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Goldmark wants House speaker to quit

Rep. Cathy McMorris should call for the House speaker’s resignation “to help cleanse Congress of a cloud of deep distrust,” her opponent Peter Goldmark said Wednesday.

But McMorris said she wanted to wait for the results of an FBI investigation into the handling of information that former Rep. Mark Foley of Florida was sending inappropriate, sexually explicit messages to teen-aged staffers.

Goldmark sent McMorris a letter, hand-delivered to her Spokane campaign office, saying she should publicly call for Speaker Dennis Hastert’s resignation.

“Hastert has apparently not only failed to protect House pages from further abuse by a member of the House, he also failed to hold that member accountable for his actions,” Goldmark said.

The Democratic challenger said he was “disturbed and outraged” by the growing Foley scandal. The Republican freshman said she thought Foley’s actions were “deplorable and detestable.”

During a break in a Wednesday hearing on wildfire policies in Okanogan, McMorris said people should be held accountable, but she wasn’t yet ready to call for Hastert’s resignation.

“There are a lot of questions on who knew what, when,” she said.

Asked if that means she’d call for Hastert’s resignation if he was told of Foley’s activities months ago, she replied “I would defer comment until that (investigation) is done.”

Goldmark’s campaign manager said he has not yet received a reply to the letter. McMorris’ campaign spokeswoman said Wednesday night she hadn’t yet seen it because she hadn’t returned from Okanogan.

The two are scheduled for their first debate at noon today, where the topic is likely to come up. The Rotary Club debate will be held at the Spokane Athletic Club and is open to Rotary members and guests.