline is inaccurate, based on their sources. But of course, one of their sources is the man who was shopping the emails around new organizations. The ABC News article claims Trandahl received copies of the emails directly from the parents:

The staffer, who asked not be identified because of the ongoing FBI and House Ethics Committee investigations, told ABC News of learning in November 2005 about an earlier meeting between Hastert Chief of Staff Scott Palmer and Foley, R-Fla.

November 2005 was around the time Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., head of the House Page Board, and then-House Clerk Jeff Trandahl, who was administrator of the page program, met with Foley about an e-mail exchange Foley had with a former page sponsored by Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La.

“At that time, I became aware that there was a previous meeting” between Foley and Palmer, the House staffer told ABC News.

Before the scandal became public, sources told ABC News, Trandahl had called Fordham several times to complain that Foley was paying too much attention to pages. Fordham said he would talk with Foley about the matter, according to the accounts.

It seems to me from this exchange the two people pointing fingers at each other are Trandahl and Fordham. MerlinOS2 posits that Trandahl (and I would say Fordham) were trying to contain Foley by regularly confronting him. When the word got out this had been recurring then Trandahl was asked to resign as Clerk of the House. He was upset and leaked the emails to the press.

MerlinOS2 also pointed to this recollection from Rep Shimkus about the confrontation with Foley, but with an interesting twist – Trandahl says he got the emails from the Page’s parents.

Shimkus said he first learned of the e-mails in the fall of 2005. Just before an upcoming vote on the House floor, House Clerk Jeff Trandahl showed him an excerpt of e-mail exchanges the former page’s parents forwarded to him. The parents, Trandahl said, had expressed concern about the messages but were adamant that they be kept confidential.

Emphasis mine. Now all the email versions I have seen do not fit with the idea the Page’s parents sent them to Trandahl. I am not saying it is impossible, I am saying the timeline doesn’t fit well. The emails from Foley to the Page were printed out on 9/13/05 – the date on their footers. Trandahl and Shimkus didn’t meet Foley until November. Plus, the email from the Page to Danielle Savoy was printed out on the same system it seems (date footer in the same place) but a month later. Not impossible, and only more details on the sequence of events will tell for sure. Not outside the realm of possibility is Trandahl led Shimkus to believe he was the recipient of the emails to add some cover to the fall out with Rep Alexander’s staff.

It is very possible Trandahl and Fordham had been covering for Foley. It is supposedly a well known fact Fordham and Trandahl are gay.

Two former high-level Republican staffers on Capitol Hill who are gay are expected to be among those questioned by FBI agents and members of a bipartisan House ethics committee in the investigation into the scandal surrounding former GOP Congressman Tom Foley of Florida.

These two had been protecting his Foely from gay activists like Mike Rogers trying to out Foley for months, if not years. MerlinOS2 may be right, Trandahl could have lashed out at Foley for losing his top level position after taking so many hits for Foley (who was the one who should have fallen on his sword). It seems someone started exploring all sorts of avenues to get Foley with these emails. In addition to the media shopping going on, it seems Mike Rogers was getting some new leads and meeting in Mid December, and predicting big events in 2006!

Dec 21st, 2005: Not only did I receive a nice number of tips, but I have also been put in contact with a number of new sources of information. Let’s just say, 2006 is going to be a busy year on the site.

In one case, I even had to buy two last minute tickets to fly to sources — meetings I could not mention at the time — (you’ll have to trust me, six months time will prove one of those trips was worth every penny).

Mike is excited about some big news. Then on January 2, 2006 Mike as an exchange with a political friend j——. This could be John Aravosis (or not, to be fair). Mike is excited about something that will be happening in 2005 (read the exchange here). Aravosis was definitely tied into events as one of the early recipients of the email files, along with CREW. One has to wonder how Aravosis would warrant such an important leak that is being shopped around to major news outlets.

Anyway, the theory has merit and holds water. Fordham may have thought Trandahl was informing the leadership, or he could be pointing the finger outright since it could be said Trandahl was the leadership. It is no surprise under this scenario why Trandahl may be so quiet, and Fordham was willing to, one final time, try and help Foley out of his mess.

Update: It turns out Jeff Trandahl is on the board of Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group aligned against the Family Research Council and other social conservative groups. And HRC is mentioned by Mike Rogers and John Aravosis as a source (if not partner) for their efforts to out and/or pressure gays on the right side of the political spectrum:

Both Aravosis and Rogers said they continue to collect information from their network of sources, which include employees of the Human Rights Campaign and Log Cabin Republicans, and plan on outing more staffers and members.

There are numerous mentions of Aravosis and Rogers and HRC on the net commenting about each others efforts. Seems we have found a nexus.

24 responses so far

24 Responses to “Jeff Trandahl, Kirk Fordham And The Foley Emails”

  1. trentk269 says:

    Does this mean that the old MSM canard about gays not being represented in the Republican party will now be finally put to rest? Every four years we’re treated to a convention where the MSM trots out the Log Cabin Republicans and suchlike, with all the attendant hand-wringing about lack of inclusiveness, etc.

    Of course, we wouldn’t actually know who is and who isn’t, if not for our crack newshounds in Washington. Any bets on how quickly (or not) this story would have hit the front page during the Clinton administration?

  2. The Macker says:

    I share Daleinatlanta’s frustration. The larger messages are not getting out.

    Two great military victories, 50 million people liberated, a good economy, great new judges, sustained dismantling of the terrorist networks……. These stories must be heralded.And this administration has left these stories to be discovered by a reluctant MSM.

  3. MerryJ1 says:


    Fordham is one of the names on “The List.” He came in for heavy fire as a “closet case,” and was roundly denounced by Rogers for signing onto the Martinez campaign because Rogers thinks any homosexual who does not support same-gender marriage is a hypocrit and traitor.

    Fordham is also one of the few who changed his story from immediately after the ABC News initial story, to after his own resignation or termination. He now claims that Hastert had been made aware of Foley complaints which he previously had said that Hastert had only been told about the Louisiana page’s discomfort, but had not seen the e-mail and had been told it was not sexually explicit, just that it wasn’t welcome, and that the situation had been taken care of.