OCTOBER 02, 2006
Former Representative Mark Foley checked himself into a rehabilitation treatment facility for alcoholism today. Foley, who served as co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus, has been accused of sexually explicit communications with an underage congressional page.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert called for an investigation of Foley by the Department of Justice “to determine to what extent any of his actions violated federal law,” in a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Hastert’s call for an investigation follows the discovery last week of sexually explicit emails from Foley to a House page. The emails were disclosed by a website dedicated to exposing sexual predators and the news was quickly circulated to media around the nation. Only then did Foley admit any wrongdoing and he submitted a letter of resignation on Friday.
What is most disturbing is that Foley’s illegal and repugnant actions have been official knowledge for over a year. The emails were reported to congressional officials in August 2005, according to United Press International. Obviously, it was fairly common knowledge that Foley acted in an extremely inappropriate and, possibly illegal, manner. How is it tolerable for any members of Congress to remain in office having prior knowledge of Foley’s behavior?
After the House page program nearly ended in the 1980’s due to drugs and sex scandals, it is frightening and disgusting that such behavior was allowed to continue again. The Department of Justice investigation should include “any and all individuals who may have been aware of this matter – be they members of Congress, employees of the House of Representatives or anyone outside Congress,” said Hastert.
Haster’s tough talk reeks of political posturing. Now that the media has gotten hold of the story, he is eager to investigate. But where was the Speaker a year ago, when he was first warned about Foley’s suspicious behavior? Hastert admitted he was told about “over-friendly” emails from Foley to a House page in the fall of 2005. Instead of referring them to authorities, however, Hastert passed them off to the House clerk, and nothing was done.
In a statement to the press, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “This is not the first time Members of Congress have engaged in predatory sexual behavior towards minors. And it won’t be the last, unless Foley is brought to justice, and any members of Congress who turned a blind eye to his actions are held accountable.”
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