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The Blotter

The House Ethics Committee has finished interviewing key witnesses in the Foley probe, but no report is expected before the elections -- not even an interim report.  The committee also declined to ask retiring Rep. Jim Kolbe to testify, despite his awareness of Foley's inappropriate behavior toward pages as early as 2000. 

House Majority Leader John Boehner said on ABC yesterday, "'I believe strongly that the speaker - neither the speaker, myself or anyone knew of the sexually explicit instant messages'" sent by Foley to pages.  "'If any one of us would have known about this, we would have dragged him out of there by his tie.'" 

The Saturday Financial Times said Hastert's role in the Foley scandal "has overshadowed… a detailed investigation into Mr Hastert's flourishing personal finances published in the Chicago Tribune, which showed the speaker had booked $2m (Ĩ1.6m, £1.05m) in profits from a land sale in his home state of Illinois…  The sale was in December 2005, three months after [Bush] signed the $286bn highways bill into law.  Mr Hastert had inserted a $207m earmark (a tailored clause) into the bill to fund a public highway in Illinois that runs three miles from his property."  Hastert "has denied any impropriety."