“In 2006, House Republican leaders voluntarily testified under oath in the matter of disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley," Boehner said in a statement released by his office on Wednesday. "Will House Democratic leaders, including Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi (D-Calif.), Congressman (Rahm) Emanuel (D-Ill.), and Congressman (Chris) Van Hollen (D-Md.), agree to do the same?"
Republicans are trying to perpetuate a storyline that has failed to generate much coverage outside the Beltway or South Florida. Aides to Emanuel and Van Hollen acknowledged that their bosses confronted the freshman Democrat about a rumored affair, but neither claims to know anything about the reported allegations that Mahoney paid a former aide and her attorney $121,000 to stay quiet about their romantic involvement.
"The American people deserve to know what House Democratic leaders knew about Congressman Mahoney’s reprehensible actions, what they did with the information, and whether they played any role in the actions Congressman Mahoney took," Boehner said. "If all handled the situation appropriately, they should come forward immediately and provide a detailed accounting of their actions in the Mahoney matter, and they should welcome the opportunity to testify under oath about their actions.”
By pushing this line, Republicans risk a reprisal for the misdeeds of their own members, like Foley - to whom Mahoney owes his seat - or, more recently, New York Rep. Vito Fossella, who announced his retirement after stories broke that he had a child with his longtime mistress in Virginia.
Pelosi would like the ethics committee to investigate the allegations "without delay," a spokesman said on Tuesday.