Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sex, lies, and instant messages: an obligatory Foley post

Since this seems like it's going to be the dominant issue most talked about piece of crap between now and the election, I figure I better put in my two cents as well before people really start getting uppity about this mess and demanding people who really had nothing to do with the affair resign... oh, wait... too late...

What happened...

For those new to the story, here's how things went down. Mark Foley was a Republican Congressman from Florida and resigned on Friday amid a scandal about inappropriate emails and instant messages sent to an underage teenage boy who had served as his congressional page for some time.

What was said...

On the surface these emails sound prerty creepy, but what exactly was said?

Fall 2005 - [...] The e-mails include a request for the teen's picture. In another exchange, Foley purportedly asked the teen what he wanted for his birthday and "what stuff do you like to do?" And in another, the congressman is quoted as making comments about another former page, saying he "acts much older than his age" and "he's in really great shape."

Foley also allegedly asked how the boy was doing in the aftermath of Katrina being that the former page was from Louisiana. All this is really creepy, overly "friendly," but nothing illegal and some would say it should have definitely raised some eyebrows. Well, it looks as if it did.

The page's family contacted his local congressman and sponsor, Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-LA. He went to the Speaker of the House, Hastert, who took it to the House clerk. The clerk was never given the emails, but asked if they were sexual in nature. They weren't. The clerk referred the matter the the Chairman of the Page board, Rep. John Shimkus, R-Illinois who immediately insisted Foley stop all communication with the boy.

As of late last week, several newspapers across the country, including the Miami Herald have had these emails for months, but never moved on the story, because, since they weren't sexual in nature, there was really nothing to them. The "fake but accurate" newsroom mentality just doesn't carry as much weight as it used to I guess.

But a left-leaning, Soros funded, "watchdog group", Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington contacted the House Ethics Committee, demanded an investigation into Foley, and posted the emails on Friday of last week. The liberal group according to tonight's Hannity and Colmes also had the emails for "a while"but elected to wait until now (also seen at Hugh Hewitt). Foley promptly resigned, and you'd think that'd be it.

Later that same day, ABC reported details of sexually explicit instant messages between "teenage male pages" (not necessarily the same page who received the original emails)...

ABC News reports details of three exchanges of instant messages sent between teenage male pages and someone using the screen name Maf54, whom ABC identified as Foley. (The congressman's initials are M.A.F., and he was born in 1954.) In one of those exchanges, Maf54 advises the teen to "strip down." In another, when the teen says he's wearing a T-shirt and shorts, Maf54 replies, "Love to slip them off of you." And in a third, Maf54 asks, "Do I make you a little horny?"

That's definitely bad (text of IMs here. Warning: pdf), and the House votes to start an investigation.

As seems to be the case with these types of scandals, the big hubbub is about who knew what, when they knew it, and whether it was a coverup.

Personally, good riddance Foley... If it had just been the emails, I'd have said you're a pervert and shouldn't have been elected. Floridians please select a suitable replacement. But with the instant messages that were revealed on Friday, it could very well be criminal, and by all means, investigate and press charges against the sleazeball if appropriate.

But many are calling for Hastert's resignation which at this point makes no sense. He reported the emails appropriately last year. He DID NOT know about the instant messages until ABC reported them on Friday. There's no coverup, so why demand his resignation? The Congressman at fault has resigned as the information about his pederasaty has come to light. I think that would have been enough.

Read Hastert's interview on Hugh Hewitt's show to hear the Speaker's account. It closely resembles what I've reported here which is my take on CNN's timeline of events.

Conservatives also need to point out the Democrat's hypocricy here. See Mel Reynolds (had sex with a 16 year old girl, was convicted but had his sentence communted by Bill Clinton. Now a "Youth Counselor" for Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition), Barney Frank (had a male prostitution ring run out of his home by a prostitute Frank had "befriended" through a "personal advertisement"), or Gerry Studds (had sex with 17 year old male congressional page. Sex was consentual and 17 was legal age at the time).

The latest wrinkle to come to light is that Foley's former aide had spoken about the danger Foley posed for years, and nobody listened.

Kirk Fordham, who was Foley's top aide until January 2004, said he had "more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene" several years ago.

We'll have to see how much of that is true. In the mean time read Allah's take on Fordham's resignation.