Six-term Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL 16th), 52, has resigned after the revelation that he exchanged inappropriate emails with a former 16 year-old congressional page. Pages are high school students who work as messengers and attend classes under congressional supervision.
Rep. Foley, who is single, apologized Friday for letting down his family and constituents. Once his resignation letter was read late Friday afternoon, House Republicans spent the night trying to come up with an explanation.
At around midnight, a vote was engineered to let the House ethics committee decide if an investigation is necessary.
The page’s congressional sponsor, Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA 5th) said the youth’s parents asked him not to pursue the matter. Before deciding to end his involvement, Rep. Alexander passed on what he knew to Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-NY 26th), chairman of the House Republican campaign organization.
Carl Forti, Rep. Reynolds’ spokesman said “We are not characterizing conversations that Congressman Reynolds may have had or may not have had with other members of Congress on that subject.”
Page Board chairman, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL 19th), said that he investigated, but Rep. Foley falsely assured him he was only mentoring the boy.
Ron Bonjean, spokesman for Speaker Dennis Hastert, said the top House Republican had not known about the allegations. Rep. Shimkus said he learned about them in late 2005.
Just 39 days before the November 7 election, CQPolitics.com has temporarily changed its rating of Rep. Foley’s seat from “Safe Republican” to “No Clear Favorite.” Florida Republicans plan to meet as soon as Monday to choose a new nominee as a substitute, but Rep. Foley’s name will still appear on the ballot.
The Democratic nominee in south-central Florida’s 16th Congressional District is businessman and rancher Tim Mahoney, co-founder and chairman of financial services company, vFinance; and founder and president of the Center for Innovative Entrepreneurship.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Florida State Rep. Joe Negron, (R-Stuart), has already tried to lay claim to the seat. “I’m in the race,” Rep. Negron said, adding that he had learned of Rep. Foley’s resignation only a little more than an hour before. “I think it’s important that District 16 stay in the Republican column.”
Also mentioned as possible candidates were Florida State Senators Jeff Atwater, Ken Pruitt, and Paula Dockery.
Irony, Hypocrisy, and Pedophilia
In July, Rep. Foley, as chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus, introduced legislation to protect children from exploitation on the Internet, which is actually a good idea if it can be done constitutionally, but perhaps our Congressional Representatives should introduce legislation to protect children from exploitation by our Congressional Representatives.
Rep. Foley said: “We track library books better than we do sexual predators.” (Well, being in his 50s, I guess he ought to know all about that.)
Pedophilia is incurable and pedophiles cannot help what they are — which is a good reason why they should, upon conviction via due process, be institutionalized for life, thereby negating the perceived need for those unconstitutional sex offender registries that have the potential to incite vigilantism because the general public is allowed the same access to them as law enforcement officials — but hypocrites have no excuse because hypocrisy, unlike mental illness, falls under the purview of free will.
Pedophiles free wills may not help them with their eternally repugnant concupiscence, but the choice to act upon such desires is a product of free will. And so is avoiding close contact with children and seeking therapy to deal with temptation.
In his crusades for tough laws against those who use the Internet to sexually exploit children, Rep. Foley said “They’re sick people; they need mental health counseling.”
Perhaps he should’ve taken his own advice.
ABC News, which obtained a series of emails from Rep. Foley to the former page, has all the lurid details, “Exclusive: The Sexually Explicit Internet Messages That Led to Fla. Rep. Foley’s Resignation.”
In the messages provided to ABC News, Rep. Foley used the screen name Maf54. The teenager’s name was excised.
Maf54: You in your boxers, too?
Teen: Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late.
Maf54: Well, strip down and get relaxed.
Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.
Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?
Teen: A little.
The language gets even more graphic (and inane, too, considering that one of the participants is in his 50s). For those who might find it titillating or morbidly fascinating, ABC News has a PDF of the rest.
Federal authorities say that Rep. Foley could be prosecuted under some of the same laws he helped to enact.
Brad Garrett, an ABC News consultant who is a former FBI agent said “Adds up to soliciting underage children for sex. And what it amounts to is serious both state and federal violations that could potentially get you a number of years.”