Inspector General Releases House Page Report

Posted February 12, 2008 at 6:40pm

House Inspector General James Cornell has found that supervision of the adult personnel at the page residence hall needs “significant improvement,” but he apparently found little else wrong with the operation of the dorm.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) asked the IG to evaluate the current procedures and supervision of the page dorm after two House pages were expelled last fall for allegedly engaging in oral sex on the building’s elevator.

The IG’s report, however, has not been released publicly, with officials citing security and privacy concerns.

“The full report includes security-related information as well as references to confidential interviews undertaken by the IG,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

The conduct of non-pages is part of the focus of the report. In a Feb. 11 letter to House Page Board Chairman Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), Pelosi and Boehner wrote that the IG found that there is no written policy for the adult employees who live at the residence hall, which is located south of the Congressional campus.

“The Inspector General has recommended that the Clerk of the House establish a clear, written visitor policy for the Residence Hall that clearly identifies the visitors who are allowed and visitation hours,” the duo wrote.

A House official familiar with the report said that a “vast majority” of it deals with the recommendations outlined in the letter. That letter focuses solely on the supervision of the dorm’s personnel — not on the supervision of the pages themselves.

However, there is no connection between the page expulsions and visitors to the residence hall, the official said.

More details might eventually come out of a second investigation promised by Pelosi and Boehner. It would be a top-to-bottom review of the program by an independent entity.

In the meantime, Pelosi and Boehner also write that Kildee should take “whatever further steps are necessary” to implement the IG’s recommendations.

Clerk of the House Lorraine Miller already has begun carrying out the IG’s recommendations, Kildee said in a statement. But Kildee spokesman Alec Gerlach wouldn’t say whether that includes recommendations beyond those in Pelosi and Boehner’s letter.

Furthermore, the House Page Board already has begun to implement new policies designed to “insure the safety and supervision of House pages,” according to the Pelosi/Boehner letter.

Those “new policies” can’t be described because of “security concerns,” Gerlach said.

However, one House official said that based on a security study that began in August, more monitors to view the security camera feeds have been added and the entryway modernized for more security and visibility.

The Page Board is set to review the IG’s report.

“The House Page Board will meet this week to review the implementation now in place and to discuss any further changes in Page Program policy,” Kildee said in his statement. “I find both the Inspector General’s report and the House Leaders’ letter to be very helpful in addressing the needs of the Page Program.”

Four pages were expelled last fall, two for shoplifting and two for engaging in public sex acts, according to several sources. Those expulsions eventually led Reps. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to resign from their positions on the Page Board, with the two Members publicly complaining that the program was flawed and improperly managed.