Friday, September 29, 2006

florida congressman resigns over naughty emails to teenage boys

yesterday, a story surfaced about a 16-year-old congressional page who was concerned about emails he received from rep mark foley (R-FL). foley's campaign claimed the emails were totally innocent and foley was only guilty of being friendly. the boy thought the emails were creepy; the insinuation was that foley was trying to groom the boy for sex.

today, foley has resigned from congress:

Saying he was "deeply sorry," Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned from Congress today, hours after ABC News 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 male pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.

crazy stuff. tpm muckraker notes that foley's resignation virtually ensures that a democrat will now win his seat: even if the GOP finds a suitable replacement for foley, foley's name will be the one on the ballot.

update: abc news now has more, including a PDF of an (alleged) explicit chat between foley and a teenaged page. in the chat, foley and the page have a long discussion about preferred masturbation techniques, with foley repeatedly mentioning that he is "stiff". then foley notes that he'd love to grab the page's penis, before asking the page to "get a ruler and measure it for me". the page responds that "ive already told you that" before stating that it is "7 and 1/2" (presumably inches).

abc also notes:

In Congress, Rep. Foley (R-FL) was part of the Republican leadership and the chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children.

He crusaded for tough laws against those who used the Internet for sexual exploitation of children.

Federal authorities say such messages could result in Foley's prosecution, under some of the same laws he helped to enact.

"Adds up to soliciting underage children for sex," said Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and now an ABC News consultant. "And what it amounts to is serious both state and federal violations that could potentially get you a number of years."

furthermore, josh marshall and tpm muckraker point out that republican leadership (or at least the NRCC) has known about some of these allegations for 10 or 11 months and apparently did nothing about them.

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