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Sources: House clerk warned GOP about Foley years ago

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former House Clerk Jeff Trandahl repeatedly raised red flags about former Rep. Mark Foley years before GOP leaders said they knew about Foley's inappropriate conduct with pages, sources said.

Trandahl's lawyers said he is scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Ethics Committee, which is investigating the Foley case.

Two sources close to Trandahl told CNN that he had been monitoring Foley's interaction with pages after being told of troubling behavior by the congressman in the House cloakroom and elsewhere. Trandahl took his concerns to Kirk Fordham, Foley's former chief of staff, many times, the sources said.

Fordham testified last week that he warned House Speaker Dennis Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, at least three years ago about Foley's conduct, according to a source familiar with Fordham's version of events.

Palmer has denied Fordham's account.

Foley resigned September 29 after details of alleged sexually explicit instant messages to teenage boys who had served as Capitol Hill pages became public.

Trandahl, who was House clerk from 1998 to 2005, oversaw the page program and had day-to-day authority over the teens. Former colleagues describe him as a by-the-book manager who took his job seriously.

A friend, Craig Shniderman, told CNN that if Trandahl was aware of something improper, he would have reported it.

"Jeff is a guy who always does the right thing," Shniderman said. "He lives by the truth. He lives by one truth. He's not a man that tells different stories to different people."

Also slated to go before the committee Thursday is House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, who said earlier this month that Hastert had told him the concerns about Foley had been "taken care of."

Page's sponsor testifies

Rep. Rodney Alexander, the congressman who warned House leaders about Foley's e-mails to a teenage boy from his district, testified before the Ethics Committee on Wednesday.

The Louisiana Republican said he wants to know who else knew about Foley's behavior.

Alexander spent about three hours testifying about Foley's contacts with teenage pages and how the chamber's Republican leadership handled concerns about Foley.

"We told them what we know, when we knew it, and what we did about it, and we are looking forward and hoping that the committee will talk to others," Alexander said. "It's quite apparent from some of the reports out there that there are many people that know what we know and have known it for a lot longer period of time than we've known."

Alexander has said his office warned House leaders in 2005 about non-explicit but "overly friendly" e-mails Foley sent to a boy Alexander sponsored as a page. That has led to investigations by the House Ethics Committee and the Justice Department.

The heads-up from Alexander's office also resulted in a private rebuke of Foley from Trandahl and Illinois Rep. John Shimkus, the Republican chairman of the House Page Board.

Alexander's constituent reported receiving e-mail from Foley in late 2005, according to an account released by Hastert's office after the scandal broke. The e-mails, which the boy called "sick," included Foley's request for a picture and a question about what he wanted for his birthday.

"The pages from the past that have come forward now with testimony, you know, I'd like to know who their member of Congress was," Alexander said. "Who sponsored them? What did they know? Why didn't they reveal if they knew anything? So, there are some very important questions that the committee has yet to get answers to."

Both Alexander and the boy's family have said that they wanted the contact to stop but did not want the issue made public. Alexander said Wednesday that the boy was not aware of the more explicit instant messages to other teens, and he said the teen's parents "have been almost physically sick about the attention that he's gotten unfairly."

"We just look forward to the committee continuing their investigation, and hopefully this will come to a conclusion and we can move on with other things," he said.

CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report.


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