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...
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.
In the series of e-mails, obtained by ABC News, from Rep. Foley (R-FL) to the former page, Foley asks the young man how old he is, what he wants for his birthday and requests a photo of him.
The concerned young man alerted congressional staffers to the e-mails. In one e-mail, the former page writes to a staffer, "Maybe it is just me being paranoid, but seriously. This freaked me out."
Foley's office acknowledges that Foley wrote the e-mails to the young man but says they were completely innocent and that Foley is at most guilty of being "too friendly and too engaging" with young people.
The e-mails were sent from Foley's personal AOL account, and the exchange began within weeks after the page finished his program on Capitol Hill. In one, Foley writes, "did you have fun at your conference…what do you want for your birthday coming up…what stuff do you like to do."
In another Foley writes, "how are you weathering the hurricane…are you safe…send me an email pic of you as well…"
The young man forwarded that e-mail to a congressional staffer saying it was "sick sick sick sick sick."
And, if that story weren't dirty enough, I'm gonna jump right into evaluating whether Republicans will be able to replace Foley on the ballot before November, but I'm gonna blame it on Chris Cizilla. It was his idea:
Oh, yeah. That's politics, folks. Likely a loser for the Republicans, and I can't say as I blame the electorate. If true, blech. And, the resignation sure makes it look like there's something to it.
Foley's departure is likely to create havoc for Republicans in the district. The biggest question is whether Republicans can replace Foley on the ballot. If not, Democratic candidate Tim Mahoney, who has been running a credible (if longshot) challenge to Foley, will see his chances immediately improve.
The district carries a Republican tilt -- President George W. Bush won it with 54 percent in 2004. But given the controversy and press attention likely to engulf Foley, this seat could well emerge as a late-breaking opportunity for Democrats.
Update: Um, Foley was the co-chair of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus.
Update: More dirty. Historical dirty. Congressional sex scandals in history.
Update: Oh, and John Hawkins found some dirty in Va. senate candidate James Webb's books. Click over, but be warned the language is graphic. And, yes, I am dropping all the dirty, political stories into this post, where I can get away with it. Thanks for asking.
Update: Ack! It's deviant sexual appetite day at Townhall! (Now, there's a sentence you won't read on this page very often.) Kos and David Gregory-- Hot-t-t-t-t. Don't worry. All links are safe.