Republican Mark Foley, a former real estate broker who represents the Palm Beach Florida area tendered his resignation today in the wake of revelations that he had sent sexually suggestive emails to a young man who had once served as a teenaged page in the US Congress. A Roman Catholic, aged 53, Foley was a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the US House of Representatives; other luminaries on the committee include Democrats Charles Rangel of New York and Sander Levin of Michigan. Foley also served as the chairman of the Congressional Caucus Missing and Exploited children. In a statement released by his office, former Congressmen Foley said “I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent.” The two line resignation notice was read on the floor of the House, and also submitted to Governor Jeb Bush. Foley is unmarried.
Considered a shoo-in for re-election, Republicans are now hunting for a replacement candidate. Foley had won by 68% in his last election. Republicans may be facing a turnover of power to the Democrats this year – an eventuality that would have significant repercussions for President George W. Bush who is facing a low approval rating among Americans during the midst of a war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Democrats need to beat the Republicans in 15 Congressional races in order to win back control of the House, which they lost more than a decade ago.
It was another Republican legislator, Congressman Rodney Alexander of Louisiana who sounded the alarm at Republican Majority Leader Dennis Hastert’s office about his concerns over Foley. Foley’s campaign staff had acknowledged that Foley had emailed a teenaged boy page some five times but that nothing inappropriate had transpired. When Alexander found out about the exchange 11 months ago, he notified the boy’s parents as well as House leadership. Republican Leader Hastert has asked the chairman of the board administering the pages in the House to further investigate and ensure the safety of the boys and girls serving the House and Senate.
Foley sent emails and Instant Messages to current and former pages. In one missive, according to ABC News, he asked the page “Do I make you a little horny?’ In another, according to ABC, Foley said “You in your boxers too?...Well, strip down and get naked.” The emails