Looks like the Democrats just picked up a House seat:
Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) planned to resign today, hours after ABC questioned him about sexually explicit internet messages with current and former Congressional pages under the age of 18.
Hours earlier, ABC News had 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.
Hmm. Not exactly the kind of behavior one expects from the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. In the words of, um… Rep. Mark Foley:
“For too long our nation has tracked library books better than it has sex offenders. That day is coming to an end,”
It certainly is.
It is unclear whether Florida law allows the GOP to replace Foley on the ballot. In any case, Democratic challenger Tim Mahoney has been running a credible campaign in a district that tilts Republican, but not irreversibly. Thus I think you’d have to say that FL-16 has instantly shifted from a longshot, to a near certain Democratic pick-up.
“I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent,” Rep. Foley said in a statement.
Hmm. Well, if he really is “deeply sorry,” I’ve got a suggestion for how he can show it.
Rep. Foley is currently sitting on a $2.8 million war chest, much of it left over from a dashed US Senate bid. Typically, that money might go to the NRCC’s campaign coffers, to help elect other Republicans.
But if Rep. Foley really wants to show some contrition, he should donate it all to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
We all have personal failings of one sort or another. At least this way Rep. Foley might achieve some good out of his. So send him an email and encourage Rep. Foley to do the right thing. For the kids.
ABC News has released a transcript of Rep. Foley’s instant messaging log. Oh my. Shades of Jim West.
UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE:
It turns out that the Republican House leadership knew almost a year ago that Foley was having sex talk with underage pages, and yet they let him remain as chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.
The page worked for Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., who said Friday that when he learned of the e-mail exchanges 10 to 11 months ago, he called the teen’s parents. Alexander told the Ruston Daily Leader, “We also notified the House leadership that there might be a potential problem,” a reference to the House’s Republican leaders.
Um… when we talk about the lack of oversight in Congress, this is the type of shit we’re referring to. The GOP leadership has totally lost its compass.
UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE:
This has just become a HUGE scandal. Expect to see calls for Speaker Hastert’s resignation. This is inexcusable.