CBSN

Page Board Looks At Camping Trip

US Representative of Arizona Jim Kolbe, 2000/6/1
AP
Overseers of the House of Representatives' program for teenage assistants this week discussed a camping trip that Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., took with two former interns and others in 1996 — an outing now under review by the Justice Department, a congressional source said Tuesday.

The overseers, consisting of three lawmakers and two senior House officials, did not have any new information beyond recent news stories on the Kolbe trip. The source is familiar with the discussions but is not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The conference call Monday involving the Kolbe trip shows that the people responsible for the teenage assistants' program are casting a wider net following revelations that ex-Rep. Mark Foley was sending overly friendly e-mails and sexually explicit instant messages to former male interns known as pages. They run errands for lawmakers.

The meeting was first revealed Monday by the lone Democrat on the Page Board, Rep. Dale Kildee, who declined to say which lawmakers were discussed.

Meanwhile, the House Ethics Committee on Tuesday continued investigating the Foley matter. Investigators, pressing ahead with closed-door interviews, questioned Paula Nowakowski, chief of staff to House Majority Leader John Boehner.

Kolbe took the former pages as well as staff members and National Park Service officials on a holiday rafting trip in the Grand Canyon in 1996, his spokeswoman, Korenna Cline, said last week.

A federal law enforcement official said last week an allegation related to the trip was given to the U.S. attorney's office in Phoenix. It was not immediately clear whether it concerned any contention of improper activity by the retiring Kolbe, the only openly gay Republican in Congress.

The official described the inquiry as preliminary and as far narrower in scope than the federal investigation into Foley, who resigned Sept. 29 after he was confronted with sexually explicit instant messages sent to former pages.

A second law enforcement official said the 1996 Kolbe trip may be too old to investigate as a criminal matter. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined comment.