Kill The House Page Program

After the latest mini-scandal, isn’t it time to kill the congressional page program once and for all?

“So much for reform of the House page program in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal. House teenage pages are so wild and unsupervised that two GOP members of Congress have resigned from the House Page Board, protesting that they were not informed of two pages caught shoplifting and two others busted for engaging in public oral sex.

One of the members who resigned, Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida, tells the Sleuth that she felt “very, very uncomfortable” both as a mother and a grandmother continuing to serve on a board she feels is inadequately supervised.

“I thought the Mark Foley incident was a wake-up call,” Brown-Waite said, referring to the disgraced former GOP congressman from Florida who was caught sending sexually tawdry instant messages to male House pages. “Apparently it wasn’t.” The congresswoman added, “If I had a 16-year-old granddaughter, I wouldn’t let her come up here. I would not let my 16-year-old grandson come up here.” (The congresswoman does have a 16-year-old grandson.)

One of the incidents that bothered Brown-Waite involved what she called “inappropriate sexual indiscretions” between two teenaged pages. She would not elaborate, though she said other pages served as “enablers.” A source familiar with the incident – which resulted in the expulsions of two pages – said one female page performed oral sex on a male page in the page dorm room as the other teenagers watched. “The enablers provided cover for them, the other pages were watching,” the source said.

According to Brown-Waite, the alleged public sexual indiscretions were “not an isolated incident.”

Two other pages were expelled for shoplifting. Brown-Waite and another source said one of the shoplifters was charged with a felony.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) , Brown-Waite suggested that the Clerk of the House, whose job it is to oversee the House page program, should no longer be in charge of the teenagers. “Page supervision, other than on the floor of the House, is found to be sorely lacking, and the clerk has been slow to share information with members of the board,” Brown-Waite wrote.”

These pages have people like Mark Foley and Gerry Studds trying to seduce them, they’re shoplifting, they’re having sex in public, they’re being poorly supervised even after the much publicized scandal last year, and the program is a continuing source of embarrassment — so, isn’t it time to admit the program isn’t worth the hassle? Isn’t it time to just say, “enough is enough” and put an end the page program?

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