September 29, 2006

Rep. Foley Resigns

I'm glad to see it happen. Trolling the House pages for sex -- cyber or real -- is unacceptable.

Frankly, though, the emails initially seemed pretty tame to me.

The Democratic opponent of Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) is calling for an investigation into an e-mail exchange that Foley conducted last year with a 16-year-old boy who had worked as a congressional page.

Foley, 52, has served in the House for six terms and is seeking reelection. He said that the five e-mails he wrote to the boy were harmless and that their publication is part of an attempt by Democrats to smear him.

Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) said the five messages he sent to a former congressional page were harmless.
Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) said the five messages he sent to a former congressional page were harmless. (Ray Lustig - Ray Lustig -- The Washington Post)

"The e-mails in question were a response to a handwritten thank-you letter from a former page," said Jason Kello, Foley's spokesman. "There have not been any allegations made by anyone except by Tim Mahoney and the Democrats who are attempting to misrepresent a series of innocent communications to prop up a failing political campaign."

Jessica Santillo, a spokeswoman for Mahoney, a Venus, Fla., rancher and business executive who is running against Foley, said in a written statement: "This is a matter for the appropriate authorities to investigate."

In the brief but chatty e-mails, which were first reported by ABC News, Foley asked how old the boy was, inquired what he wanted for his birthday, requested a picture of the young man and told him that he had just finished a long bike ride and was going to the gym.

According to ABC, the boy forwarded the e-mail that requested his picture to an unidentified congressional staffer and wrote that the e-mail was "sick sick sick sick sick." In another e-mail to a staffer, ABC reported, the boy wrote: "Maybe it is just me being paranoid, but seriously. This freaked me out."

But it seems there was something more to this -- in the form of IMs to pages.

But, according to several former congressional pages, the congressman used the Internet to engage in sexually explicit exchanges.

They say he used the screen name Maf54 on these messages provided to ABC News.

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.

Another message:

Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.

And this one:

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?
Teen: A little.
Maf54: Cool.

The language gets much more graphic, too graphic to be broadcast, and at one point the congressman appears to be describing Internet sex.

And those are the ones that I'm willing to put up here at RWR -- there is definitely worse.

As a result, Foley submitted his resignation.

Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., resigned from Congress on Friday, effective immediately, in the wake of questions about e-mails he wrote a former teenage male page.

"I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent," he said in a statement issued by his office.

The two-sentence statement did not refer to the e-mails and gave no reason for Foley's abrupt decision to abandon a flourishing career in Congress.

Too bad he didn't come clean -- but then again, he is likely facing punishment under laws he helped write.

Foley's name will remain on the ballot, but all votes for him will go to a replacement candidate to be named next week. I'm pulling for either Jeb Bush or George P. Bush Both would make excellent candidates.

I'm asure that some partisan Democrats will try to make hay over this -- but I want to point out that Republicans caught in such shennanigans routinely leave public life. On the other hand, Democrats continued to support and elect Congressman Gerry Studds of Massachusetts for over a decade after he was censured for having sexually abused a 17-year-old male page.

MORE AT: Captain's Quarters, Ms. Underestimated, Stop the ACLU, LaShawn Barber, Florida Masochist, Sister Toldjah, A Blog For All, Wizbang Politics, Blue Crab Boulevard, Lawhawk, Unpartisan, Gay Patriot, Real Clear Politics, The American Mind, Right Wing News, Suitably Flip, Ace of Spades.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Conservative Cat, Bacon Bits, Bullwinkle Blog, Third World County, Adam's Blog, Stuck On Stupid, Clash of Civilizations, Random Yak, Blue Star Chronicles, Pursuing Holiness, Samantha Burns, Uncooperative Blogger, Stop the ACLU, Church & State, Is It Just Me?

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