Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Foleygate Reloaded

Orin Kerr takes you through some of the legal issues that will shape the investigation of Rep. Mark Foley.

Some of my posters think that the whole notion that those who had access to the IMs but chose to sit on them since 2003 to wait for the opportune moment to use them in 2006 is nothing but pure unadulterated bunk have raised a good point. If you were going to use them to maximum effect, would they not have been used in 2004, during the Presidential elections, and not in the 2006 midterm elections.

That's a question that AJ Strata, Macranger, and Mark Levin, among others have not addressed. It's a good question. Why wait til 2006 to use them, if they were supposedly sent as early as 2003.

Yet, there are real good reasons to question the timing and the timeline, if only to determine the full timeline of events in the course of the investigation to determine if other individuals are culpable for criminal acts - acts of commission or omission.

The media continues to swirl around Hastert and the pressure on him to resign. I think CNN has it right that even if he doesn't resign that he's most likely not going to be voted back as the leader of the GOP caucus after the midterm elections.

Juneau Blog wonders whether anyone else had access to the computers and the IM account by Foley. That's a good question, and one that investigators will certainly need to look at.

Kerry Howley sums things up thusly:
For his part, Foley has been a one-man war on nuance: A vocal fan of broad databases, the first to yell sicko and cry pervert. In his own words, Foley is "never too tired" to jerk off. Nor was he too tired to use his position as chairman of the former chairman of the House Caucus on Missing Children to stretch the definitions of sex crime beyond all meaning—everything from running a nudist camps to child modeling was deemed perverse, hardly distinguishable from straight-up abuse. At a news conference in 2002, he explained that it was a mistake to distinguish between the internet and physical contact, saying " It doesn't make a difference if the child engaged in sex is real or virtual. In other words, an old simple saying: If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it is a duck."

No one seems to be making that mistake; thanks to a culture Foley helped create, he has been portrayed as an alcoholic pedophile/adulterer/cybermonster hybrid as guilty as any predator beyond cyberspace. If the laws he helped to write are hopelessly clumsy, the circumstances of his political end couldn't be more perfect.
As I noted yesterday, the whole idea that Foley could pawn off his current mess on the fact that he was supposedly molested as a teenager by a member of the clergy is just so much BS. I wasn't alone in that evaluation. Don Surber agrees and expounds on the subject further.

Sister Toldjah tries reading the tea leaves and wonders what would happen if President Bush pardoned Foley at some point before leaving office in a manner similar to that which President Clinton pardoned Mel Reynolds. Frankly, I can't see that happening, and his case doesn't even begin to rise to the level of one where the President can or should review the case for clemency. We're nowhere near that point, so this is just so much idle chatter.

Others blogging: Blue Crab Boulevard, Jay Tea at Wizbang, and Hot Air.

MSNBC has an article about the difficulties of pursuing a legal case against Foley, considering that thus far there are no reports that Foley ever met up with any of the pages for a sexual encounter:
Graphic talk alone is rarely enough, said Joseph Dooley, a former agent who helped set up New England’s first FBI unit targeting Internet predators. Many adults engage in explicit chats with undercover agents but never show up for the scheduled meetings, he said.

“We never charged anyone unless they actually traveled to have sex,” Dooley said.

Investigators could consider federal obscenity laws, experts said, but the law prohibiting disseminating obscene material to children applies only to those under 16.

Benjamin Vernia, a former federal prosecutor specializing in such cases, compared Foley’s online conversations with pages to “grooming,” a law enforcement term for the way sexual predators bring along their underage victims. Grooming is a red flag for authorities, Vernia said, but it’s rarely enough to bring charges.
This can help explain why the earlier FBI investigation led nowhere. Foley's actions to that point - in the form of the emails - was apparently insufficient to bring charges.

Glass houses and all that. Gateway Pundit rounds up the postings that suggest that Democrats actually knew about the IMs before Hastert did, and yet did nothing to inform the authorities of their existence. Via Clarice at American Thinker:
Dick Morris just said on FOX that a respected reporter told him that she has proof that a senior democrat member of congress knew about the IMs months ago–unlike Hastert.
If this is accurate (big if here), then there are Democrats on the Hill who have to be held accountable as well.

If we're going to throw Hastert et al. under the bus, there's plenty of room for Democrats who similarly violated their moral and ethical obligations to do the right thing by the Congressional pages.

Confederate Yankee has the transcript of the Hannity and Colmes exchange with Dick Morris. Very curious how this will play out.

Another resignation (via Michelle Malkin):
By Jake Tapper

Kirk Fordham, the chief of staff to Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-NY, has submitted his resignation to his boss. Questions have been raised about Fordham's role in how the House GOP leadership handled initial reports of the scandal involving former Rep Tom Foley, R-Fl, and inappropriate internet messages to underage pages.
Has the source of the instant messages been discovered? That appears to be the case as John of Stop the ACLU points to Passionate America's research into the matter with Ms. Underestimated. Jay at Stop the ACLU also points to what appears to be a Democrat effort to out gay Republicans, as if that is anyone's business. Who is compiling such a list and to what end? Is this what we want our politicians and their political consultants and pundits and hangers-on doing with their time?

Fordham now says that Hastert's office was warned two years ago about Foley's emails. Yet, there's word that Hastert himself was never made aware of anything more than the initial email requesting photos of a page. Shouldn't Hastert have known that his office was informed of the matter, or did his staffers not think this important enough?

Heh. Yes, the media's reporting of this whole mess is beginning to resemble entries in Playboy Letters. And it is interesting how there was reluctance to mention sexual acts or encounters in earlier sex scandals, but all caution has been thrown to the wind in this scandal.

Others blogging: Blue Crab Boulevard (yes, it does look like this scandal is jumping the shark - but to ever higher ratings), Hot Air, AJ Strata, The Real Ugly American (who takes time to bash Glenn Greenwald's latest posting on the matter).

Are you kidding me? This whole mess has gotten more bizarre at every turn. It now appears that the page at the heart of the matter was of the age of consent. Any instant messages between the two, even if cybersex, would be between consenting adults. No matter how scummy Foley was, ABC News now has a mess on their hands because they knew or had reason to know that the age of at least one of the individuals in the IMs was over 18 years of age.

Drudge is reporting that ABC News says that the individual in question, Jordan Edmund, was engaging in IMs with Foley both before and after he turned 18. And is there a bogus blog that has been pushing the whole Foley story? More here.

None of this takes away from the fact that Foley engaged in reprehensible conduct.

The investigations continue. People are questioning the alcoholism claim. Well, no kidding. It was pretty suspicious that he'd run to rehab as this whole scandal was breaking. Convenient excuse to get out of the limelight.

The age of consent in Washington, D.C. is 16.

Others blogging: Dan Riehl, Decision 08, and Euphoric Reality.

Prior coverage: Foleygate, The Foley Scandal Grows, Has Foley Scandal Gotten Worse?, Rep. Mark Foley Resigns Over Sexually Explicit Emails

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