Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Second U.S. lawmaker faces misconduct allegations

Second U.S. lawmaker faces misconduct allegations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. congressional board which oversees a Capitol Hill internship program rocked by a sex scandal, discussed allegations on Monday involving a second lawmaker, said Rep. Dale Kildee, a Michigan Democrat.

Kildee made the comment as he emerged from a closed-door meeting of a House ethics committee, which has been focused on the case of former Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida, who resigned last month following disclosure he sent inappropriate electronic messages to male teenage interns, known as pages.

"It's only been allegations made," Kildee told reporters of the House page board's discussion about a second lawmaker, who he declined to identify.

Kildee said he and other board members had a conference call earlier in the day about "other allegations, not about Mr. Foley." Kildee also indicated the page board had talked about the matter with the second lawmaker.

Last week, a law enforcement official confirmed a report by NBC News that the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI in Arizona were conducting a "preliminary look" into a camping trip Rep. Jim Kolbe took with two teenage pages and others 10 years ago.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said federal investigators were responding to a "single allegation" about Kolbe of Arizona. The official refused to say who made the allegation or what was being alleged.

Kolbe's office denied any wrongdoing.

"The rafting trip back in 1996 consisted of five current staff, two former pages and his sister," a spokeswoman for Kolbe said. "There is absolutely no basis and no truth to any (allegations of) inappropriate behavior."

As part of the ethics committee's investigation of Foley, it is trying to determine if any other House members demonstrated troubling behavior toward teenage interns.

With reports that some Republican House members or staff were told about Foley's troubling conduct months or even years ago, the panel is also trying to determine if there was a cover-up -- who knew what and when about Foley and what, if anything, they did about it.