Monday, October 23, 2006

"A Working Relationship:" Kansas Rep. Jim Ryun changes story about Mark Foley

By Diane Silver

Struggling in what has become an unexpectedly difficult re-election campaign, Republican Rep. Jim Ryun has suddenly discovered that he really does know disgraced Congressman Mark Foley.

Not only does the recently resigned Foley live across the street from Ryun, but the two were among five GOP members of Congress who held a block-party fundraiser together in May.

The confirmation of the connection came after Ryun told reporters that he barely knew Foley.

Many thanks to Chris Moon and the Topeka Capital-Journal for uncovering the story.

Washburn University Political Science Professor Bob Beatty told the newspaper, this kind of thing can be significant.

"The Foley thing can hurt Ryun because, boom, you've got that link," Beatty said.

The newspaper reported:

Worried about winning a sixth term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun said this month he didn't know until recently that he lived across the street from disgraced Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla. -- whom many Republicans are trying to keep at a safe distance.

Then, when faced with questions about how that could be the case considering Ryun in May hosted a fundraiser alongside Foley on D Street in Washington, D.C., Ryun's campaign said the events weren't jointly planned.

However, neither of those statements was completely accurate, Ryun's campaign admitted last week.

Jeffrey Black, campaign manager for Ryun, said the congressman always has known he lived across the street from Foley, who quit Congress after revelations he had been sending sexually explicit e-mails to congressional pages.

Further, Black acknowledged the two congressmen, along with three other members who live on D Street, coordinated their efforts to raise as much cash as possible during a May fundraiser.
As for knowing Foley was his neighbor, Black said Ryun always has known.

"It's probably not the best way to say what he did," Black said of Ryun's comments at the vice president's event in Topeka. "They're congressmen. They have a working relationship."
I wonder if Ryun's earlier statements should be called flip flopping, pretending, or well, simply lying?

Ryun's opponent is Democrat Nancy Boyda.

Talking Points Memo noticed the gaffe and reminded readers that Ryun got a suspiciously terrific deal on a townhouse. Wikipedia also reminds us that Ryun was the beneficiary of more than $30,000 from disgraced Majority Leader Tom DeLay's PAC.

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