Florida Rep’s emails to male page raise eyebrows

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)


  1. Randi

    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.

  2. Jonathan

    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.

  3. ebbtide


    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.

  4. Bill Jonke

    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.

  5. John

    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).

    – 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.

  6. cincigal

    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.

  7. Daniel

    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.


    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.

  9. Laura

    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….

  10. Lon

    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.

  11. PCtric

    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 ! ! !

  12. PatricC

    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…..