Foley announced Monday through his attorney that he had been battling alcoholism and had checked into an unidentified rehabilitation facility for treatment over the weekend. "I strongly believe that I am an alcoholic and have accepted the need for immediate treatment for alcoholism and other behavioral problems," Foley said in a statement released in Florida by his attorney, David Roth.
Foley, who had a pretty solid hold on his Palm Beach district despite a spirited opponent in Tim Mahoney, can be replaced as a candidate, but his name will have to remain on the ballot, according to Florida election law.
Foley's name is all but certain to remain on the ballot, although the votes would count toward his replacement.
Jeff Sadosky, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Florida, said the GOP still has an opportunity to keep the seat, given its past performance for Republicans. "The voters are there," Sadosky said. "It's a question of educating them and giving them a reason to vote."
The candidates for the seat are said to include state Rep. Joe Negron, who abandoned a run for Florida attorney general.
The meeting of the party executive board at an airport hotel is a closed-door session, but Republicans expect to rally around their choice at a press conference, Sadosky said.
There are plenty of Republican voters in that district, but it will be a tall order to inform all of them that they have a new option, but must cast a vote for Foley to elect him.
Dean Barnett thinks the fallout from the Foley case will be more bipartisan disgust than anger at Republicans.
Of course, that kind of anti-incumbent disgust necessarily works against Republicans, so we'll see.
The FBI announced last night that it is looking into whether former representative Mark Foley (R-Fla.) broke federal law by sending inappropriate e-mails and instant messages to teenage House pages.
The announcement came hours after House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert asked for a Justice Department investigation into not only Foley's actions but also Congress's handling of the matter once it learned of the contacts.
Everyone is reporting the rehab story but, oddly, the Post claims it can't confirm the rehab statement actually came from the Foley camp. Not sure what that's about.
Update: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is looking into this, too.
Update: I should add that there remains some question as to whether Foley's actions were illegal. Regardless of the legality, I'm glad he's gone. Back when Democrat Gerry Studds and Republican Dan Crane were cavorting with 17-year-old male and female pages, respectively, the fact that they got out of the situation with mere censure to their names is astounding to me. Both of those illicit relationships were allegedly consensual, and the pages in questions were of the age of consent. Studds turned his back on the House as it read his censure, and was reelected to his seat multiple times. Crane was tossed out of office by voters, as he should have been, after a tearful apology.
But "consensual" doesn't cut it, here. We're talking about teenagers being wooed by very powerful public figures-- in some cases the very men to whom they owe their sweet, resume-padding page gigs. This is not an appropriate position for grown men to put children in, regardless of whether they are technically of age. The pages' subordinance in age, position, stature, and experience make it four times as hard to stave off advances. To turn any of these sad incidents into "you can't help who you fall in love with" stories as Studds tried to is pathetic.
Update: Hastert turns "what did he know and when did he know it" back on whoever had those IMs. Unfortunately, that part of the story will be totally lost behind the sorta dubious storyline that the House Republicans were covering up for this guy despite only having heard of the more innocuous e-mail exchanges.
Figuring out where the IMs came from, who had them, and who held them until five weeks before an election will largely be an exercise for conservative bloggers and will be largely ignored by everyone else. I guess there's always the chance that a DOJ investigation could bring some interesting things to light, but that will likely be way too late to change the original "Hastert knew" storyline. I mean, how fast does the DOJ move on something like this?