- Mark Foley scandal
The Mark Foley scandal, which broke in late September 2006, centers on soliciting
Mark Foley, a Republican Congressman from Florida, to teenaged boys who had formerly served as congressional pages.cite news| url=http://www.newsok.com/article/keyword/2951137/| Publisher=NewsOk.com | title=Istook Aide may be victim in page scandal | date= October 5 2006| accessdate=2006-10-05] The scandal has grown to encompass the response of Republican congressional leaders to previous complaints about Foley's contacts with the pages and inconsistencies in the leaders' public statements.cite news| publisher= St. Louis Post Dispatch|title=Shimkus approached Foley about early e-mails |date= 2006-09-30|accessdate=2006-10-03|url=http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/3CF7F67D826703DA862571F9006E2C2F?OpenDocument ] cite news| url=http://www.14wfie.com/Global/story.asp?S=5484336&nav=3w6o| publisher=14WFIE| title=Suggestive emails, Congressman in rehab| date= October 5 2006| accessdate=2006-10-05] cite news| url=http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/news_theswamp/2006/10/house_has_to_cl.html| publisher=Chicago Tribune| title=House needs to clean up mess| date= October 2, 2006| accessdate=2006-10-05 ] cite news| url=http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB115979419705279905-iw_BVeCM48F6lGTleSYRB_CxBuU_20061101.html?mod=tff_main_tff_top| publisher=Wall Street Journal| title=Scandal May Further Alienate Republican Base| date= October 3, 2006| accessdate=2006-10-05] cite news| url=http://www.abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=2514770&page=1| publisher=ABC News| title=Foley's Behavior No Secret on Capitol Hill| date= October 1, 2006| accessdate=2006-10-05] There are also allegations that a second Republican Congressman, Jim Kolbe, had improper conduct with at least two youths, a 16-year old page and a recently graduated page.cite news | title=Kolbe Matter Is Referred to House Ethics Panel: Allegations Involve Contact With Male Former Pages|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/17/AR2006101700139.html|date= 2006-10-18|accessdate=2006-10-18] cite news|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15249733/|title=Feds probe trip that Kolbe made with pages: Congressman alleged to have been inappropriate on '96|publisher=NBC News Investigative Unit|date= 2006-10-13|accessdate=2006-10-13]
The scandal led to Foley's resignation from Congress on
September 29, 2006. It is believed to have contributed to the Republican Party's loss of control over Congress in the November 7, 2006 election, as well as the end of House Speaker Dennis Hastert's leadership of the House Republicans. Kirk Fordham, chief of staff to Rep. Tom Reynolds and former chief of staff for Foley, also resigned as a result of the scandal.
The questionable conversations, which took place between 1995cite news|title=We told you so...10 years ago|publisher=The Advocate.com|url=http://www.advocate.com/exclusive_detail_ektid37249.asp|date=
2006-10-10|accessdate=2006-10-12] cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/03/AR2006100301633.html|publisher= Washington Post|title=Some Say They Felt Uneasy About Representative's Attention|date= 2006-10-04|accessdate=2006-10-08] cite news| url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/10/05/national/w071357D24.DTL | publisher=San Francisco Chronicle | title=Ex-Page Says He Got Messages From Foley | date= October 5, 2006] and 2005, are under investigation by the FBI for possible criminal violations. In September 2008, Florida officials investigating Foley decided not to charge him, citing a lack of evidence and the expiration of the statute of limitations. cite news|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN1928520120080919|title =Florida won't charge ex-lawmaker in sex scandal|publisher = Reuters|date= 2008-09-19|accessdate=2008-10-01] The House Ethics Committeeis investigating the response of the House Republican leadership and their staff to earlier warnings of Foley's conduct.cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/11/AR2006101101639.html|title =Hastert Aides Interest Ethics Panel: Staff Members' Knowledge of Foley's Actions With Former Pages in Question|publisher = Washington Post|date= 2006-10-12|accessdate=2006-10-12] In early October 2006, two news organizations quoted anonymous former pages saying they had sexual liaisons with Foley after turning 18 and 21.
Foley was chairman of the
House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, which introduced legislation targeting sexual predators and created stricter guidelines for tracking them.
In 2004, Foley sent five e-mails to a 16-year-old former page from
Monroe, Louisianacite web|url=http://www.ktbs.com/news/local/4411041.html|title=Louisiana congressman's aide to testify about Foley e-mails|publisher=KTBS.com (KTBS 3 Television Station)|date= October 16, 2006|accessdate=2006-11-27] sponsored by Rep. Rodney Alexander(R-LA). They were the first messages to be made public in the scandal.cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/10/AR2006101001379.html|publisher=Washington Post|title=History of Foley Messages' Release Clarified by Players: 2 Sources Explain Motives, Citing Concern for Hill's Pages|date= 2006-10-11|accessdate=2006-10-11] cite news|url=http://stopsexpredators.blogspot.com/2006/09/emails-from-congressman-foley-to-16.html|publisher=Stopsexpredators|title=Emails from congressman Foley to 16 year old page|date= 2006-09-24|accessdate=2006-10-12] Among other things, Foley asked for a photo of the page, his age and birthday, and what he wanted for a birthday present. Foley observed that another male page (to whom he had also written) was "in really great shape... i am just finished riding my bike on a 25 mile journey..." The page forwarded the e-mails to a colleague in Alexander's office, saying "this really freaked me out," and repeating the word "sick" 13 times in one row to describe the photo request. The page asked "if you can, please tell Rodney [Alexander] about this," and in addition, mentioned a female page who had been warned about a Congressman who "hit on" interns.cite news| url=http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/politics/4225891.html| publisher=Houston Chronicle| title=Foley Resigns From Congress Over E-Mails| first=David| last=Espo| coauthors=Jim Kuhnhenn| date= 2006-09-29| accessdate=2006-09-29] cite press release|url=http://www.citizensforethics.org/press/newsrelease.php?view=163 |title=CREW urges DOJ I.G. to probe why FBI failed to investigate Foley's emails sent by CREW this summer |date= 2006-10-02|accessdate=2006-10-12 |publisher=Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] cite web|url=http://www.citizensforethics.org/filelibrary/FoleyEmailExchangeUpdated.pdf |title=Text of the initial emails| publisher=Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington|format=PDF |accessdate=2006-10-04]
ABC News reported on
October 5that in 2002, Foley e-mailed one page with an invitation to stay at the congressman's home in exchange for oral sex. The page, who was 17 years old at the time, declined the offer. The same report stated that he e-mailed another with a request for a photograph of his erect penis.cite news|url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/three_more_form.html | publisher=ABC News | title=Three More Former Pages Accuse Foley of Online Sexual Approaches | date= October 5, 2006| accessdate=2006-10-05] Another former page reports that he saw sexually explicit e-mails sent to one page from his page class of 2001-2002, and learned of "three or four" pages from that class who received similar e-mails.cite news|url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0610020156oct02,1,1659039.story|title=Ex-page says he saw suggestive e-mails|date= 2006-02-20|accessdate=2006-10-11|publisher=The Chicago Tribune]
After the initial story on the e-mails, other pages contacted ABC and the "Washington Post", providing transcripts of sexually explicit
instant messaging(IM) conversations from 2003 that Foley had with two pages under the age of 18 at the time.cite news | url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/09/exclusive_the_s.html| title=The Sexually Explicit Internet Messages That Led to Fla. Rep. Foley's Resignation|publisher=The Blotter, ABC News|date= 2006-09-29|accessdate=2006-10-01] cite news|title = Foley To Resign Over Sexually Explicit Messages to Minors|publisher = ABC News The Blotter|last = Ross|first = Brian|coauthors =Sauer, Maddy |date = 2006-09-29|accessdate = 2006-09-29| url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/09/foley_resigns_o.html] cite news | url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/new_foley_insta.html | publisher=ABC News | title=New Foley Instant Messages; Had Internet Sex While Awaiting House Vote | date= 2006-10-03] The Washington Post reported that it had received its copies of these same IMs from a page who had served on Capitol Hill with the two pages who received them.cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/08/AR2006100800855.html|title=Lawmaker Saw Foley Messages In 2000: Page Notified GOP Rep. Kolbe|date= 2006-10-08|accessdate=2006-10-08|publisher= Washington Post]
Another former page, Tyson Vivyan, has said that he received "sexually suggestive" messages from Foley in 1997, a month after he left the page program. A page from the class of 1998 also reported receiving explicit IMs from Foley. A page from the class of 2000 reported that he chatted with Foley during the Congressman's 2000 visit to the page dormitory (see Visits and Meetings below), and that afterwards, he began receiving e-mails and IMs from Foley, which became explicit immediately after his 18th birthday. cite news|publisher=ABC.com|url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/foley_cruising_.html|title=Foley Cruising in His BMW; Another Dorm Visit in 2000|date=
ources of messages and chronology
Two Florida newspapers, the "
St. Petersburg Times" and the " Miami Herald", and the Fox News Channel acquired copies of these e-mails in November 2005, but decided not to publish a story.cite news|title=Foley Story Wasn't Reported, Until It Was |publisher=National Public Radio |date= 2006-06-20|accessdate=2006-10-07|url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6211216] cite news| url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/10/03/america/NA_GEN_US_Congressman_Resigns.php |publisher=International Herald Tribune |date= 2006-10-03|accessdate=2006-10-05 |title=Leader of U.S. House defends handling of scandal involving congressman, young former page] cite news| title=Papers Knew of Foley E-Mail but Did Not Publish Stories|publisher=New York Times|date= 2006-10-03|accessdate=2006-10-03|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/03/washington/03media.html] According to an editor at the "St. Petersburg Times", they received the e-mails from a source in Alexander's office.cite news |publisher=Newsweek Magazine |date= October 16, 2006issue |accessdate=2006-10-08 |url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15178112/site/newsweek/page/4/ |title=A Secret Life: Mark Foley's explicit e-mails could bring down the GOP. ]
The "St. Petersburg Times" editors decided the exchange was probably just "friendly chit-chat". Nonetheless, they assigned two reporters to investigate in November 2005. The recipient of the e-mail refused to cooperate with the story, and no other pages they interviewed had complaints about correspondence with Foley. The "Times" revisited their investigation "more than once", ultimately choosing not to break the story.cite news|url=http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2006/09/a_note_from_the.html|title=A Note from the Editors|date=
2006-09-30|accessdate=2006-10-02|publisher=St. Petersburg Times|work=The Buzz] Ken Silverstein, an editor at " Harper's Magazine", said that he received copies of the five e-mails in May 2006 from a "Democratic operative". Silverstein subsequently wrote a story on the e-mails, which was cancelled due to a lack of absolute proof that Foley was anything more than "creepy," He said that his source "was not working in concert with the national Democratic Party" but was "genuinely disgusted" by Foley's behavior. Silverstein himself passed the information to other media organizations after cancelling the story.cite news|title=Republicans Want to Turn Over a New Page|publisher=Harper's Magazine|url=http://www.harpers.org/sb-republicans-1160492797.html|date= 2006-10-10|accessdate=2006-10-11]
In July 2006, a paid Republican Congressional staffer sent copies of the e-mails to several Washington media organizations through an intermediary. cite news| url=http://www.hillnews.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/100506/news2.html |title=Longtime Republican was source of e-mails |publisher=
The Hill|date= 2006-10-05| accessdate=2006-10-05] The organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington(CREW) said it received copies of the e-mails on July 21st and turned them over to the FBI that same day. (See Justice Department investigation, below.)
In August 2006, ABC News reporter Brian Ross received the initial e-mails from a Republican source. He did not write a story for over a month because he was working on other stories.cite news | url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/09/sixteenyearold_.html | title=Sixteen-Year-Old Who Worked as Capitol Hill Page Concerned About E-mail Exchange with Congressman | publisher=The Blotter,
ABC News| date= September 28, 2006| accessdate = 2006-10-05]
September 24, 2006, the e-mails were released by Lane Hudsonon his anonymous blog "Stop Sex Predators". Hudson was at the time employed by the Human Rights Campaign. When the HRC found out about Hudson's activity during the week of October 25, 2006, it publicly fired him for misusing its resources.cite news|publisher=New York Times|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/26/us/politics/26foley.html|title=Rights Group Fires Publisher of Foley E-Mail|author = David Kirkpatrick|date= 2006-10-26|accessdate=2006-10-26] At the time of his firing, the Board of Directors of HRC included Jeff Trandahl, who also had prior knowledge and involvement with the issue.
The political humor blog
Wonkettedrew readers' attention to the posted e-mails on September 27. [ [http://www.wonkette.com/politics/mark-foley/underaged-gay-sex-scandal-203725.php Underaged Gay Sex Scandal!] , Wonkette, September 27, 2006] The next day, September 28, Ross reported on the e-mails which he had received in August.
After that initial story, two sources brought copies of more explicit instant messages to ABC News and the "Washington Post". Both were former pages — the first was a Republican who would "never vote for a Democrat", and the second was a Democrat from the same class as the two pages who received the messages.
In early-October 2006, two news organizations quoted anonymous former pages as saying that they had sexual liaisons with Foley after they turned 18 and 21, respectively.cite news | publisher=
Los Angeles Times| date= October 8, 2006| url=http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-page8oct08,0,3896853.story?coll=la-home-headlines | title=Ex-Page Tells of Foley Liaison | last=Roche, Jr. | first=Walter F.] cite news | publisher=abcnews.com |url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/three_more_form.html |title=Three More Former Pages Accuse Foley of Online Sexual Approaches |date= 2006-10-05|accessdate=2006-10-08]
Visits and meetings
On at least two different occasions, one in the summer of 2000 and one in 2002 or 2003, Foley allegedly visited the dormitory where pages live. On the first occasion, he drove up in his BMW automobile during a nighttime "mixer" party. Students came out of the dorm to talk with him and were warned away by an adult supervisor in the page program, who shooed them back inside.
In the second visit, "
Newsweek" Magazine reported that Foley showed up at the dormitory after the 10 P.M. curfew, apparently drunk, and attempted to enter the building. He was reportedly turned away by a security guard.
Other non-sexual meetings include a dinner with one former page, then 17, after which he invited the youth back to his hotel room and "touched his leg"cite news|publisher=The New York Times|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/11/washington/11foley.html|title=Hastert Vows to Fire Aides if a Cover-Up Is Discovered|date=
2006-10-11|accessdate=2006-10-11] , and a visit by two pages in 1997 to Foley's Washington condo where they consumed pizza and soda. Another page reported that Foley repeatedly invited him out for ice cream.cite news|url=http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-foley3oct03,1,3384120.story?track=crosspromo&coll=la-headlines-nation&ctrack=1&cset=true| title=Foley Saga No Shock to Some|publisher=Los Angeles Times|date= 2006-10-03|accessdate=2006-10-03]
Though Foley is not alleged to have engaged in sexual relations with pages during the time of their service, he allegedly entered, on at least two occasions, into sexual relationships with ex-pages.
In communications with one of the pages, who has chosen to remain anonymous, Foley appears to emphasize that while he assesses the attractions and orientation of pages, he waits until they have left the program to engage the youth in erotic activities: "I always knew you were a player but I don't fool around with pages."
Los Angeles Times" contacted the anonymous former page, according to a report in the paper on October 8, "after others identified him as someone whose contacts with Foley went beyond graphic messages." The page said that after leaving the page program, he began receiving instant messages from Maf54 that quickly became provocative in nature. According to the "Times":
cquote|In the messages, Maf54 described how years earlier, he had looked to see whether the former page had an
erectionin his tight white pants while the then-teenager was working near the congressman. Maf54 also speculated about the sexual attributes of other males in the same page class, including the observation that one young man was "well hung." ...
In one 2000 message, Maf54 inquired about the length and direction of the youth's erection.
"I always thought you were gay," Maf54 commented.
The ex-page says that in the fall of 2000, when he was 21 years old, he engaged in
sexual intercoursewith Foley at the congressman's Washington residence. According to the former page's account, " [t] he two had wineand pizzaon a backyard patioand then retired to a spare bedroom."
Shortly after being questioned by ABC about the more explicit IMs -- and before they had been publicly revealed -- Foley resigned from Congress. [cite news|url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/09/exclusive_the_s.html|title=Foley Resigns Over Sexually Explicit Messages to Minors|date=
2006-09-29|accessdate=2006-10-10|publisher= ABC News] cite news | url=http://news.yahoo.com/s/cq/20060929/pl_cq_politics/republicanrepfoleyresignsdropsreelectionbidinfla16_1 | title=Republican Rep. Foley Resigns, Drops Re-election Bid in Fla. 16 | publisher= St. Petersburg Times| date= September 29, 2006| first=Susan | last=Ferrechio | accessdate = 2006-09-18] The congressman issued a statement, saying, "I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent." Kirk Fordham, Chief of Staff to Representative and National Republican Congressional CommitteeChairman Tom Reynoldsof New York, and former Chief of Staff to Foley, said that he was with Foley when ABC confronted him with the explicit IMs. Fordham said that he asked Foley if they were authentic, and that Foley replied, "Probably."cite news | title= Onetime Loyal Aide Now Stands to Undermine GOP | url=http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-fordham5oct05,1,7047028.story | publisher=Los Angeles Times |date= 2006-10-07|accessdate=2006-10-07] According to Newsweek, Foley "knew he was finished." Fordham then visited GOP headquarters to inform Hastert and Reynolds; he returned with a one-sentence resignation letter that Foley signed.cite news|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15178112/site/newsweek| title=How Foley Scandal Could Cost Bush Congress| date= October 9, 2006| publisher=Newsweek] A short time later, Foley submitted his resignation to Governor Jeb Bushand left the capital.
Once the scandal broke in full, Foley had virtually no chance of staying in Congress. Hastert and Reynolds let it be known that if Foley didn't sign the resignation letter, they would have sought his expulsion from the House. Polls showed him losing badly to his Democratic challenger, businessman
Tim Mahoney. Even if Foley had come back to win, it is very unlikely the House would have seated him.
October 2, Foley checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic for alcoholism.cite news | title=Florida GOP Names Replacement Candidate | url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/10/02/national/a150628D11.DTL&type=politics |publisher=San Francisco Chronicle | date= October 2, 2006| accessdate=2006-10-03] On October 3Foley’s lawyer stated, "Mark Foley has never, ever had inappropriate sexual contact with a minor in his life. He is absolutely, positively not a pedophile." He also stated that Foley himself was a victim of sexual assault by an unnamed clergyman as a child, that the inappropriate conversations were the result of a secret alcohol problem and primarily occurred while Foley was intoxicated, and that Foley is gay.cite news| url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/03/us/03foley.html?ex=1317528000&en=facfda09162eea42&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss | title=Pressure Grows for G.O.P. Over Foley Scandal| publisher=New York Times| date= 2006-10-03|accessdate=2006-10-03] cite news| url=http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2523829| title=Foley Says He Was Abused by a Clergyman|publisher=ABC News|date= 2006-10-03|accessdate=2006-10-03] cite news|url=http://abcnews.go.com/images/WNT/ross_roth_statement_foley.pdf |title=Statement by Mark Foley's attorney, David Roth |publisher = ABC TV News |date= 2006-10-05|accessdate=2006-10-05|format=PDF] cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/04/AR2006100400230.html |title=Mark Foley Claims Being Molested As Teen |publisher=Washington Post |date= 2006-10-04|accessdate=2006-10-05] cite news|url=http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/10/04/foley.internet/index.html |title=Mysterious blog scooped media on Foley messages |publisher=CNN |date= 2006-10-05|accessdate=2006-10-05] Previously, when confronted with speculations that he was gay, Foley labeled them "revolting and unforgivable."cite news | title=Being gay in the GOP | url=http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/editorial/documents/02919063.htm | publisher=Boston Phoenix | date= May 30, 2005| accessdate=2005-10-05 ] However, Foley's homosexuality had been an open secretin Washington for many years.
Priest's alleged childhood molestation of Foley
After demands to do so, [cite news|author=Kathleen Chapman|title=Catholic Church asks Foley to name alleged molester|publisher=Palm Beach Post|date=
October 11 2006|url=http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2006/10/11/1011foley_letter.html|accessdate=2006-10-11] [cite news|author=Alan Cooperman|title=Diocese, Victim's Groups Demand Foley Reveal Alleged Abuser|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/06/AR2006100600937.html|publisher=Washington Post|date= 2006-10-06] Foley privately identified the priest he alleged had abused him as a child. However, the public revelation of his identity, Anthony Mercieca, a 69-year old Catholic priestnow living in Malta, came through the investigative reporting of the " Sarasota Herald-Tribune". [cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2006/10/20/BL2006102000309_pf.html | title=Hillary, Johnny Mac and Mo | author=Kurtz, Howard | publisher=The Washington Post | date= October 20 2006| accessdate=2006-10-22]
Parallel to Foley's disclosure, Mercieca held several interviews in which he described a two-year relationship with Foley from when the youth was a thirteen-year-old altar boy at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in
Lake Worth, Floridauntil he was fifteen. He told the "Sarasota Herald-Tribune" about a number of intimate occasions that the priest claimed "Foley might perceive as sexually inappropriate," such as "massaging Foley while the boy was naked, skinny-dipping together at a secluded lake in Lake Worth and being naked in the same room on overnight trips." Mercieca hinted at an even more intimate event, which he claimed took place while he was under the influence of tranquilizers and alcohol, and which he could not clearly recollect, and that he taught Foley "some wrong things" related to sex, which he did not specify.cite news|title=Priest tells of Foley relationship: Then-altar boy may have found some things inappropriate|author=MATTHEW DOIG and MAURICE TAMMAN|publisher=Sarasota Herald Tribune | url=http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061019/NEWS/610190725 | date= 2006-10-19|accessdate=2006-10-19]
In a separate AP interview, he recounted that: "We were friends and trusted each other as brothers and loved each other as brothers. It was not what you call intercourse...There was no rape or anything...Maybe light touches here or there."cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/19/AR2006101900533.html|publisher=Washington Post|title=Priest Acknowledges Intimate Contact With Foley|author=Howard Schneider and Debbi Wilgoren|date=
2006-10-19|accessdate=2006-10-19] And he told a Florida TV station that it wasn't abuse, which is against someone's will: "He seemed to like it, you know? So it was sort of more like a spontaneous thing." The Archdiocese of Miami issued a statement apologizing to Foley for "the hurt he experienced" from the priest's "morally reprehensible" actions, and suspended Mercieca's faculties.cite news|url=http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/10/20/foley.priest/index.html|title=Miami Archdiocese apologizes to Foley|publisher=Cable News Network|date= 2006-10-20|accessdate=2006-10-20]
According to Mercieca, he last saw Foley at a dinner meeting 18 years ago in a restaurant in Fort Worth. [cite news|title=Priest Details Relationship With Foley: Catholic Priest Admits To Sitting In Saunas, Giving Massages To Ex-Congressman; Wonders Why He's Upset|publisher=CBS Broadcasting Inc|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/19/national/main2109801.shtml|date=
2006-10-19|accessdate=2006-10-20] When asked whether he had anything to say to Foley, Mercieca said, "Remember the good times we had together, you know, and how well we enjoyed each other’s company." He added, "Don’t keep dwelling on this thing, you know?" [cite news | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/20/washington/20priest.html?hp&ex=1161316800&en=20b8c86acbe139cf&ei=5094&partner=homepage | title=Priest Says He Had Close Contact With Foley | publisher=The New York Times | author=Goodnough, Abby | date= October 20 2006] Mercieca cannot be prosecuted for his activities with Foley since the relevant statutes of limitations have expired, and the Palm Beach County state attorney's office "cannot conduct an investigation because Foley has declined to press charges."
A childhood friend of Foley's, Jon Ombres, confirmed the close friendship between the two, and suggested that there may have been a second priest, sexually interested in youths and with whom Foley was on good terms, active in the parish at that time.As of
October 25, Mercieca faced new accusations, leveled by a former altar boy who claims having been abused by him in the seventies at the age of twelve. [Samantha Zee, on Bloomberg.com; "Priest Who Fondled Foley Faces New Accusation" [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aiFQ97R6tXt4&refer=us] ] Mercieca, speaking through his lawyer, has denied the second accusation, claiming that it is "at best as a figment of the imagination and at worst a malicious fabrication." On July 18, 2007, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miamisettled a lawsuit brought up against it by the former altar boy. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The lawsuit had sought more than $10,000,000 in damages. [cite news | url=http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/07/18/ap3928431.html | title=Settlement in Abuse Case of Foley Priest | publisher=AP | author=Kay, Jennifer | date= July 18 2007]
As an apparent result of the Foley scandal, allegations of inappropriate contact with pages have been made against other congressmen.
Two allegations were made against another Republican Congressman,
Jim Kolbe. The first to be made public involves a 1996 rafting trip Kolbe took on the Colorado Riverwith two recently graduated, 17-year-old male pages, as well as Kolbe's sister, five of his staffers, and Gary Cummins, the deputy superintendent of the Grand Canyon National Parkat the time. An anonymous participant told NBC that he was "creeped out" by the attention Kolbe paid to one of the pages, adding that Kolbe did a lot of "fawning, petting and touching" on the teenager's arms, shoulders and back. The page in question declined to address that statement, telling NBC, "I just don't want to get into this... because I might possibly be considered for a job in the administration." He did say that he had a "blast" on the trip and did not report anything improper to his parents or page officials afterwards.
On the day that the Justice Department investigation of the first allegation was made public,
October 12 2006, Kolbe's spokeswoman Korenna Cline said that his office had not been contacted by the Justice Department or House Ethics Committee. She then resigned abruptly, saying "I have decided to pursue another job opportunity and today is my last day."cite news|publisher=The Arizona Republic | url=http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/1013congress-kolbe13-ON.html | title=Feds investigate Kolbe's '96 camping trip with pages | date= 2006-10-13| accessdate=2006-10-14]
In the second allegation, a page told the FBI and House Clerk's office that he was "uncomfortable with a particular social encounter" including physical contact that occurred in 2001 when he and Kolbe were alone. The page was 16 at the time and did not report the incident then.
These allegations have also been the topic of a recent conference call between the members of the House Page Review Board,cite news|url=http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/nation/4264316.html|publisher=Houston Chronicle (from AP)|title=Investigation of page scandal widens|date=
2006-10-17|accessdate=2006-10-17] which referred the matter to the House Ethics Committee since they don't have jurisdiction over Congressmen.
Trandahl, speaking as the former House Clerk, reportedly has stated that Kolbe was one of a small group of "problem members" of congress who frequently socialized with House pages in inappropriate ways.cite news|url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/trandahl_names_.html|title=Trandahl Names Kolbe as a 'Problem' With Page Program, Source Says|publisher=ABC News The Blotter|date=
2006-10-25|accessdate=2006-10-25|author=Rhonda Schwartz and John Yang]
Jerry Weller(R-IL) sent the House Page Board and House Ethics Committee a report that a page he sponsored was "inappropriately invited to a social function by another congressman." He declined to make any further details public.cite news|url=http://daily-journal.com/archives/dj/display.php?id=380821|title=Weller refers incident to House|publisher=Kankakee Daily Journal|date= 2006-10-20|accessdate=2006-10-20|author=Edward Felker]
Other leaders whose roles have been criticized include Reynolds,
John Boehner, John Shimkus, Ken Mehlman, [cite news|url=http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/10/why-isnt-ken-mehlman-lie-bigger-story.html|title= Why isn't the Ken Mehlman lie a bigger story?|date= 2006-10-09|accessdate=2006-10-12|publisher = Unclaimed Territory] and Sue W. Kelly. [cite news| url=http://www.nytimes.com/cq/2006/10/09/cq_1598.html| publisher=New York Times| title=Kelly’s Connections to Foley Scandal Put Her Seat at Risk | date= October 9, 2006| accessdate=2006-10-05]
Also significant in the scandal is the office of
Clerk of the House of Representativesis the Chief Administrative Officerof the United States House of Representatives. The Clerk is responsible for the effective administration of all personnel matters, including those relating to the house pages. The two Clerks of the House during the scandal were Jeff Trandahland Karen Haas; the latter was elevated to the position from being floor assistant for Hastertcite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/17/AR2005111701764.html|publisher=Washington Post|title=In The Loop: Chemical Reactions|date= 2005-11-18|accessdate=2006-10-12] after Trandahl resigned on November 18, 2005.cite news|url=http://www.gpoaccess.gov/crecord/digest2005/d18NO051.txt|date= 2005-11-18|accessdate=2006-10-12|title=Congressional Record Daily Digest|publisher=US Government General Printing Office]
Knowledge before September 2006
At least thirteen Republican Congressmen or congressional staffers have acknowledged that they knew of the five initial e-mails before they were made public: Majority Leader
John Boehner(Ohio); Reynolds; Alexander and John Shimkus(Ill.) (Chairman of the House Page Board); Hastert, Mike Stokke, Ted Van Der Meid, and Tim Kennedyin Hastert's office; Paula Nowakowski, Boehner’s chief of staff; Trandahl; Alexander’s chief of staff (Royal Alexander, no relation)cite news | url=http://rollcall.com/issues/1_1/breakingnews/15263-1.html |title=Hastert, Top Aides Knew of Foley Allegations |publisher=Roll Call Magazine |date= September 30, 2006|accessdate=2006-10-08] and another Alexander staffer, Danielle Savoy,cite news|url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/staffers_testif.html| title=Staffers Testify On Foley E-mails| publisher= ABC News|date= 2006-10-16|first=Z. Byron| last=Wolf|accessdate = 2006-10-16] Fordham; Kolbe,cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/08/AR2006100800855.html|title=Lawmaker Saw Foley Messages In 2000|publisher=The Washington Post| author=Weisman, Jonathan|date= October 9 2006|accessdate=2006-10-09] and Kolbe's staffer.cite news | url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2006/10/kolbe_clarifies_1.html |title=Kolbe Clarifies Handling of Foley Complaint |publisher=ABC News |date= October 10, 2006| accessdate=2006-10-10]
No Democratic Congressman or staffers have been shown to have had such knowledge.cite news|title=House ethics panel questions officials closest to the pages|publisher=USA Today|date=
2006-10-12|accessdate=2006-10-12|url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-10-11-foley-ethics-panel_x.htm] (Except for the House Democratic Caucus and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.)cite news|title=Democratic Leadership Knew About Foley E-mails|publisher=ABC News|date= 2006-12-08|accessdate=2006-12-08|url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/12/democratic_lead.html]
Kurt Wolfe, the journalist who first outed Foley in "The Advocate" in 1996, said that one of the original independent sources he found to corroborate Foley's orientation was an ex-page. An adult by the time of his meeting with Wolfe, he described having been "the recipient of many inappropriate sexual communications from Foley" while a minor. Wolfe contacted Foley's office for comment, and was rebuffed. Nevertheless, he asserts about Foley's staff: "They were notified."
Several current and former congressional employees recalled Foley approaching young male pages at parties, going back many years, and say that warnings about him were commonly passed around. Generally speaking, he was "known to be extraordinarily friendly in a way that made some [pages] uncomfortable." According to Mark Beck-Heyman, who served as a Republican page in summer 1995, "Almost the first day I got there I was warned. It was no secret that Foley had a special interest in male pages." He charged that many people on Capitol Hill, including Republican staffers, "have known for over 11 years about what was going on and chose to do nothing." Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said on MSNBC that "I‘ve had people now on staff that used to be pages, and it was widely known to watch out for him, that he liked boys ... so pages were warned to watch out for him."cite news|publisher=
MSNBC|title=Hardball With Chris Matthews|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15128915/|date= 2006-10-06|accessdate=2006-10-08]
October 9, " The Washington Post" reported that in 2000, a former page showed Kolbe messages from Foley that made the page feel uncomfortable. According to "The Washington Post", these messages were sexually explicit, a characterization that Kolbe's press secretary denied. "The Washington Post" reported that Kolbe confronted Foley about the messages. Kolbe's press secretary said that unspecified "corrective action" was taken. Kolbe later said that the former page, whom Kolbe had sponsored, told him of a "creepy" e-mail from Foley, but did not show it to him. Kolbe said that, through his staff, he passed the complaint on to Trandahl and to Foley's office. Kolbe said that he did not confront Foley about the matter, and that he recalled that the incident had taken place later than 2000.
Another page, Matthew Loraditch, stated that when he served in 2001 pages had been warned to "watch out for Congressman Mark Foley," cite news | url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/gop_staff_warne.html | title=GOP Staff Warned Pages About Foley in 2001| publisher=
ABC News|date= 2006-10-01|first=Anna | last=Schecter|accessdate = 2006-10-01] though he later softened his description of the warning.Newsweek" Magazine reported that in 2002 or 2003, Foley showed up at the pages' dormitory after the 10 P.M. curfew, apparently drunk, and attempted to enter the building. He was reportedly turned away by a security guard. "Newsweek" stated that Trandahl notified Fordham (then Foley's Chief of Staff and later Congressman Tom Reynolds' chief of staff), and that Fordham in turn contacted Scott B. Palmer, Hastert's chief of staff, describing Foley's behavior generally but not mentioning the incident at the pages' dormitory. This account further stated that Fordham followed up a couple of days later with Palmer, who replied that he had "informed the Speaker" and "dealt with it" by talking to Foley directly.cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/12/AR2006101200561.html| title=Washington Post: Foley's Former Top Aide Testifies | page=Washington Post| publisher= Washington Post| date= October 13, 2006| accessdate = 2006-10-14] Palmer has categorically denied that meeting between him and Fordham ever took place: "What Kirk Fordham says happened did not happen." However, on October 6a second congressional staffer corroborated Fordham's version of the events, claiming that in 2003 a meeting took place between Palmer and Foley, specifically to discuss complaints about his behavior towards pages.cite news | url=http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2003293173_foley07.html | title=Staffer backs up alleged 2003 Foley face-off | author=Weisman, Jonathan | publisher=The Washington Post | date= October 7, 2006]
Trandahl, testifying to a closed session of the House Ethics Committee, reportedly also confirmed that Hastert's office was notified of Mr. Foley's behavior in 2003. He stated that he regularly updated Hastert's counsel and floor manager, Ted Van Der Meid, about a "problem group of members and staff who spent too much time socializing with pages outside of official duties." One member of the group was Foley.cite news|publisher=ABC News|title=The Blotter:Exclusive: Former House Clerk's Testimony|date=
2006-10-19|accessdate=2006-10-19|url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/house_clerks_te.html] cite news|publisher=New York Times|title=Ex-House Clerk Testifies to Panel in Foley Case|url=Ex-House Clerk Testifies to Panel in Foley Case|date= 2006-10-19|accessdate=2006-10-19]
Rodney Alexander(R-LA) stated that he learned of the five initial e-mails from Foley to the 16-year old page from Louisiana in the fall of 2005, after a news reporter brought the matter to his attention. Alexander spoke to the boy's parents, who did not wish to pursue the matter beyond stopping the e-mails. Alexander's chief of staff met with Mike Stokke, Hastert's deputy chief of staff in the fall of 2005.cite news
title=Internal Review of Contacts With the Office of the Speaker Regarding the Congressman Mark Foley Matter| url=http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=73543|publisher=Office of Speaker Hastert |date=
2006-09-30] cite news|url=http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Congress-Pages.html|publisher=New York Times (from AP)|title=Panel Questions Ex-Aide to Foley|date= 2006-10-12|accessdate=2006-10-12] They met with Trandahl. Contradictory statements have made it unclear whether they actually read the e-mails. [cite news| title=Candidate alleges Foley case cover-up| date=2006-10-01| accessdate=2006-10-01| publisher=Bellville News-Democrat |url=http://www.belleville.com/mld/belleville/15653543.htm ] Trandahl then met with Shimkus, and Shimkus and Trandahl met privately with Foley, and Shimkus told him to cease contact with the page. The other two congressional representatives on the House Page committee (including the only Democrat) were not informed, and no formal investigative or disciplinary action was taken.cite news| url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/01/washington/01foley.html?ex=1317355200&en=3cc73da1de57ef98&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss | title=G.O.P. Aides Knew in Late ’05 of E-Mail| publisher=New York Times|date= October 1, 2006|accessdate=2006-10-01]
After testifying in closed session before the House Ethics Committee, Rep. Alexander also announced that “There are many people who know what we know, and have known it for a lot longer period of time than we’ve known.” He did not name names publicly, however.cite news|publisher=New York Times|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/19/washington/19foley.html|title=Louisiana Page Not Central to Inquiry, Lawmaker Says|date=
In the spring of 2006, Rep. Alexander mentioned the case to Boehner, who referred him to Rep. Reynolds (R-NY), chairman of the
National Republican Congressional Committee. Both Reynolds and Boehner say that they notified Hastert; he says he can't recall that and questions whether it is true.
When the story became public, Hastert said that he had learned of the e-mails only when the news broke in late September, 2006.cite news|last=Babington, Charles and Jonathan Weisman |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/29/AR2006092901574.html |title=Rep. Foley Quits In Page Scandal: Explicit Online Notes Sent to Boy, 16| publisher=Washington Post|date=
2006-09-30] Reynolds said on September 30that he had spoken with Hastert about the matter early in 2006 after being approached by Alexander to discuss the matter. According to "The Washington Post", "Republican insiders said Reynolds spoke out because he was angry that Hastert appeared willing to let him take the blame for the party leadership's silence." Hastert's office said that Hastert did not "explicitly recall" that conversation but said he did not dispute it.cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/30/AR2006093001265_pf.html| title=GOP Leader Rebuts Hastert on Foley | page=A01| publisher= Washington Post| date= October 1, 2006| accessdate = 2006-10-04]
Boehner told "The Washington Post" that he had learned of the emails in the spring. Boehner initially said that he informed Hastert, and that Hastert assured him "we're taking care of it." After Hastert denied knowledge to the press, Boehner retracted his statement, stating that he could not recall the conversation. Boehner later stated that he was "99 percent" sure he had informed Hastert. [cite news| url=http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061003/NEWS01/610030374 |title=Boehner discusses Foley e-mails |publisher=Cincinnati Post| date=
House Page Board
A board consisting of three House members and two congressional staffers, chaired by Shimkus, supervises the House page program. The staffers, who are automatic members, are the House Clerk and the House Sergeant At Arms.cite news|url=http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2577146|title=Democrat Alludes to Other Page Cases|publisher=ABC News|date=
Although Shimkus was aware of the five initially reported e-mails in 2005, he did not inform the rest of the board aside from Trandahl. Shimkus said he "was asked to keep this in confidence" because the parents of the page didn't want the incident publicized.cite news|publisher=Chicago Sun-Times|url=http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2006/10/sweet_column_scandal_splits_ha.html|title=Sweet Column: Scandal splits Hastert, Shimkus|date=
2006-10-10|accessdate=2006-10-13] The other two representatives on the board, Dale Kildee(D-MI) and Shelley Moore Capito(R-WV) did not find out about them until the scandal broke in October 2006. Kildee said that he was "very upset" that he had not been informed of the e-mails. He said, "I should have been told. The whole House Page Board should have been told."cite news | url=http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061002/POLITICS/610020338/1022 | title=Michigan Dem who oversees pages was kept in the dark |publisher= The Detroit News| date= 2006-10-02| accessdate=2006-10-02] Capito said that she would have recommended stronger action had she been made aware of the original e-mails.cite news|url=http://www.dailymail.com/story/News/+/200610027/Capito+says+she+was+not+told+about+congressman's+e-mails/|title=Capito says she was not told about congressman's e-mails|publisher= Charleston Daily Mail|date= October 2 2006|accessdate=2006-10-02]
There are separate supervisors for the Republican and Democratic pages. Peggy Sampson has supervised Republican pages since 1986, and several former pages say that she warned them about Mark Foley.cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/11/AR2006101101639.html|title=Hastert Aides Interest Ethics Panel: Staff Members' Knowledge of Foley's Actions With Former Pages in Question|publisher=Washington Post|date=
2006-10-12|accessdate=2006-10-12] Wren Ivester is the supervisor of Democratic pages. No Democratic pages have said they were warned about Foley, and several contacted by ABC News said they had not been told about him. Both supervisors testified before a closed session of the House Ethics Committee on October 11, 2006.cite news|title=House interviews page supervisors|url=http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20061011-113051-7137r.htm|publisher=Washington Times (from AP)|date= 2006-10-12|accessdate=2006-10-12]
Role of Leadership members
Hastert claimed at first that he had learned of the e-mails the week only when the news broke on
September 29, 2006,cite news|url=http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061002/ap_on_go_co/congressman_e_mails|publisher=Associated Press|date= 2006-10-02|accessdate=2006-10-02|title=FBI examining Foley's e-mail to teens] and repeated this declaration on October 5.cite news |publisher=Bloomberg News Service |url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aVvX0Y0Z8ZUo&refer=home |title=Hastert Accepts Responsibility for Foley Scandal, Won't Resign |date= October 5, 2006|accessdate=2006-10-08] Two other top leaders in the House, Boehner and Reynolds, however, have stated that they told Hastert about the Foley emails in the spring of 2006. Boehner added that Hastert replied that the complaint "had been taken care of", and confirmed his account under oath before the House Ethics Committee.cite news|url=http://www.rollcall.com/issues/1_1/breakingnews/15259-1.html|publisher=Roll Call|date= 2006-09-29|accessdate=2006-09-30|title=Foley Interviewed About Page Last Year; Democrats Not Told]
Hastert's office concedes, in its own chronology, that his top staffers Mike Stokke (deputy chief of staff), Ted Van Der Meid (legal counsel) and a lower placed assistant named Tim Kennedy were told about the Foley emails by Rep. Alexander's chief of staff in November 2005. They deny that Scott Palmer knew about the emails until they were made public, though. Hastert is unusually close to his top staffers; he lives with Palmer and Stokke, who have worked for him for decades, and they commute back to Illinois together on weekends.
Fordham, who had been Foley's chief of staff until January 2004, and chief of staff to Congressman Reynolds from 2005 until he resigned on
October 4 2006, said that he told Scott Palmer about Foley's interest in pages in 2003, that Palmer met with Foley, and that Hastert knew about the meeting. [ [http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/foleys_former_c.html The Blotter: Foley's Former Chief of Staff Says Foley's Behavior Was No Secret to Speaker Hastert ] ] Palmer replied that "What Kirk Fordham said did not happen", [cite news | url=http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-na-foley5oct05,1,1539922.story | title=Hastert Challenged About Office's Knowledge of Foley | publisher=The Los Angeles Times | author=Hook, Janet | coauthors=Noam N. Levey; Peter Wallsten | date= October 5 2006| accessdate=2006-10-16] but on October 6a second congressional staffer corroborated Fordham's account, claiming that a 2003 meeting took place between Palmer and Foley specifically to discuss complaints about his behavior towards pages.
October 2press conference, Hastert called the IMs "vile and repulsive." He also said that had Foley not resigned, he would have demanded his expulsion from the House. He also condemned Foley for misleading him, Shimkus and the organizations with whom he'd worked to strengthen laws against exploiting children. [http://www.speaker.gov/library/misc/061002Comments.shtml] Hastert requested a criminal investigation of the explicit IMs, but not of the earlier, less explicit e-mails exchanged between Foley and the page sponsored by Alexander.
However, the following day, on the Rush Limbaugh Show he altered his account of Foley's departure from the House, now taking credit for having "asked him to resign." The new version was repeated uncritically by a number of media sources, which did not challenge the contradiction. [Media Matters, "Debunking the Foley myth machine" [http://mediamatters.org/items/200610110009#5] ]
October 3, the " Washington Times" called for Hastert's resignation as Speaker over his handling of the scandal.cite news|url=http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20061002-102008-9058r.htm|title=Resign, Mr. Speaker | date= 2006-10-03|accessdate=2006-10-10|publisher=Washington Times] Prominent conservatives also have called for Hastert's resignation, such as David Bossie, president of Citizens United; conservative columnist Richard Viguerie; and conservative columnist Michael Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan. [cite news|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/04/opinion/lynch/main2059770.shtml |title=Can This Marriage Be Saved? |date= 2006-10-04|accessdate=2006-10-10|publisher=CBS News|first=Dotty|last=Lynch] Hastert has rebuffed these calls to resign, arguing he did nothing wrong and is committed to investigating the scandal and leading Congress. [cite news | url=http://edition.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/10/03/foley.scandal/|title=Hastert ignores call to resign amid Foley fallout | first=Susan | last=Candiotti|publisher=CNN International|date= 2006-10-03|accessdate=2006-10-03cite news | url=http://apnews.myway.com/article/20061003/D8KH5RN80.html|title=Hastert Stands by Handling of Foley Case|publisher=Associated Press|first=Andrew|last=Taylor|date= 2006-10-03|accessdate=2006-10-03] Boehner also defended Hastert in a letter to the editor of "Washington Times". A conference call on October 2with about 100 House Republicans had no calls for a resignation. [cite news|url=http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/10/03/hastert.foley/index.html|title=Hastert, GOP stand together amid Foley scandal | publisher=CNN|date= 2006-10-03|accessdate=2006-10-10]
October 5, Hastert accepted responsibility for the scandal but refused to step down. He said, "I haven't done anything wrong" and re-affirmed that he had only recently learned about any problems involving Foley and the pages: "I learned of this last Friday... I don't know who knew what or when--that's why we've asked for an investigation."
Reynolds issued a statement that he had spoken with Hastert about the matter early in 2006. According to "The Washington Post", "Republican insiders said Reynolds spoke out because he was angry that Hastert appeared willing to let him take the blame for the party leadership's silence."cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/30/AR2006093001265.html | title=GOP Leaders Knew Of Foley's Messages | publisher=
The Washington Post| date= October 1, 2006| first= | last= | accessdate = 2006-09-30] Hastert did not "explicitly recall" that conversation but said he did not dispute it.
Reynolds commented on his role in the events, "I don't think I went wrong at all...I don't know what else I could have done." [cite news| title=Bush Backs Hastert Investigation of Foley Online Messages With Male Page | url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,217320,00.html |publisher=FOX News |date=
The question of Reynolds's role in the scandal nearly cost him his seat in the November 2006 election. According to conservative columnist
Robert Novak, Reynolds convinced a reluctant Foley to run for re-election even after finding out about his questionable e-mails. [cite news | url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/10042006/news/nationalnews/sick_new_foley_e_mails_nationalnews_niles_lathem__post_correspondent.htm | title=Sick New Foley Emails |publisher=New York Post| date= 2006-10-04|accessdate=2006-10-06] Reynolds also contributed $5,000 to Foley's re-election fund, apparently after finding out about his behavior. [ [http://blogs.nydailynews.com/dailypolitics/archives/2006/09/reynolds_knew_b.php Reynolds Knew, But Gave?] , "The Daily Politics", Ben Smith, NY Daily News, September 30, 2006] Indeed, Reynolds won reelection by only four percentage points despite representing a district that had been altered specifically to protect him.
October 4, 2006, Fordham, Reynolds's Chief of Staff, resigned after newspapers reported that he had asked ABC Newsnot to report the text of the sexually explicit instant messages. ABC reported that Fordham had offered to give them an exclusive on the resignation if they withheld the text of the IMs. Fordham had previously served as Foley's Chief of Staff. [ [http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/top_gop_staffer.html Top GOP Staffer Forced Out for Role in Page Scandal] , "The Blotter"] Fordham told "The Associated Press" that he had warned Hastert's staff about Foley in 2003. [ [http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/10/04/D8KI176G1.html Aide says he reported Foley 2 years ago] ] Hastert's spokesman replied, "What Kirk Fordham said never happened." [cite news| url=http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2527764&page=1 |accessdate=2006-10-04| date= 2006-10-04| title= Hastert Was Warned About Foley Two Years Ago, GOP Aide Says |publisher=ABC News] [cite news| title=Early Warning on Foley Cited by Former Aide |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/05/washington/05hastert.html?ex=1317700800&en=7392e18bb0c89264&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss |publisher=New York Times |date= 2006-10-05| accessdate=2006-10-06]
It has been reported that prior to the public scandal, Reynolds, together with
Karl Rove, urged Foley to run for reelection in 2006, despite Foley's reluctance. [cite news |url=http://www.tnr.com/blog/theplank?pid=47854 | publisher= The New Republic| date= 2006-10-12|accessdate=2006-10-12|title=How Rove twisted Foley's arm]
Shimkus said "that in late-2005 he learned--through information passed along by Alexander's office--about an e-mail exchange in which Foley asked about the youngster's well-being after
Hurricane Katrinaand requested a photograph." Shimkus advised Foley not to contact the boy again, and Foley assured him he would not. Shimkus did not share the information with Reps. Kildee or Capito, the other members of the Page Board.
Shimkus later described Foley as a "slimeball," and regretted not pressing further. Unlike Reynolds, he had little difficulty winning reelection.
Boehner told "The Washington Post" that he learned of the inappropriate contact in the spring. Boehner initially said that he informed Hastert, and that Hastert assured him "we're taking care of it." After Hastert denied knowledge of this conversation, Boehner retracted, saying that he could not recall it. On
October 3, Boehner once again recanted, this time telling a radio interviewer "I believe I talked to the Speaker and he told me it had been taken care of." [cite news|url=http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/news_theswamp/2006/10/top_congressman.html |publisher=chicagotribune.com |title=The Swamp: Top congressman defends Hastert
House Ethics Committee
September 29, 2006, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi(D-CA) offered a resolution to direct the House Ethics Committee to create a subcommittee to investigate Foley and the Republican leadership. Boehner moved to immediately refer Pelosi's resolution to the Ethics Committee without further debate and the House unanimously agreed. [cite news|url=http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/30/foley.quits/index.html|title= GOP House leaders call for criminal investigation of Foley|publisher=CNN|date= September 30, 2006| accessdate = 2006-10-02] [cite news|publisher= Congressional Record| url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?r109:./temp/~r109cmXp8a |title=Privileged resolution requiring investigation of knowledge of offenses of representative Mark Foley]
October 5, 2006, the House Ethics Committee met and established a subcommittee to investigate the page sex scandal. [cite news|publisher= ABC News| url=http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2531925 |title=House Ethics Panel to Subpoena Documents] The House subcommittee members are Reps. Doc Hastings(R-WA), Howard Berman(D-CA), Judy Biggert(R-IL), and Stephanie Tubbs Jones(D-OH). The subcommittee has already sent subpoenas and has appointed Louis Freehas a special advisor. The committee opened an expansive investigation into the unfolding scandal on 5 October 2006by approving nearly four dozen subpoenas for witnesses and documents. [cite news | url=http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2533106 | title=House Opens Page Sex Scandal Inquiry | publisher=The Associated Press | first=Larry | last=Margasak | coauthor=David Espo | date= October 5, 2006| accessdate=2006-10-06]
The Ethics Committee has no power over Foley, who is no longer a member of Congress. As a result, its chairman has said it will focus on the "conduct of House members, officers and staff related to information concerning improper conduct involving members and current and former pages". [cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/05/AR2006100500626_pf.html | title=Inquiry To Look At House, Not Foley |first=Charles|last=Babington|publisher=Washington Post|date=
December 8, 2006, the committee reported the investigation's conclusion, finding Hastert and other Republican leaders negligent, but not in violation of any House rules. The panel did not recommend any sanctions for their failure to stop Foley. The investigation validated Trandahl's and Fordham's reports and concluded that Hastert's chief of staff first learned of Foley's conduct in 2002 or 2003, and that Hastert's chief counsel had been aware of concerns for nearly a decade.cite news |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/09/washington/09foley.html |title=Report Finds Negligence in Foley Case |work=New York Times |date= 2006-12-09|accessdate=2006-12-09 |last=Zeleny |first=Jeff]
October 1, 2006in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Hastert requested an investigation into Foley's actions, specifically into the explicit IMs that had recently surfaced. Hastert's letter also requested investigation of persons who knew or had possession of these messages but did not report them to the appropriate authorities. That day, the FBI stated that it was assessing whether any federal laws had been violated.Susan Davis, [http://www.rollcall.com/issues/1_1/breakingnews/15264-1.html?CMP=OTC-RSS "Hastert Calls on Justice Department to Investigate Foley"] , "Roll Call", October 1, 2006]
The Justice Department sent a letter on
October 4to the counsel for the House of Representatives, ordering the body to "preserve all records" that might relate to the scandal. An order such as this is usually soon followed with search warrants and subpoenas. [cite news|url=http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/10/04/D8KHVLBG1.html|title=Federal Probe Intensifies Over E-Mails|first=Andrew|last=Taylor|publisher=Associated Press|Date= 2006-10-04|accessdate=2006-10-04]
July 21, 2006, the director of the organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington(CREW) received copies of the e-mails from one of her staff members, who had received it two days earlier. On that day, CREW turned over the e-mails to the FBI; however, the FBI found insufficient grounds to open a criminal investigation. After the scandal broke, CREW criticized the FBI's lack of action. An anonymous source in the FBI told the "Washington Post" that CREW was their original source for the e-mails but had provided only heavily redacted copies, even after a request for complete copies, and would not identify their source. The FBI source also alleged that CREW had held the emails since April before turning them over. However, the department spokesman would not comment on the record. CREW's executive director, Melanie Sloan, replied that they had provided unedited e-mails to the FBI, and that her original e-mails to the FBI proved that. She formally requested that the Justice Department's Inspector General investigate the FBI's assertions.cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/05/AR2006100501657.html |title=Watchdog Group Disputes FBI's Claims on E-Mails |publisher=Washington Post |date= 2006-10-06|accessdate=2006-10-07]
The resulting Inspector General's report concluded that 1) CREW had received the emails in July and turned them over to the FBI within two days; 2) the FBI's decision not to pursue charges against Foley based on the initial emails did not constitute misconduct; but 3) the FBI probably should have referred the case to the House Page Board or other authorities based on what they received.cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/22/AR2007012200633.html|publisher=Washington Post|title=FBI Faulted in Foley Investigation, Report Finds|first=Dan|last=Eggen|date=
Mark Foley's actions were almost universally condemned. The actions and inactions of Hastert and other members of the Republican House leadership were widely condemned by Democrats and some Republicans. On
September 29, 2006, Rep. Pelosi (D-CA) criticized Republican leaders, who, she said, "have known of the egregious behavior of Congressman Mark Foley, yet were prepared to adjourn [Congress] tonight without an Ethics Committee investigation." DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuelnoted that Alexander had first gone to Reynolds, who was in charge of political operations, and said, "That's to protect a member [of Congress] , not to protect a child." When Foley's sexually explicit instant messages became public, a few members of the Republican Party condemned his actions. They voted unanimously with House Democrats to refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee for investigation. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastertalso demanded a criminal investigation by writing the Attorney General asking for a full investigation both into Foley's actions and into the possibility that earlier clues were not properly acted upon by Congressional officials, representatives, the media, and the FBI. [cite news|url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-10-01-foley-gop_x.htm?POE=NEWISVA|title=FBI looks at Foley's e-mails to teens|date= 2006-10-02|accessdate=2006-10-02|publisher=USA Today]
Some members of the gay community are voicing concerns over media coverage of the Mark Foley scandal, fearing that the scandal would serve as a link between homosexuality and
pederastysince Foley only pursued males, [cite news|url=http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/breaking_news/15671929.htm |publisher=Kansas City Star, reprinting South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper |date=2006-10-03 |accessdate=2006-10-08 |title=Gay community reacts with ambivalence to Foley's coming out] while others condemn the media's complicity in permitting Foley to remain closeted. [MICHELANGELO SIGNORILE, "Outing the media for their role in the Foley scandal: Lawmaker's deceit about sexuality went unreported" in "The Houston Chronicle" [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/4263558.html] ] Many Republican candidates have announced that they are either returning contributions from Foley's campaign or contributing any Foley money received in the last several years to charity. The NRCC, however, has opted to keep a $100,000 contribution made to it by Foley in July 2006, after the first, "overly friendly" e-mails had become known to House Republican leaders. [cite news|url=http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2518675| publisher=ABC News |title=Candidates Give Foley Contributions Away |date= 2006-10-02|accessdate=2006-10-05] Carl Forti, an NRCC spokesman, has said the campaign organization would gladly accept the $2.7 million campaign war chest that Foley controlled upon his resignation, should Foley choose to turn it over. cite news | publisher= The New York Times| date= October 2, 2006| url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/02/washington/02foley.html?ex=1317441600&en=05964d30032a0385&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss | title=Review of Messages Sent by Congressman Begins | author=Hulse, Carl and Zeleny, Jeff ] On October 5, 2006, the parents of the former page from Louisiana, who initially complained about the e-mails to Rep. Alexander, issued a public statement. They described their son's actions as courageous, and described him as a hero for reporting the emails. They supported Alexander, calling his conduct "beyond reproach". They complained about media harassment, and asked to be left alone, requesting respect for their privacy. [cite news|url=http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/10/05/page.statement/index.html |publisher=CNN |date= 2006-10-05|accessdate=2006-10-05 |title=Page's family: Leave our 'hero' son alone]
Post-scandal polls and commentary
A "Time" poll reported that two-thirds of those aware of the scandal believe that the Republican leadership in Congress attempted a cover-up.cite news|url=http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1543199,00.htm|title=TIME Poll: The Foley Sex Scandal Has Hurt G.O.P. Election Prospects |publisher=TIME |date=
October 5, 2006|accessdate=2006-10-05] According to FOX News, an internal Republican poll conducted in the wake of the scandal shows potentially disastrous election results for Congressional Republicans if Hastert remains as Speaker of the House.cite news|url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,218043,00.html|title=Internal Poll Suggests Hastert Could Devastate GOP|publisher=FOX News|date= October 5, 2006|accessdate=2006-10-05] The unnamed Republican source is quoted as saying "The data suggests Americans have bailed on the speaker, and the difference could be between a 20-seat loss and 50-seat loss." For Democrats to regain control of the House, they had to post a net gain of 15 seats in the 2006 midterm elections.
National Review", a conservative magazine, called the scandal helpful for Democrats campaigning to regain control of one or both houses of Congress, and said it could have a greater impact than the Jack Abramoff scandals since "a GOP pederastyscandal" is thought to resonate more strongly with the public than one involving the purchase of favors.cite news|url=http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NTk4MzdjMTQ2OWFhY2I3OGUwZmU2NzY1MDhkODMyY2Q= |publisher=National Review|title=Foley Fallout|date= 2006-10-01|accessdate=2006-10-02|firstname=John J.|lastname=Miller]
October 3, the " Washington Times" called for Hastert's resignation as Speaker over his handling of the scandal. Other prominent conservatives have called for Hastert's resignation, such as David Bossie, president of Citizens United; conservative columnist Richard Viguerie; and conservative columnist Michael Reagan, a son of former President Ronald Reagan. [cite news|url=http://www.washingtontimes.com/upi/20061002-043456-4895r.htm |title=Hastert denies knowing about Foley IMs|date= 2006-10-02|accessdate=2006-10-04|publisher=Washington Times]
A Pew Research Center poll released on
October 5indicated no significant change in registered voters' party support; before and after the scandal broke, Democrats had 51 percent support in the upcoming congressional elections, while Republicans had 38 percent support. [cite news| publisher=Washingtonpost |title="Republicans fear election day scandal fallout" |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/05/AR2006100501126.html | date= 2006-10-05|accessdate=2006-10-06] In later polls, however, Republicans hemorrhaged support; a " USA Today"/Gallup survey published October 10showed Democrats enjoying a 23-point advantage over Republicans, with an 11-point gain for Democrats, and a 12-point loss for Republicans, since a poll released on September 17.cite news | url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-10-09-poll_x.htm | publisher= USA Today| title=Poll: Dems gain big lead | date= October 10 2006| first=Jill | last=Lawrence]
October 5, 2006public opinion poll found that 27% of American thought Hastert should remain Speaker, with 43% thinking he should resign from Congress entirely. [cite web| url=http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReportPopup.aspx?g=fc8a6007-bbbb-4405-811e-ee99a1673e92&q=32258 |title=Public Opinion Poll |publisher = Survey USA|date= 2006-10-05|accessdate=2006-10-06 |format=html ]
October 6, political scientist and analyst Stuart Rothenbergwrote that the scandal may have helped to "set the stage for a blowout of cosmic proportions next month" in the November elections.cite web |url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/10/a_true_blowout_is_now_possible.html |title=A True Blowout Is Now Possible |accessdate=October 7|accessyear=2006 |last=Rothenberg |first=Stuart |authorlink=Stuart Rothenberg |date= October 6, 2006|year=2006 |month=October |format=html |work=The Rothenberg Political Report |publisher=Real Clear Politics |language=English ] University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, on October 5, wrote that "the congressional page scandal [had] joined leaked reports of poor progress in Iraq and Bob Woodward's to deliver Bush and Republicans their worst, most catastrophic week of 2006."cite web | url=http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/article.php?id=DNW2006100501 |title=OCTOBER SURPRISE! (And a Leadership Demise?) |accessdate=2006-10-07 |last=Sabato |first=Larry |authorlink=Larry Sabato |coauthors=David Wasserman |date= October 5, 2006|year=2006 |month=October |format=html |work=Sabato's Crystal Ball |publisher=The University of VirginiaCenter for Politics | language=English]
Effect in Foley's district
In Florida, State Representative
Joe Negronwas picked to fill Foley's spot in the November elections. The Democratic nominee for the seat was Tim Mahoney. Florida law prohibited Foley's name from being removed from the ballot at the time of his withdrawal from the race, but Republicans hoped that voters would recognize that a vote for Foley would transfer to Negron as a substitute candidate. [cite news|url=http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/10/02/foley.quits/|title=Report: Foley allegedly tried to meet page|date= 2006-10-02|accessdate=2006-10-02|publisher=CNN] Nevertheless, Boehner noted that because of the procedures in Florida, "to vote for this candidate, you have to vote for Mark Foley. How many people are going to hold their nose to do that?" [cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/02/AR2006100201463.html | title=After Foley, New Fears For the GOP: Some Say Party Could Lose House and Senate | authors=Dan Balz and Jim VandeHei | date= October 3, 2006| page=A01 | publisher= Washington Post] Negron used the slogan, "Punch Foley for Joe," having the double meaning of officially voting for Foley in order to really elect Negron as well as evoking images of physically striking the offending member of Congress. Foley's Republican-held seat was regarded as unlikely to change hands before the scandal broke, but "CQPolitics" changed its rating of the race from "Safe Republican" – where it had stood since July – to "Leans Democratic" in early-October. [Rachel Kapochunas, [http://www.cqpolitics.com/2006/10/democrat_mahoney_has_the_edge.html "Democrat Mahoney Has the Edge in Race for Seat Foley Vacated"] , CQPolitics.com, October 3, 2006] On Election Day, Mahoney won the seat.
Effect in Reynolds's district
Reynolds, the head of the NRCC, who knew of some Foley e-mails before the scandal became public, released an ad apologizing to his constituents.cite news|publisher=The Hill Newsletter|title=Reynolds won't stump for Sherwood |url=http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/101106/sherwood.html|date=
2006-10-11| accessdate=2006-10-12] He was thought to have a safe seat. Shortly before the scandal broke, a SurveyUSA poll found Reynolds' Democratic challenger Jack Davis unexpectedly trailing by only two percentage points (43%-45%), [http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReportPopup.aspx?g=039e2dd3-c5b7-4f9c-9ec3-b1e211f1f5b7&q=31713] a statistical tie. A subsequent SurveyUSA poll taken a week after the first poll show Davis now leading 50-45, [http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReportPopup.aspx?g=87fac115-8aab-4717-a1af-ac0880f063b5&q=32047] outside of either poll's margin of error. A Zogby telephone poll conducted on October 4-5, after the scandal had been in the news for a week, found Reynolds trailing 33-48. [http://buffalonews.com/editorial/20061008/1033841.asp] Nevertheless, Reynolds won the race.
Effect on other congressional races
Within a week of the scandal breaking, five candidates ran campaign ads in reaction to the scandal. Democratic House candidates
Patty Wetterlingin Minnesota's 6th District, Mary Jo Kilroyin Ohio's 15th, Maxine Moulin Nebraska's 1st district, and Baron Hillin Indiana's 9th came out with ads connecting their opponents to the Republican leadership and, by association, Mark Foley.cite news|title=Hill ad tries to tie Sodrel to the Foley scandal |publisher=Indiana Courier-Journal|url=http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061010/NEWS02/61010002/1025|date= 2006-10-10|accessdate=2006-10-12]
October 2, 2006, Representative Ray LaHood(R-IL) called for the page program to be temporarily suspended. He stated that "this is a flawed program. The fact that a member of Congress is sending e-mails to a page and that he can get away with it (shows that) obviously there are problems." Two more Representatives, Jon Porter(R-NV) and Kay Granger(R-TX) also supported LaHood's recommendation to suspend the page program until an outside team could evaluate its security protocol. Hastert announced on October 5, 2006that he was launching an investigation to evaluate and make improvements to the page program. [cite news| url=http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1542874,00.html |title=Time to Close the Book on Washington Pages? |publisher= Time Magazine|date= October 5 2006|accessdate=2006-10-08]
Foley, as chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, is an expert on law concerning sex with minors. His pursuit of young former pages, in many cases, carefully avoided illegality.cite news|publisher=Fox News|title=Lis On Law: Jumping through Legal Loopholes?|url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,221740,00.html|date=
2006-10-17|accessdate=2006-10-17] cite news|url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/fbi_yet_to_find.html|publisher=ABC News|title=The Blotter: FBI Yet to Find Evidence of Foley-Page Sexual Contact|author=Brian Ross|date= 2006-10-18|accessdate=2006-10-19]
Age of consent
In the United States, 18 years of age is the age of majority (anyone below that age is considered a minor). However, the
age of consentfor sexual relations can differ from the age of majority, being dictated by statutory rape laws, and varies by state (it is 16 in the District of Columbia). cite news |url=http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm |title=Worldwide Ages of Consent |publisher=Avert.org |date= 2006-10-08|accessdate=2006-10-08]
The email that first came to light was sent to a 16-year-old former page in Louisiana, where the age of consent is 17. cite news|url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,218478,00.html|title=Foley Could Face State Charges |publisher=FoxNews.com |date=
2006-10-07|accessdate=2006-10-07] However, the age of consent is relevant only in cases where there has been physical, sexual contact. cite news |url=http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/4237337.html |title=Explicit Net messages aren't a federal crime|publisher=Houston Chronicle/AP|date= 2006-10-05|accessdate=2006-10-08] Foley has not been accused of any such contact with this youth, and has specifically denied sexual contact with any minor through his lawyer. On another occasion he offered a narrower denial of "inappropriate sexual contact with a minor".cite news |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/03/us/03foley.html?_r=1&ei=5094&en=e2e0c2ba5b921fdf&hp=&ex=1159934400&partner=homepage&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin |title = Pressure Grows for Republicans Over Foley Scandal | publisher = New York Times|date= 2006-10-02|accessdate=2006-10-10]
The minimum age for House pages is 16.cite news|title=Legal Case Against Foley Could Be Tricky to Build |url=http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-legal5oct05,0,2690471.story |publisher=
Los Angeles Times|date= 2006-10-08|accessdate=2006-10-08] Two former pages have told news organizations that Foley arranged sexual liaisons with them but only after they turned 18 and 21 respectively. On October 19, anonymous law enforcement sources said that FBI interviews with at least 40 former pages involved in the case had not found evidence of sex crimes violations by Mark Foley. The FBI identified a pattern where Foley began courting the pages at age 16 or 17 but waited until they turned 18 to have sex.
In the state of Florida the age of consent on the internet is 21. If Foley broke the law in Florida, and is convicted, he would be a
sex offender, although the Constitutionality of such a law is probably in dispute in light of issues dealing with interstate commerce and the challenge in having one age of consent law for sex and another one for the Internet. Yet, no formal charges have been filed against him, as of Fall 2007
exual communications with minors
Legislation that Mark Foley helped enact, the
Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, covers certain Internet communications with children under 18. Federal law makes it a crime to solicit sex with a child below the age of consent. However, federal law does not prohibit an individual from engaging in explicit, sexual communications with a minor "per se".
Some state laws criminalize certain communications with minors, even in the absence of physical sexual contact. In Florida, which Foley represented in Congress, the age of consent is 18 and attempts to seduce a minor are illegal. Louisiana makes it a felony to have sexually explicit communications over the Internet with anyone under 17. California has a law against sending sexually suggestive communications to anyone under 18.
The initially publicized explicit IMs were made with two pages or former pages beginning when they were 16 or 17, and continuing until after their 18th birthdays.cite news |url=http://www.newsok.com/article/2951710 |title=Istook aide to cooperate with inquiry |publisher=The Oklahoman Newspaper |date=
2006-10-06|accessdate=2006-10-08] One of the pages told the FBI that his contacts with Foley led to two meetings, including a dinner in San Diego in October 2002, when the page was 17. After dinner, the page said, Foley invited him back to his hotel room and "touched his leg," but nothing untoward happened beyond that in a 20 minute visit.
In one instant message conversation, Foley appears to invite a minor to his house to consume alcohol. It is unknown if this ever happened, but it is a crime to provide alcohol to a person under the legal drinking age. In the District of Columbia, the law states that "anyone who purchases or furnishes alcohol to a [person below the drinking age] faces a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 180 days."cite news |url=http://www.lowefamily.org/communities/dc.htm |title=Legal Consequences: Washington, DC |publisher=Lowe Family Foundation |accessdate=2006-10-08] In addition, an individual under the age of 21 is prohibited in the District of Columbia from consuming alcoholic beverages.cite news |url=http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/cwp/view,a,1240,q,547858,mpdcNav_GID,1552,mpdcNav,%7C.asp |publisher=District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department |title=Drunk Driving Prevention |accessdate=2006-10-08]
United States House election, 2006
1983 Congressional page sex scandal
* [http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/print?id=2509586 Text of some IM exchanges between Foley and page] Provided by ABC News. (Warning: sexually explicit language, reader discretion is advised.)
* [http://www.citizensforethics.org/filelibrary/FoleyEmailExchangeUpdated.pdf Email complaint from 16-year-old page] , sent to Congressman Rodney Alexander's office, August 30, 2005. Provided by
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
* [http://abcnews.go.com/images/WNT/ross_roth_statement_foley.pdf Statement of David Roth (Mark Foley's attorney)] ,
October 5, 2006Provided by ABC News.
* [http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/special/s0701/final.pdf A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Initial Response to Representative Mark Foley’s E-mails to a Former Page] by the Office of the Inspector General, January 2007
* [http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/special/election06/2006/10/foley_scandal.html Foley scandal] discussed on the
* [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116096396056693467.html?mod=politics_secondary_stories_hs How a Blogger Put Himself in the Middle Of Mark Foley Story]
* [http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/01/foley200701?printable=true¤tPage=all "Vanity Fair" article on the scandal] (in the magazine's January 2007 issue)
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