Congressman Foley Resigns in Disgrace

Posted on September 30, 2006

Florida Republican congressman Mark Foley resigned in disgrace yesterday after ABC news got copies of the emails and instant messages that Foley sent to a 16 year-old male page. The instant messages are x-rated and are particularly revolting in light of the fact that Foley was a national leader on the issue of protecting children from sexual predators. He was the co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus.

Republican leaders are very unhappy with the incident which took over the news cycle on the last day that Congress is in session.
The top three Republicans in the House assailed Rep. Mark Foley Saturday over his e-mails to a teenage male page and said his resignation was not enough. Calling the incident "an obscene breach of trust," the congressmen released a statement saying, "[Foley's] immediate resignation must now be followed by the full weight of the criminal justice system."

"The improper communications between Congressman Mark Foley and former House congressional pages is unacceptable and abhorrent. It is an obscene breach of trust," read the statement issued by Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri. Earlier Saturday, the chairman of the House Page Board said Foley "was not honest about his conduct," referring to e-mail exchanges that a former page has called "sick, sick, sick."

The House leaders said in their statement that they had asked the House Page Board to review the incident and to propose measures to ensure the program is safe. They also have set up a toll-free number for pages and their relatives to confidentially report incidents, the statement said. After the e-mails were publicized, ABC News released instant text messages allegedly sent by the congressman to other teenage male pages. In them Foley allegedly said he wanted to take the teen's clothes off and allegedly asked the page if he made him "a little horny," ABC News reported, saying other exchanges were too graphic to make public. Foley, a Republican, served his district in Florida for six terms. He abruptly resigned from Congress on Friday, apologizing "for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent." The House voted unanimously Friday to launch an investigation
Hastert's outrage rings a bit false, considering that he and the Republican leadership knew all about Foley's proclivities a year ago and worked hard to cover it up. According to The New York Times:
Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children�s issues, Republican lawmakers said Saturday.

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The revelations set off a political upheaval, with Democrats and some Republicans alike calling for a full investigation of Mr. Foley�s conduct and whether House leaders did enough to look into it. Members of the Republican leadership sought Saturday to detail how they had handled the case in an effort to defuse the issue, even as it was emerging as an issue in Congressional races.

Among those who earlier this year became aware of the fall 2005 communications between Mr. Foley and the 16-year-old page, who worked for Representative Rodney Alexander, Republican of Louisiana, were Representative John A. Boehner, the majority leader, and Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Mr. Reynolds said in a statement Saturday that he had also personally raised the issue with Speaker J. Dennis Hastert.

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Representative Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut, said any leader who had been aware of Mr. Foley�s behavior and failed to take action should step down. "If they knew or should have known the extent of this problem, they should not serve in leadership," Mr. Shays said.
So the Republican leadership knew that this creep was hitting on teenagers and kept it quiet for almost a year. They didn't launch an investigation, they didn't confront Foley and they didn't warn the parents who had entrusted their children to the page system. That is simply despicable.

It's not October, but it's certainly a Surprise to voters. Somehow, I don't think this is what Karl Rove was referring to when he promised there would be an "October Surprise." Oh, and if you simply must read Congressman Foley's pathetic and creepy instant messages, ABC has thoughtfully provided all the smut in a pdf file. Warning: includes explicit material.