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Planning an October Surprise

This is taken from the the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal:

While they swing away at the pinata the House Republican leadership has turned itself into over the Foley scandal, Democrats are privately worried that the press soon might begin to focus attention on how exactly the incriminating Instant Messages that brought former Rep. Foley down were concealed until just a month prior to the November elections.

Mark Levin, a former Reagan administration Justice Department official, notes that the Instant Messages in question appear to have existed for three years. He says there should be an investigation into who had the incriminating messages and why they were only turned over to prosecutors now. Discovering and then withholding evidence of a federal offense can itself be a legal violation. Questions will certainly be raised as to why Melanie Sloan, a former staffer for Democratic Rep. John Conyers and now the executive director of the liberal Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government, kept the emails for months until she asked for an Ethics Committee investigation of the Foley matter last Friday.

Reporters are right to question why Republican House leaders dropped the ball on the Foley scandal. But they should also examine “the story behind the story” and inquire who knew about the Foley emails and when. Brian Ross of ABC News, who broke the Foley story, says he learned about the email messages in August but was too busy with Hurricane Katrina and the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks to follow up at the time. Here’s hoping that reporters covering this story won’t wait until after the November elections to find out the origins of this scandal.