WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio moved Tuesday to address last year's page scandal, praising an investigation's conclusion that supervision of the page residence hall "needs significant improvement."
The expulsion of five pages last December for improper conduct, including shoplifting and public sex acts, embarrassed House of Representative leaders. Two Republican members — Reps. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia — resigned from the Page Board, which oversees the underage pages, to draw attention to lax controls.
The scandal occurred despite revisions following an earlier scandal in which former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla. wrote suggestive e-mails to pages.
But the united front of House leaders in responding to the latest embarrassment and initiating the inspector general review has tempered congressional outrage.
In a Feb. 11 letter to Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., the chairman of the Page Board, Pelosi and Boehner wrote: "The inspector general concluded that the supervision of residence hall personnel needs significant improvement. We strongly support his recommendations and urge the Page Board to take immediate action to implement them."
The leaders said that the investigative report, which has not been released, found that there were no clear guidelines involving the adult employees who reside in the pages' apartment complex or on visitors and visitation hours.
"I welcome both the IG report and the leaders' letter," Kildee said in a statement. "The clerk of the House, under her current authority, is already beginning the implementation of the inspector general's recommendations."
Clerk of the House Lorraine Miller has day-to-day responsibility for the pages.
Despite the response to the latest scandal, Pelosi and Boehner said that the investigation wasn't complete. In the letter to Kildee, they wrote, "In the next few days, we will consult you further as we select an appropriate outside entity to conduct a thorough review of the entire page program."
In 2006, the House was roiled by reports that Foley sent suggestive e-mails to underage male pages. Foley resigned, but the scandal cast a cloud over Republicans in the November elections.