The House Leadership Handled The Foley Situation Correctly In 2005
Given the proximity of the election, it’s not surprising that the Republican House Leadership has been smeared for how they handled the Mark Foley situation, but it is unfair.
Let’s delve into this a bit.
Back in 2005, the House Leadership is alerted that Mark Foley has written some “overly friendly” emails to a page, that the page’s parents want the emails to stop, and that they don’t want to take this any further.
Now, are these emails a little creepy, inappropriate, “overly friendly,” for a Congressman to be sending to a 16 year old page? Yes. But, let’s talk about what these emails aren’t: they’re not sexually explicit or illegal and Foley didn’t attempt to set up a meeting.
So, what action do you take if you find out about these emails? Do you refer them to Capitol Hill Police? Why would you? No crime had been committed.
Do you refer them to the ethics committee? Why would you? The emails aren’t an ethics breach.
So, what ended up happening?
“(T)he Chairman of the House Page Board and the then Clerk of the House confronted Mr. Foley, demanded he cease all contact with the former page as his parents had requested, and believed they had privately resolved the situation as the parents had requested.”
That seems like a totally appropriate way to handle it given the non-sexual nature of the emails and the fact that the parents didn’t want it taken any further?
But, what about the sexual instant messages Foley sent to a page? The House Leadership learned about them not in 2005, but last week, just like everyone else, and they reacted appropriately to them:
“Unlike the first communication, the second communication was a set of instant messages that contained sexually explicit statements and were reportedly generated three years ago. Last week, ABC News first reported these sexually explicit instant messages which led to Representative Foley’s resignation. These sexually explicit communications warrant a criminal referral in two respects. Initially, since the communications involve interstate communications, there should be a complete investigation and prosecution of any federal laws that have been violated. In addition, since the communications appear to have existed for three years, there should be an investigation into the extent there are persons who knew or had possession of these messages but did not report them to the appropriate authorities. It is important to know who may have had the communications and why they were not given to prosecutors before now.
Therefore, I also request that the Department undertake an investigation into who had specific knowledge of the content of any sexually explicit communications between Mr. Foley and any former or current House pages and what actions such individuals took, if any, to provide them to law enforcement. I request that the scope of your investigation include any and all individuals who may have been aware of this matter-be they Members of Congress, employees of the House of Representatives, or anyone outside the Congress.”
So, did the House Leadership handle this issue correctly back in 2005? Yes, they did. Are they handling it right today? Yes, they are.
PS #1: Obviously someone has known about those explicit instant messages for quite a while and timed their release for maximum impact — and of course, that would have to be a liberal group. So, who’s really looking out for the teenage pages? The House Leadership which called for a criminal investigation the moment they found out about them or the liberals who kept those messages private for months in order to play political games with them?
PS #2: The St. Petersburg Times had the same emails that the Republican Leadership did back in 2005. They found them to be so innocuous that they didn’t even bother to run a story on them. That’s rather significant. If even liberal journalists are looking at these emails and saying, “there’s nothing there,” that tells you a lot.