Friday, September 29, 2006

Rep. Mark Foley Resigns Over Sexually Explict Emails

***UPDATE 10/4/2006: For my most recent coverage, see Foleygate Reloaded - Original Posting Follows***
Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) planned to resign today, hours after ABC questioned him about sexually explicit internet messages with current and former Congressional pages under the age of 18.

A spokesman for Foley, the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, said the congressman submitted his resignation in a letter late this afternoon to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

Hours earlier, ABC News had read excerpts of instant messages provided by former pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.
Conduct unbecoming anyone, let alone a member of Congress who also happened to be the chair of the caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. HT: Anonymous emailer.

Earlier reporting about Foley's emails did not make any references to email of a sexually explicit nature, which is why the earlier reporting didn't catch my attention. This particular report certainly puts those email communications in a different light between Foley and the various pages. The fact that these emails were made by the Congressman more than amply justify his resignation. This isn't about the politics. It's about doing the decent and right thing. I hope that this matter is fully investigated, and if warranted, Foley should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Others blogging: Hot Air, Sister Toldjah, and Stop the ACLU.

Mark Levin questions the timing of this news. Apparently some of these emails were done more than a year ago, and Levin thinks that this news was released to coincide with the political election cycle to maximize the possibility that Democrats pick up a seat in a tough election. He also wonders how some Democrats, like Barney Frank, were able to evade having to resign over their own sex-themed scandals.

Yes, politics will rear its ugly head regardless of which side of the aisle violated the law. The political scientist in me wonders how long it will take before Democrats add this to their culture of corruption campaign ads. None of that is an excuse for Foley's actions.

Well, it seems that the very laws that he championed in fighting online predators and pedophiles will be put to use on Foley. ABC News is saying that some of the messages are quite explicit and talk of simulating sexual acts. Disgusting doesn't quite cover it.

Brian Ross says that after he was asked about the innocous messages that he began getting messages from other pages including those involving the explicit language.

Dennis Hastert says that he's launching an investigation on the conduct of Congressmembers and staffers.

Others blogging: Dan Riehl, White Collar Crime Blog, Balloon Juice, The Moderate Voice, The Heretik, Lashawn Barber, Outside the Beltway, Pundit Guy, and Think Progress.

This article in SFGate seriously undermines Levin's argument that this issue was politically timed. The article states that the GOP leadership were made aware of problems nearly a year ago, but did nothing to investigate or otherwise follow up on the matter. Shame on them.

Florida Masochist is in shock, as his family knows Foley's family. He wonders whether the GOP can find a replacement for Foley on the ballot (aka the New Jersey gambit). It is certainly unexpected to learn that your congressman, who happens to be the chair of the caucus on missing and exploited children, has been engaging in sexually explicit conversations with minors online.

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred takes a couple of the Leftist websites to task for their commentary on Foley's actions, when they were silent over various Democrats who engaged in similarily serious misconduct.

Others blogging: Ms Underestimated, Gay Patriot, Lorie Byrd, Ace of Spades, Crooks and Liars, and memeorandum continues to track the situation.

Will Foley's name be kept on the ballot, and any votes cast in his name will go to his replacement? According to Florida law, that should be what happens.
If the name of the new nominee is submitted after the certification of results of the preceding primary election, however, the ballots shall not be changed and the former party nominee's name will appear on the ballot. Any ballots cast for the former party nominee w ill be counted for the person designated by the political party to replace the former party nominee. If there is no opposition to the party nominee, the person designated by the political party to replace the former party nominee will be elected to office at the general election."
Hugh Hewitt thinks that the GOP could end up winning the seat regardless of Foley's situation, and proffers the name of George P. Bush. Or Dan Marino. Or Shaq. I think that's wishful thinking, but the state GOP really needs to think long and hard about who they can get to run in Foley's stead.

UPDATE 10/1/2006:
For those visiting this site via Google searches and other search engines, the most current news on the Foley situation is here. And yes, the situation has gotten worse for Foley, and for the GOP leadership.

UPDATE 10/4/2006:
For my most recent coverage, see Foleygate Reloaded, Foleygate, The Foley Scandal Grows, and Has Foley Scandal Gotten Worse?.

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