Mark Foley Quits Congress After Propositioning Boy Pages

Mark Foley has resigned from Congress.

Saying he was “deeply sorry,” Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned from Congress today, hours after ABC News questioned him about sexually explicit internet messages with current and former congressional pages under the age of 18.

A spokesman for Foley, the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, said the congressman submitted his resignation in a letter late this afternoon to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

The emails weren’t sexually explicit but very, very weird.

While Foley obviously had to go after this, it also means one more seat being handed to the Democrats.

UPDATE: Steven Taylor notes that other Foley e-mails were more explicit.

And, no, the irony that he chaired the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children did not escape me.

UPDATE: ABC’s Brian Ross has some of the actual instant messages. I’ve posted them below the fold.

[A]ccording to several former congressional pages, the congressman used the Internet to engage in sexually explicit exchanges.

They say he used the screen name Maf54 on these messages provided to ABC News.

Maf54: You in your boxers, too?
Teen: Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late.
Maf54: Well, strip down and get relaxed.

Another message:

Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.

And this one:

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?
Teen: A little.
Maf54: Cool.

The language gets much more graphic, too graphic to be broadcast, and at one point the congressman appears to be describing Internet sex.

Federal authorities say such messages could result in Foley’s prosecution, under some of the same laws he helped to enact.

“Adds up to soliciting underage children for sex,” said Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and now an ABC News consultant. “And what it amounts to is serious both state and federal violations that could potentially get you a number of years.”

FILED UNDER: 2006 Election, Blogosphere, Congress, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    While Foley obviously had to go after this, it also means one more seat being handed to the Democrats.

    Yes. If the damn Democrats hadn’t dredged this pedophilia thing up we could have saved a seat. The traitors!

  2. Triumph: I don’t think that was James’ point.


    Another story on ABC’s The Blotter indicates that there were some IMs that had sexually explicit content. I linked to it here.

    The whole thing is bizarre.

  3. Anderson says:

    The Dems’ covert plan to steer hot young pages to Foley’s office is reprehensible.

    John Cole has great stuff on Foley’s courageous crusade against pedophilia, child porn, etc. I have inferred that “Protect Your Children from People Like Me!” didn’t go over well with his focus group, hence his resignation.

  4. H.R.5749Title: To amend title 18, United States Code, to protect youth from exploitation by adults using the Internet, and for other purposes.
    Sponsor: Rep Foley, Mark [FL-16] (introduced 7/10/2006)

  5. James Joyner says:

    Michael: Yep, just amazing. Maybe Foley was getting his fun in before the bill passed…

  6. Triumph says:

    Also disgusting is the fact that the Speaker of the House has known about this stuff for months and has done nothing.

    While pushing through bills to legalize torture and strip habeas corpus, Hastert was simultaneously covering up for a suspected sexual predator.

  7. Bithead says:

    There is something strange about the timing of this Foley resignation… something I can’t quite put my finger on.

    Certainly, there is something political in it. What specifically that might be however, eludes me at the moment. I simply don’t have enough to go on. But it does strike me as a little bit strange that so many people knew about this, and yet it never shows up in the rumor mills, until a couple of months before the mid-term elections.

    Consider closely the timing, and the path, here. The way this is going to ramp up is, that there’s going to be all kinds of screaming and hollering and carrying on for “who knew what when”, fingers pointing all the while at Republican leaders, and the election will be here before those questions are answered. Rather precise timing, for the release of that info, now, wouldn’t you say?

    Now, let me be clear… none of this should be construed to be in defense of Foley himself. I will neither attack nor defend him at this point… First, in my opinion such acts are unforgavable. But on the other hand, we simply don’t know enough about the chain of evidence in what we have before us, so as to make an educated judgement in the matter.

    However even assuming, just for the moment, that Foley is guilty of what the Democrats charge, the timing of the release of that information seems to me politically motivated. That’s particularly true when one considers the method by which it was passed along, by means of one of the rapid far left bloggers. One could easily question how is that that information ended up in this bloggers hands just now. And, should, I think.

    Given the actions of Democrats in past years, and given their level of desperation and losing the last several actions running, I don’t think it unfair to suggest the possibility that what we have here is at least partially an “October Surprise”.

  8. kackermann says:

    Bithead is right. The timing indicates more democratic dirty play. Just like that lady running for congress in Illinois whose thinks she can criticize the President about Iraq just because she lost a couple of legs there. That bitch probably did it on purpose! A Republican would not have crashed his chopper.

  9. allheavens says:

    Bithead and kackermann,

    Congressman Foley has been caught soliciting sex from a minor, he has resigned but the only outrage the two of you can muster is with the manner in which the story was broken.

    Is this what the GOP has come to? Forget that the Congressman has committed a crime, forget he is a “child predator” let’s just see how much “damage control” we can do, how much “spin” we can apply to the obvious truth in order to make the Dems look bad and save Foley’s seat in the upcoming election.

    Jeez, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  10. josh says:

    Okay let’s try and focus on what matters here. The boy was underage, Foley was one of the members working on legislation to protect children from pediphiles preying on children, Republican members on the committee responsible for the Page program let Foley continue even after being notified in September 2005, the only Democrat on the committee was kept in the dark.

    So now does the GOP stand for Grand OParty or Grand OPediphiles?

  11. Viewed from the other side of the Atlantic – and well outside the Beltway – what seems striking to me is that over here, a Member of Parliament, like any British subject, could legally have sex with a 16-year-old boy. Thus, for many Brits, someone behaving as Foley is alleged to have done might be accused of sexual harrassment, not to mention foolishness of the worst order, but hardly paedophilia. If anyone wants to read more about that, please go to my Times (of London) blog. Still, whatever one chooses to call it, it’s a remarkable story – and great timing that the allegations have surfaced just now.