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Istook aide to cooperate with inquiry

By Nolan Clay and Michael McNutt Published: October 6, 2006
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p /> Jones said, “He was a page in the House of Representatives his junior year in high school at the same time Mr. Foley was a member of Congress. So he met most, if not all, of the Republican members of the House. And I’m sure he met quite a few Democrats. That’s how they would know each other.”

He declined to make Edmund available for interviews. “He’s not going to appear on any television talk show, interview, radio,” Jones said.

The attorney disputed as “a piece of fiction” a report on a widely viewed Internet site, The Drudge Report, that Edmund’s exchanges with Foley were a prank by the page.

Jones said, “There is not any aspect of this matter that is a practical joke nor should anyone treat it that way.”

Edmund described himself on the popular MySpace.com Internet site as the deputy campaign manager for Istook and a political science major at the University of California at Berkeley.

“Politics is my passion. I love the game,” he wrote.

He also described himself as a U.S. House page from September 2001 to June 2002. He said he is straight.

His father is a retired doctor while his mother is a schoolteacher, a friend said.

“He’s a really neat guy,” said friend Jessee Harwell, 21, of Fullerton, Calif. “He told me that he was in Washington and that he enjoyed it a lot and that he learned a lot. ... He’s, like, diehard into politics.”

Edmund worked two summers during high school at an ice cream shop in Carlsbad, Calif., the shop’s manager said.

“He’s a good kid,” manager Ruth Hall said. “He’s quiet.”

Istook, who is leaving Congress after 14 years, repeated Thursday he was unaware of Foley’s “sad and sick behavior” until last week.

“How would I have known, how would I have intercepted somebody’s private communications?” Istook asked.

Istook said he first learned Wednesday one of Foley’s victims may be someone that he knew.

“My reaction was to try to find out what’s going on,” Istook said. “I have no personal knowledge of what the House leadership knew or didn’t know. I’m glad that we’re looking into that.

“I realize we live in an era when people want an instant answer,” he said. “They want everything to be resolved immediately. We should not have the press or anybody else trying to pressure people to jump to conclusions.”

Istook dismissed as “nonsense” a question that presidential adviser Karl Rove, who will appear Monday night in Oklahoma City to raise money for Istook’s campaign, recommended he hire Edmund.

Chris Wilson of Wilson Research Strategies said Thursday he recommended last year that Istook hire Chip Englander, a Californian, as campaign manager.

Wilson, whose company serves as consultant to Istook’s campaign, said the campaign manager usually hires his staff.

Democratic Gov. Brad Henry was campaigning Thursday afternoon in El Reno and Yukon. He declined to comment, said Paul Sund, a Henry spokesman.

Contributing: Staff Writer John Estus

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ORIGINAL STORY - from Thursday:
Istook aide may be victim in page scandal



What they say

Democrats

Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Lisa Pryor said Thursday a former U.S. House page who may be part of the scandal involving a former Florida congressman is “an unfortunate victim of predatory behavior that’s been covered up by the (U.S. House) Republican leadership.”

“My heart goes out to him. He’s the victim. He’s not the story,” Pryor said of the former page who is working in the campaign of U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Warr Acres.

“This is about corruption. It’s about a cover-up almost as egregious as the initial behavior,” Pryor said.

Republicans

Oklahoma Republican Party chairman Tom Daxon on Thursday described the scandal involving former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley as a “horrible situation.”

“I think what Ernest (Istook) said was the appropriate thing ... that he (the former page) needs to be left alone,” Daxon said.

Daxon said he doubts there’s any truth to allegations that the U.S. House’s leadership knew anything about Foley’s activities before it came to light last week.

“Anyone who consciously aided and abetted that in any way ... they need to resign.”

John Greiner, Capitol Bureau

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