News and opinions on situation in Haiti
Mark Foley – The US Congressman who insulted the Haitian majority by sponsoring a Congressional bill to honor the Gerald Latortue for his hatchet job as the unconstitutional Prime Minister in Haiti, and who sponsored HR611 which gives coup d’etat USAID more support in Haiti, has just RESIGN from Congress over “improper conduct” with a teenage boy!
Recommended HLLN Links on “the Foleys” and their repulsive actions in Haiti:
Read Prime Minister Yvon Neptune’s explosive and condemning August 23, 2004
Foley resigns from Congress over e-mails
By DAVID ESPO and JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writers 7 minutes ago
WASHINGTON – Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record), R-Fla., abruptly resigned from Congress on Friday in the wake of questions about e-mails he wrote a former teenage male page.
“I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent,” he said in a statement issued by his office.
Six hours after Foley’s resignation letter was read to the House by a clerk, the chairman of a panel that oversees the page program issued a one-page written statement that deflected any blame from House leaders.
The statement from Rep. John Shimkus (news, bio, voting record), R-Ill., said the House Page Board he chairs investigated the allegations late last year, but Foley “was not honest” when he denied any improper conduct with the teenager.
His departure sent Republicans scrambling for a replacement candidate less than six weeks before midterm elections in which Democrats are making a strong bid to gain control of the House.
Foley’s two-sentence statement gave no reason for Foley’s decision to abandon a flourishing career in Congress. But several officials said the resignation had been prompted by the e-mails, and he took his action as fresh details emerged about electronic messages he had sent.
Foley, 52, had been a shoo-in for a new term until the e-mail correspondence surfaced in recent days.
His resignation further complicates the political landscape for Republicans, who are fighting to retain control of Congress. Democrats need to win a net of 15 Republican seats to regain the power they lost in 1994.
Florida Republicans planned to meet as soon as Monday to name a replacement in Foley’s district, which President Bush won with 55 percent in 2004 and is now in play for November. Though Florida ballots have already been printed with Foley’s name and cannot be changed, any votes for Foley will count toward the party’s choice.
Campaign aides had previously acknowledged that the Republican congressman e-mailed the former Capitol page five times, but had said there was nothing inappropriate about the exchange. The page was 16 at the time of the e-mail correspondence.
Rep. Rodney Alexander (news, bio, voting record), R-La., who sponsored the page from his district, told reporters that he learned of the e-mails from a reporter some months ago and passed on the information to Rep. Thomas Reynolds (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y., chairman of the House Republican campaign organization.
Alexander said he did not pursue the matter further because “his parents said they didn’t want me to do anything.”
Carl Forti, a spokesman for the GOP campaign organization, said Reynolds learned from Alexander that the parents did not want to pursue the matter. Forti said, however, that the matter did go before the House Page Board ' the three lawmakers and two House officials who oversee the pages.
Shimkus, who avoided reporters for hours, worked out his statement with Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office. He said he promptly investigated what he thought were non-explicit message exchanges.
“It has become clear to me today, based on information I only now have learned, that Congressman Foley was not honest about his conduct,” Shimkus said.
Shimkus said that in late 2005 he learned ' through information passed along by Alexander’s office ' about an e-mail exchange in which Foley asked about the youngster’s well-being after Hurricane Katrina, and requested a photograph.
“Congressman Foley told the (House) clerk and me that he was simply acting as a mentor … and that nothing inappropriate had occurred,” Shimkus said.
Foley was ordered to cease all contact with the former page and assured Shimkus he would do so, the statement said. He also was advised to watch his conduct with current and former House pages, and gave assurance he would do so, Shimkus said.
He added there were no further complaints.
Hastert said Friday he had asked Shimkus to investigate the page system. “We want to make sure that all our pages are safe and the page system is safe,” Hastert said.
Pages are high school students who attend classes under congressional supervision and work as messengers.
He said Foley submitted the letter of resignation to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and submitted a copy to him. A House clerk read Foley’s resignation on the House floor.
“He’s done the right thing,” Hastert said. Asked if the chain of events was disturbing, he said, “None of us are very happy about it.”
ABC News reported Friday that Foley also engaged in a series of sexually explicit instant messages with current and former teenage male pages. In one message, ABC said, Foley wrote to one page: “Do I make you a little horny'”
In another message, Foley wrote, “You in your boxers, too' … Well, strip down and get relaxed.”
Foley, as chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus, had introduced legislation in July to protect children from exploitation by adults over the Internet. He also sponsored other legislation designed to protect minors from abuse and neglect.
“We track library books better than we do sexual predators,” Foley has said.
And he once accused the Supreme Court of “siding with pedophiles over children.”
Foley was a member of the Republican leadership, serving as a deputy whip. He also was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Foley, who represents an area around Palm Beach County, e-mailed the page in August 2005. Foley asked him how he was doing after Hurricane Katrina and what he wanted for his birthday. The congressman also asked the boy to send a photo of himself, according to excerpts of the e-mails that were originally released by ABC News.
Foley’s aides initially blamed Democratic rival Tim Mahoney and Democrats with attempting to smear the congressman before the election.
The e-mails were posted Friday on Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s Web site after ABC News reported their existence. The group asked the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to investigate the exchange Foley had with the boy.
Naomi Seligman, a spokeswoman for CREW, said the group also sent a letter to the FBI after the group received the e-mails. CREW did not post their copies of the e-mail until ABC News reported them, instead waiting for the investigation.
“The House of Representatives has an obligation to protect the teenagers who come to Congress to learn about the legislative process,” the group wrote, adding that the committee, “must investigate any allegation that a page has been subjected to sexual advances by members of the House.”
In 2003, Foley faced questions about his sexual orientation as he prepared to run for Sen. Bob Graham (news, bio, voting record)’s seat. At a news conference in May of that year, he said he would not comment on rumors he was gay. He later decided not to seek the Senate seat to care for his parents.
According to the CREW posting, the boy e-mailed a colleague in Alexander’s office about Foley’s e-mails, saying, “This freaked me out.” On the request for a photo, the boy repeated the word “sick” 13 times.
He said Foley asked for his e-mail when the boy gave him a thank you card. The boy also said Foley wrote that he e-mailed another page.
“he’s such a nice guy,” Foley wrote about the other boy. “acts much older than his age…and hes in really great shape…i am just finished riding my bike on a 25 mile journey now heading to the gym…whats school like for you this year'”
In other e-mails, Foley wrote, “I am back in Florida now…its nice here…been raining today…it sounds like you will have some fun over the next few weeks…how old are you now'” and “how are you weathering the hurricane…are you safe…send me an email pic of you as well.”
What the boy wrote to Foley, who is single, wasn’t available. The e-mails were sent from Foley’s personal account, which Foley spokesman Jason Kello says he uses to communicate with many people, including the governor.
Efforts to reach the boy were unsuccessful, but he told the St. Petersburg Times last November, “I thought it was very inappropriate. After the one about the picture, I decided to stop e-mailing him back.” The Times didn’t publish the comments until Friday.
Alexander said the boy notified a staffer in his office about the e-mails. The congressman said he learned of it from a reporter 10 or 11 months ago and promptly called the boy’s parents.
“My concern then was the young man’s interests and the parents’ interests,” Alexander said Friday. “We weren’t trying to protect anybody except the parents. … They told me they were comfortable with it and didn’t want to pursue anything, didn’t want to talk about it anymore.”
Florida Republican Party lawyers were reviewing the process to pick a replacement. Party Chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan said she hopes a replacement will be chosen by Monday. Among the possibilities was state Rep. Joe Negron, who was a candidate for attorney general before dropping out of the race to avoid a primary with former Rep. Bill McCollum.
“It would be very time sensitive so the nominee would have the opportunity to get around the district and campaign in a very short amount of time,” Jordan said.
David Johnson, a former state Republican chairman who worked as a strategist for Foley, said it will be difficult for the party’s pick to win with Foley’s name on the ballot.
Mahoney, a Republican who became a Democrat last year, is chairman and chief operating officer of a $1 billion-a-year financial services company. In his House bid, he has focused on Washington corruption and oversized deficits.
In a statement, Mahoney said, “The challenges facing congressman Foley make this is a difficult time for the people of the 16th district. The families of all of those involved are in our thoughts and prayers.”
In 1983, the House censured two lawmakers ' Daniel Crane of Illinois and Gerry Studds of Massachusetts ' for having improper relationships with pages.
Associated Press writers Brendan Farrington in Florida and Larry Margasak and Natasha Metzler in Washington contributed to this report.
Republican Rep. Foley Resigns, Drops Re-election Bid in Fla. 16
By Susan FerrechioFri
Six-term Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record), R-Fla., notified House leaders Friday that he is resigning from the House effective immediately ' a sudden and unexpected reaction to questions of impropriety that arose just days before.
'I was surprised,' Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said after being informed of Foley's decision. 'I didn't know what the situation was.'
Earlier this week, an ABC News online blog reported that a male former congressional page, aged 16, had complained about e-mail messages from Foley asking for the teen's photograph.
Hastert declined to speculate about what would happen now in Foley's 16th District as Republicans battle to maintain control of the House in a midterm election that offers Democrats their strongest shot in years at recapturing a majority.
'We'll see,' he said.
An early reading of Florida election law suggests GOP officials will be able to put a replacement candidate on the ballot, although Foley's name will likely remain as well. State Sen. Jeff Atwater has been mentioned as a possible replacement.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Foley, in a series of e-mails last year, asked about the youth's schooling, inquired what he wanted for an upcoming birthday and requested a picture.
ABCNews.com reported Thursday that the page became uncomfortable with the dialog and forwarded the e-mails to an associate on Capitol Hill. In an excerpt reported on ABCNews.com, the youth wrote: 'Maybe it is just me being paranoid, but seriously. This freaked me out.' The page later called the e-mails 'sick sick sick sick sick.'
'I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent,' Foley said in a statement after he submitted his resignation to Hastert.
Foley, 52, had been considered a shoo-in for re-election until news about the e-mails surfaced. His Democratic opponent, Tim Mahoney, jumped on the allegations soon after they surfaced in the blogs, demanding an investigation.
p>Foley has been one of the more visible figures in Congress, thanks to his approachable demeanor and his inclusion in Republican power circles. Whether the issue is taxes or trade, internal congressional political deals or Hollywood lobbying, Foley usually has a quotable comment. He also often knows how floor votes will fare as he is a top deputy in the Republican whip operation.
He once was considered a viable statewide candidate and in 2003, he mounted a campaign for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Bob Graham (news, bio, voting record). During the campaign, however, he felt he had to address rumors about his sexuality. 'I'm declaring today that I have a right to privacy, like anyone else in this country,' Foley told the St. Petersburg Times in May 2003. 'The fact that I'm not married has led many people to speculate, but I'm not going to be dragged into the gutter by these rumormongers.' He eventually backed out of the race nearly a year before the primary, saying that his father was ill with cancer.
On some social issues, Foley strays from the majority in his party. In July, he was one of 27 House Republicans voting against a leadership-backed proposed constitutional amendment (H J Res 88) banning same-sex marriage.
When he is questioned about his vote, he notes that he voted for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which permits states to refuse recognition of a same-sex marriage endorsed in other states.
A member of the Ways and Means Committee, Foley joined the Trade Subcommittee in the current Congress. He is not always supportive of Bush's trade proposals. He initially opposed but later voted for reviving fast-track trade procedures, a top Bush priority that became law in 2002.
Walt Disney Co. and Universal Studios are powerful economic players in Florida, and Foley's work on Capitol Hill included the chairmanship of the House Entertainment Caucus. As a leading GOP emissary to Hollywood, he has worked to build bridges between the industry and his party.
At the time of his resignation, he was co-chairman of the Missing and Exploited Childrens Caucus and of the Travel and Tourism Caucus.
Biographical Background Born into an Irish-Catholic family on the outskirts of Boston, Foley moved to Florida as a child and says he began his political career at age 5, distributing flyers for a local candidate. In 1975, he opened the Lettuce Patch restaurant with his mother and later became a real estate broker. He won a seat ' as a Democrat ' on the Lake Worth City Council two years later, at 23. After some failed bids to move up the political ladder and a President Reagan-prompted party switch to the GOP, his career began lurching forward with his election to the state House in 1990.
He moved to the state Senate two years later, where he chaired the Agriculture Committee, and just two years after that he was elected to Congress to succeed Republican Tom Lewis, who retired. Foley's image as a moderate generated some opposition from conservatives in the GOP primary, but his fundraising apparatus was impressive, and he won easily.
Foley's re-election contests have been uneventful, and the post-census redistricting improved GOP prospects in the 16th District.
Gregory L. Giroux and Rachel Kapochunas contributed to this story.
Copyright © 2006
Recommended HLLN Links on “the Foleys” and their repulsive actions in Haiti:
Read Prime Minister Yvon Neptune’s explosive and condemning August 23, 2004