Boehner, Pelosi seek IG action on page program

House leaders have directed the House Inspector General to investigate misconduct and allegations of mismanagement of the congressional page program, according to a joint statement Wednesday night.

“Today we agreed to direct the House Inspector General to conduct an independent investigation into recent allegations surrounding the House Page Program,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in the statement. “We expect the Inspector General to gather the facts and recommend the appropriate and necessary corrective actions to be taken by the House.

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“We will also work together to select a highly regarded, independent entity to conduct a thorough review of the Page Program’s organization and operation, and make recommendations concerning its long-term future,” the statement said.

The move follows the resignations last week of two Republicans from the House Page Board. Reps. Ginny Brown-Waite (Fla.) and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) said they resigned from the board because they were not informed about the dismissals of some pages for shoplifting, and others for inappropriate sexual activity at the page dorm. Brown-Waite also criticized House Clerk Lorraine Miller for her oversight of the program.

Boehner met Tuesday night with Brown-Waite and Capito to discuss their resignations. He had already announced he would not appoint replacements for the resigned GOP board members until reforms are made to the program.

Pelosi last week ordered the House Page Board to scrutinize security and supervision policies at the page dorm. Boehner has announced he would not appoint new members to the board until its problems are resolved.

The new problems at the board follow last year’s scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), who resigned from Congress after sexually explicit e-mails he had sent to pages became public. Many attributed the GOP’s loss of the House in last year’s elections in part to that and other scandals.

Other members of the page board include Chairman Dale Kildee (D-Mich.); Diana DeGette (D-Colo.); a former page; a parent of a page; and the sergeant at arms.            

The Inspector General is appointed jointly by the Speaker, the majority leader and the minority leader and periodically conducts audits at their direction in addition to periodic audits of the House’s financial and administrative functions. The office reports to the House Ethics Committee regarding possible rule violations of members and staff.