Congressman Mark Foley
From today's Sun-Sentinel
U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fort Pierce, has come under fire for the appropriateness of e-mails exchanged with a 16-year-old congressional page.A Palm Beach Post article has a possible explanation.
In a series of e-mails between the six-term incumbent and the page last year, Foley asks about the teenager's schooling, an upcoming birthday and requests a picture.
" ... did you have fun at your conference ... what do you want for your birthday coming up ... what stuff do you like to do," Foley wrote in one e-mail obtained by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Another read: " ... are you safe ... send me a pic of you as well ... "
ABCNews.com reported Thursday that the 16-year-old page became uncomfortable with the dialog and forwarded the e-mails to an associate on Capitol Hill. In an excerpt reported on ABCNews.com, the page wrote: "Maybe it is just me being paranoid, but seriously. This freaked me out."
As of late Thursday, the of the U.S. House of Representatives had received no formal complaint against Foley, a spokeswoman said.
"This is the first we've heard of it," said Salley Collins, spokeswoman for the clerk.
Foley is seeking re-election in November. His campaign staff acknowledged the congressman sent the e-mails but said they were misconstrued. Campaign spokesman Jason Kello blamed Foley's District 16 opponent, Palm Beach Gardens businessman Tim Mahoney, for leaking the e-mails.
"The e-mails were written in response to a thank-you letter given to Congressman Foley from a former page," Kello wrote in a statement. "This is nothing more than a political attack and an attempt at the worst kind of character assassination."
Mahoney's campaign staff denied leaking the e-mails. They released a statement of their own: "The seriousness of these allegations goes far beyond the tit for tat of a political campaign. This is a matter for the appropriate authorities to investigate. I believe Mr. Foley deserves the benefit of the doubt until these allegations are proven to be true or false."
Mahoney, a Democrat running his first political campaign, earlier this month filed a defamation lawsuit against the Foley campaign for what he described as misleading television ads. A week later, Mahoney hosted a news conference in West Palm Beach to accuse Foley of improperly receiving homestead exemptions in both Florida and Washington, D.C. Foley denied the claim.
Foley's camp said the e-mails were yet another political stunt.
Foley used his personal e-mail account, Kello said, because that is what he normally uses when corresponding with people in a nonofficial capacity. He said Foley regularly asks young people interested in public service for their photograph and has files on former interns and others who have contacted the congressman.Full Disclosure- Before commenting I must tell that my wife has met the Congressman's parents but not Mark Foley himself. The Foleys were at one time parrishoners at the same Roman Catholic Church dear wife and I attend and where DW works as church receptionist.
Mark Foley is one of four congressman who serve some part of Palm Beach County. TFM does not live in Foley's district.
First Tim Mahoney. His campaign's denial sounds hollow to me. Mahoney may not have leaked the emails but I bet he knew about them.
As to Mahoney's lawsuit, I've blogged before about how politics has ended up in the courts and what I think of it when it does. It may be time for me to give Mahoney a knucklehead award just as I did with Irv Slosberg and Ted Deutsch.
The email snippets show at worst bad judgment by Foley but remember we haven't seen the full emails. Like with the recently leaked NIE, a document or email can have parts of it used to paint a picture or draw almost any conclusion someone wants. In other words, without the full email, I wouldn't be passing any judgment.
I must to be fair, point out there have been rumors of Mark Foley being gay. He has never been married. The congressman has denied it and nothing has ever been proven.
If this was a Democratic effort to paint the Congressman as gay, the party has once again shown itself as a party of hate. Minorities who diverge from the Democratic party position often find themselves the target of riddicule.
Foley's congressional district the Florida 16th was considered iffy for November.(One political prognosticator had the 16th 49th of his 50 congressional races to follow) Foley was expected to win, but Mahoney was making a spirited challenge. How this news will effect the race is unknown. It don't need saying, but TFM will follow this race closely.
Update- My friend Rick makes a valid point about my use of the word hate. I don't like using that word, and I will admit I shouldn't have used it before. That said, There are Democrats who have little tolerance for minorities who don't tow the liberal line. Some will try to smear them in any way available. Click here for the latest example. Michelle's opinions on some subjects come off as shrill to me and she isn't one to shy from controversy, but this latest episode is beyond me. The photos look questionable to me(I'm married to a Filipina. While they do age gracefully, I'd think Michelle would look different enough from a photo in 1992) but I've never dabbled in Photoshop nor am I a expert on photos.
Update and bump- Congressman Foley resigned from office. What a shock this is at the moment.
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., resigned from Congress on Friday, effective immediately, in the wake of questions about e-mails he wrote a former male page.People will speculate what made Foley resign. Is it really that important?
``I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent,'' he said in a statement issued by his office.
The two-sentence statement did not refer to the e-mails and gave no reason for Foley's decision to abruptly abandon a flourishing career in Congress.
Foley, 52, had been a shoo-in for a new term until the e-mail correspondence surfaced in recent days. His resignation comes less than six weeks before the elections. It was not clear how Republicans would fill his spot on the November ballot.
Now the question is, can the Republicans replace Foley on the ballot and who with? I jokingly asked my wife if she wanted to run but we don't live in the Florida 16th. Stay tuned, I'll probably have more to say on this tomorrow.
Another update- If a criminal investigation is needed, of course it should be done. Maybe that will clear Foley or maybe not. I'm trying to keep an open mind on this but why would the Congressman resign unless something was wrong?
Also blogging on this- Ace of Spades, A Blog for All, Gay Patriot, Wizbang Politics, Florida Cracker, Outside the Beltway, LaShawn Barber, Sister Toldjah, Stop the ACLU, Poliblog, Iowa Voice,
Linked to- Bright & Early, Cao's Blog, Outside theBeltway,