Saturday, September 30, 2006


Another Proponent of "Family Values" Sinks

The Republicans have painted themselves into a corner with their constant harping on morality and family values, apparently. Representative Mark Foley has now fallen from grace over a series of inappropriate emails and instant messages between himself and minors. Kind of like the mayor of Spokane who hustled young men with promises of city jobs… Or, on a parallel track, the adventures of various fundamentalist preachers like Swaggert and Jim Bakker, the various priests that have caved in to the “sins of the flesh,” and on, ad nauseam.

The more people repress their urges and try to model themselves as paragons of righteousness and virtue, the more risky their balancing acts and the more chances of them falling from their seats of goodness...

Beyond the headlines, beyond newsprint
The Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau

Originally posted: September 30, 2006
Why did Foley keep child-protection job?
Posted by Frank James at 8:00 am CDT

One of the most troubling parts of the emerging scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley, the Florida Republican who sent sexually suggestive emails to teenaged congressional pages, is this: he chaired the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

Foley carved out a role for himself as a congressional leader on the issue of exploited children, and is credited with authoring important sections of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 which President Bush signed into law this summer.

He worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children whose website has pictures of him presenting awards to law enforcement officers and children who survived and or helped bring child predators to justice.

It would be a fascinating psychological study to try and understand how Foley could be both sending such emails to high schoolers while at the same time fighting against child predators. He is like the firefighter who turns out to also be an arsonist.

As yet no evidence has been produced publicly to indicate that Foley did anything more than have inappropriate Internet communications with minors. If such evidence does arise, then obviously the scandal becomes even more explosive.

Another difficult aspect of the story is how the House Republican leadership dealt with Foley. According to a story in the Washington Post, House Majority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) at the very least knew about Foley's "inappropriate contact" with a minor months ago:

"House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned this spring of inappropriate 'contact' between Foley and a 16-year-old page. Boehner said he then told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Boehner later contacted The Post and said he could not remember whether he talked to Hastert.

It was not immediately clear what actions Hastert took. His spokesman had said earlier that the speaker did not know of the sexually charged online exchanges between Foley and the boy."

So Boehner, at the very least, knew about the "inappropriate contact." And Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) who oversees the congressional pages as head of the Page Board, the group responsible for the teenagers who work essentially as gofers and doorholders for lawmakers, knew even earlier.

The Post report contained the following passage:

"Shimkus said in a statement last night, 'in late 2005, I was notified by the then Clerk of the House,' that Alexander had told the Clerk 'about an email exchange between Congressman Foley and a former House Page. I took immediate action to investigate...

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