In April 2005, Palm Beach developer Robert Reveley and his wife Julie hosted a reception for Presidential hopeful George Allen. A photo from the event published in the society pages of the Palm Beach Post "Party People" carried the following...

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Jeffrey Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
Frameshop, 10/02/2006

In April 2005, Palm Beach developer Robert Reveley and his wife Julie hosted a reception for Presidential hopeful George Allen.  

A photo from the event published in the society pages of the Palm Beach Post "Party People" carried the following caption:

"PUCKERING UP TOO: Nikita Zukov (right) and Sen. George Allen of Virginia check out Rep. Mark Foley's pucker at reception for Allen at the home of Robert and Julie Reveley (2005)."

At this stage of the so-called "PageGate" scandal--a scandal centered on Mark Foley, but extending to Dennis Hastert and the Republican House Leadership--one has to wonder if Americans are asking the right questions.

Is this scandal just about Republican Leader Dennis Hastert protecting a predator?  Or is this a much, much larger scandal about a Republican Party that "puckered up" to a known sexual predator because that predator represented one of the wealthiest high-profile congressional districts in America?

Now we are starting to ask the right questions.

So far the questions has been:  Why did the Republican protect a sexual predator--Congressman Mark Foley--and why keep him in contact with underaged Congressional pages despite the fact that he had a history of sexual explicit internet exchanges with minors?  

Those are important questions, and if the Republican Party has any sense of dignity left, the anwers to those questoins must lead to the resignation of Dennis Hastert and anyone involved in the Foley cover-up.

But as we look at the photo above, at the gleeful expression of Senator George Allen watching Mark Foley, another question emerges--perhaps a more distrubing question:  Could it be that Republican Leadership was not just protecting Foley, but was actually trying to make him happy--trying to  keep him happy, at least through the 2008 election?

After all, given how close Floriday was in 2000 and 2004, the Republican leadership would want to make sure that a Congressman representing the biggest fundraising reserve in that state, if not America, was happy or at least not on the defensive.

For the investigative reporters amongst us, I pose a few questions that need to be answered and answered soon:

- How many fundraisers for Republican Presidential hopefuls has Mark Foley been involved in--either directly or indirectly--since 2000?

-How much money has Mark Foley helped raise for Republican Presidential candidates since 2000?  Who has he helped the most?

-What kinds of favors could the Republcian Party have been pushing to Mark Foley in order make sure that they stayed in good standing with the Representative from Palm Beach?

-Who are the key players in the Florida GOP fundraising world and what has been their involvement with Mark Foley since 2000?

-What was Dennis Hastert's involvement with Florida fundraising efforts for the GOP since 2000?  How many events did Hastert attend  that were either hosted or involved Mark Foley?

-To what extent was the White House involved with Mark Foley in raising money?

Of course, not every photo of Mark Foley with a well-known figure in the Republican Party should be instant cause for alarm.

This photo taken from an April 2005 fundraiser for breast cancer research carried the following caption:
LUNCH WITH LAURA: Howard Kessler (above) greets first lady Laura Bush, while his wife Michele has a kiss for Rep. Mark Foley at a luncheon at the Kesslers' home for the Susan G. Komen Foundation

The Susan G. Komen foundation is an excellent organization that raises money for a worthy cause--Mark Foley and the First Lady should be praised for their efforts.

But even for a good cause, questions remain about how Republicans could work with a man to raise money when so many people knew about his predatorial behavior towards Congressional pages.  

Palm Beach, perhaps, is a bigger jewel in the Republican Presidential crown than most of us had imagined.  With so much at stake in 2008--so much money still to raise--the past year might not have been the best time for the Republcian leadership to remove this threat to our children's safety from Congress.  

© 2006 Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop

© Jeffrey Feldman 2006, Frameshop

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