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Florida Rep’s emails to male page raise eyebrows

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September 29, 2006

Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley exchanged personal emails with a 16-year-old former male page for a month, asking how old the young man was, if he wanted a photo, and requesting a photo.

Reports of the emails have rocked the House, bringing back memories of a scandal involving two members of Congress who had sex with two Congressional pages  in the 1980s.

While Foley denied doing anything improper, sources say the Capitol Hill Police department is now looking into the Congressman’s behavior.

In 1983, the House censured Illinois Republican Congressman Phil Crane and Garry Studds (D-Mass) after both admitted having sex with pages. Crane’s lover was female while Studds’ was male.  Crane, who cried on the floor of the House and asked his colleagues to forgive him, lost his re-election campaign the following year.

Studds, however, refused to admit any guilt and became the first member of the House to openly admit his homosexuality while saying he did nothing wrong. He served several more terms before retring.


Amie Parnes reports:

The re-election campaign of Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., angrily denied an online media report Thursday that questioned a series of personal e-mails the congressman sent to a 16-year-old former congressional page.

ABC News reported that Foley sent the male former page a series of e-mails from the congressman’s personal AOL account asking the teenager how old he was, what he wanted for his birthday and requesting a photo of him.

Concerned about the e-mails, the teenager forwarded them to a staffer on Capitol Hill, ABC reported. "Maybe it’s just me being paranoid but seriously," the former page was quoted by ABC as writing in an e-mail to the staffer. "This freaked me out."

As of late Thursday, the office of the clerk at the U.S. House of Representatives had received no formal complaint against the six-term congressman.

"This is the first we’ve heard of it," said Salley Collins, a House clerk spokeswoman.

Jason Kello, a Foley spokesman, acknowledged the congressman exchanged e-mails with the former page for about a month, but described the communication as "casual and nonchalant."

The e-mails began after the 16-year-old had completed the congressional page program in Washington and had returned to his hometown, Kello said.

Before leaving Washington, the page gave Foley a handwritten thank-you note that included his e-mail address, Kello said. Several weeks later, Foley e-mailed the former page and began the month-long exchange, Kello said.

"Glad your (sic) home safe and sound," Foley wrote in one e-mail. "We don’t go back into session until Sept 5…so it’s a nice long break…I am back in Florida now…it’s nice here…been raining today…it sounds like you will have some fun over the next few weeks…how old are you now?" In another e-mail, Foley wrote: "well do miss DC…It’s raining here but 68 degrees so who can argue…did you have fun at your conference…what do you want for your birthday coming up…what stuff do you like to do."

In a third e-mail, Foley wrote: "how are you weathering the hurricane…are you safe…send me an email pic of you as well…"

Kello said the congressman keeps resumes and pictures of people who want letters of recommendation or future jobs.

Asked whether the teenager had expressed interest in a job in Foley’s office, Kello said no.

Kello said the e-mail exchange between Foley and the congressional page was "purely innocent" and called it "a smear campaign" by Foley’s opponent in November’s election, businessman Tim Mahoney.

"It’s character assassination," Kello said. "The e-mails in question were a response to a handwritten thank-you letter from a former page.

"There have not been any allegations made by anyone except Tim Mahoney and the Democrats who are attempting to misrepresent a series of innocent communications to prop up a falling political campaign," Kello added.

In a statement, Mahoney’s campaign said, "the seriousness of these allegations goes far beyond the tit for tat of a political campaign."

"Tim Mahoney does not believe Congressman Foley’s sexual orientation, whatever it may be, should be an issue in this campaign," said Jessica Santillo, a spokesman for the Mahoney campaign. "However, the serious nature of the allegations in question should be reviewed by the appropriate authorities."

(Contact Amie Parnes at ParnesA(at)shns.com)

26 Responses to Florida Rep’s emails to male page raise eyebrows

  1. PatricC

    September 29, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    BreakingNEWS>>>FOLEY has DROPPED OUT, will NOT be seeking RE-election…mmmm, interesting as had proclaimed the email incident was much ado about nothing and all innocuous…..

  2. Duckbill

    September 29, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    If it’s all so innocent why did the congressman pull out of the race? Another republican pervert.

  3. PCtric

    September 29, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    LOL, yeah…another perversion to get swept away by out of sight and therefore proving we allow out mind…Like the one running for NY AG, who was contracting with Keric to secretly bug her husband who proclaimed that Fed prosecutors should stay OUT of peoples personal lives..” LOL, sure she was indignat over how all was attempted then against the Clintons who had their personal lives paraded and shredded and etc over private activities which involved marital discordence/etc….Yadda, yadda…sure thing and just MORE of DO AS THEY SAY NOT AS THEY DO for THEY know best and we are but to serve and obey no matter what it costs!!!
    Certainly NOT just Bush who resides forever in a state of DENIAL regarding so very, VERY much !!
    A PS’er regarding Foley…he is not JUST not seeking re-election, he HAS RESIGNED…uh-oh, another BIG OOPSIE ! ! !

  4. Lon

    September 29, 2006 at 10:39 pm

    ABC News has read excerpts of instant messages provided by former pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.

    Uh…thats not good.

  5. Laura

    September 29, 2006 at 10:48 pm

    The scumbag just resigned; I rest my case. Now I hope the feds go after him. Obviously, this guy is a perv, a pedophile, and yes, most likely another secret lover of GW’s – the closet queen prez.

    “V for Vendetta” – the movie was right: that’s what we need to happen in this country right now, a complete revolt against the corrupt powers.

    Fittingly, this happens on St. Michael’s feast day: the Patron Saint of Law Enforcement.

    I hope Foley burns in hell. Oh, and yes folks, I’m a mom….

  6. SIRSEAS

    September 29, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    i live in florida i’m not a republician and have no intensions of supporting them any of them but to all of this i have one thing to say.. get the ballot counters working better then worrying who is or isn’t running for whatever stupid reason and this is a giant of a dumber.

  7. Daniel

    September 29, 2006 at 11:04 pm

    I have a problem with your writing style, as your wording intentionally focuses the spotlight on republicans instead of democrats:

    “Republican Congressman Phil Crane and Garry Studds (D-Mass)” Most people read this and just skip the D-Mass, because it is in parentheses. This should have been written:
    Republican Congressman Phil Crane and Democratic Congressman Garry Studds.

    Please try to be somewhat fair in your views.

  8. cincigal

    September 29, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    The saddest and most insulting thing about this Republican controlled administration is that they all CLAIM to be born again christains.All my life I have personally knwn born again christains and believe me this crowd bears no resemblemce to the true born again christains.

  9. John

    September 29, 2006 at 11:35 pm

    Actually, it’s difficult to enjoy “V for Vendetta” while trying not to think about how our government is now torturing people, bugging people without warrants and, seemingly, buggering people as they see fit.

    Would you resign so quickly if there was “no fire” to be found? I think not.

    Now please tell me that the rumor of him being a secret lover of GW’s is just for spite….

    As a gay American -proud to be gay and ashamed of what my government is doing since GW and others swore to uphold, not violate the Constitution at will- I certainly don’t want the corrupt, bigoted President on my “team” (or this former Congressman for that matter).

    The solution is simple…. replace ALL, from both parties, up for re-election in November and let’s get “representative” government and democracy in America too (though it doesn’t seem to be working well in Iraq and Afghanistan).

    WHERE IS OUR:
    – Healthcare for ALL?
    – Our properly priced prescription drugs for ALL?
    – Our protection for ALL (I lost my sister 0n 9/11 while GW was watching in his limo BEFORE he went in to read “My Pet Goat” to the kids in his “photo op.” Andy Card whispering in his ear, was about the 2nd plane hitting- and he read on for 7 more minutes…)?
    – Our Emergency Response for ALL, including poor black Americans in New Orleans and the greater area?

    What else is the government NOT doing?
    – No Port Security/full cargo inspection
    – No Cargo inspections/security on airline flights
    – SO Many More, they cannot be listed here!

    Oh, yes… Where’s Osama?

    Let’s not forget that they ALL, in our government, work for us (not Exxon, the Pharmaceutical companies or the Tobacco companies) and maybe we need to replace them ALL.

  10. Robert P

    September 30, 2006 at 3:17 am

    rrk1 is as creepy as congressman Foley!!!!!!!!!!

  11. LOUIS WENNER

    September 30, 2006 at 3:29 am

    WHERE IS KEN STARR WHEN WE NEED HIM?

  12. Robert P

    September 30, 2006 at 3:32 am

    rrk1 is as creepy as congressman Foley!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Bill Jonke

    September 30, 2006 at 4:08 am

    The plot thickens. I can’t count how many times these scandals have unearthed themselves; they have the same predictable sets of circumstances, first the denial, evidence mounting against the perpetrator, and then the resignation.

    Lots of Republicans these days too!

    Funny, that.

  14. ebbtide

    September 30, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    WHATS WRONG WITH FLORIDA?

    Now there’d be an interesting book. Let’s see, it all started with Anita Bryant…ah, wait a second, that was too long ago…let’s just say that any state who’d permit Katherine Harris to represent a major political party has problems and leave it at that.

  15. Marina making pictures

    September 30, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    What an ugly scandal.
    I think all republicans will surely suffer from this scandal.

    Thank you for sharing this story with me !

  16. Jonathan

    October 4, 2006 at 3:28 am

    I don’t get it. We crucify this dirtbag (Foley) but give another dirtbag (Studds) a pass when he did the same thing. Wrong is wrong, no matter what your party. This stuff is bi-partisan. We democrats should not point fingers until all of the players are exposed. Crow doesn’t taste that good.

  17. Randi

    October 4, 2006 at 3:28 am

    I don’t get it. We crucify this dirtbag (Foley) but give another dirtbag (Studds) a pass when he did the same thing. Wrong is wrong, no matter what your party. This stuff is bi-partisan. We democrats should not point fingers until all of the players are exposed. Crow doesn’t taste that good.

  18. Bill Jonke

    September 29, 2006 at 5:19 pm

    The teenager did the right thing on two main counts, regardless of what Foley did or didn’t do:

    1. He sent a thank you note after the stint was up. That’s more or less protocol. However, Foley was not obliged to answer the thank you note, nor was that appropriate, and that’s where the situation takes an odd turn.

    2. If the teenager “freaked out,” he had a perfect right to. There are others who wouldn’t have had the smarts, and they’ve gotten into serious emotional and psycological trouble as a result of going further in a situation such as this. This particular young man acted on his hunches and reported his concerns.

    What happens next is not the former page’s concern, and Congressman Foley should seriously re-think his way of communicating, if, in fact, this was merely innocent and nonchalant, as he claims it is.

    Sorry, folks, but Foley missed the mark, and he must live with it.

  19. Lyleblog

    September 29, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    Congressman; Do You Know Where The Children Are?

    If, upon review, it’s shown that Foley responded to ALL personal thank-you notes from pages/interns, over the years, that may validate his claims. If not, then he has more brass than the executive washroom at The Department of Homeland Security. (They are the ranking winners in the ‘Child-Hustleing Sweepstakes’ at the moment. As far as his aide’s comment, It is ALWAYS about politics. That is the name of the game and where the bruising comes from.

  20. Robert P

    September 29, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Congressman Foley is the only one who doesn’t think this is bizarre behavior. A 50 something year old man has no business writing “chatty” emails to a young person. This smoke will soon reveal a fire. I am sure that this story will bring others out who say that this freak has done this before. His website has all kinds of stuff on his fight against exploited children and child porn. Methinks you protest too louldy.

  21. john

    September 29, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    Foley, it’s rumored, is a former lover of our president.

  22. Laura

    September 29, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    What is a fifty-something year old man doing commenting that a 16 year old boy is in “great shape”?

    http://www.waynemadsenreport.com

    Foley should have the FBI kicking in his door.

  23. rrk1

    September 29, 2006 at 8:06 pm

    What is truly disgusting to me are the hysterical attitudes evidenced by the comments expressed here. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a 50ish man having a chat with a young person of either gender. I have no idea whether Foley has/had other intentions, but conversations with young people are not illegal. Nor is asking for a picture, at least not yet.

    Intergenerational contact has been demonized because of the underlying assumption that it leads to sex. This is nonsense. Young people need meaningful contact with caring, nurturing adults, but many people, especially teachers, shy away because of the paranoid hysteria that has been foisted on this country in the name of “keeping our children safe.” The kids themselves now see any contact with an older person as suspicious. What a beautiful brainwashing job, and what a sick country we are.

    Get serious and grow up.

  24. Bill Jonke

    September 29, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    Does Laura have a teen-aged son? I highly think not.

  25. Bill Jonke

    September 29, 2006 at 8:50 pm

    Correction:

    I do not believe that rrk1 has the teenaged son in my previous question.

  26. MSgalnCA

    September 29, 2006 at 9:15 pm

    As a teacher, I know that if I had exchanged emails of this nature with a student, it would be considered inappropriate and would be investigated. Have I exchanged emails with 16 year olds? Yes, but the content was always something like, “You didn’t turn in your essay, and I can’t give you a grade without it” or “I know that you have been ill. If you need your assignments, let me know.” What I would NEVER do, and what is suspicious in this case, is continuing to email a 16 year old about personal information who is out of your realm of responsibility and who hasn’t expressed the slightest intention of returning to that realm. This young man is one of hundreds of pages who have gone through the offices…so why is he receiving emails? rrk1 wants to believe the best of everyone, and that is a noble quest – but the truth is that there are predators among us, and being a Congressman doesn’t exclude one from being one.