Mark Foley Congressional Page Incident
The Mark Foley scandal, which broke in late September 2006, centers on soliciting e-mails and sexually suggestive instant messages sent by Mark Foley, a Republican Congressman from Florida, to teenaged boys who had formerly served as congressional pages. Investigation was closed by the FDLE on September 19, 2008 citing insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges as both "Congress and Mr. Foley denied us access to critical data", said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. The scandal grew to encompass the response of Republican congressional leaders to previous complaints about Foley's contacts with the pages and inconsistencies in the leaders' public statements. There were also allegations that a second Republican Congressman, Jim Kolbe, had improper conduct with at least two youths, a 16-year old page and a recently graduated page.
The scandal led to Foley's resignation from Congress on September 29, 2006. In some quarters, the scandal is believed to have contributed to the Republican Party's loss of control over Congress in the November 7, 2006 election, as well as the end of House Speaker Dennis Hastert's leadership of the House Republicans. Kirk Fordham, chief of staff to Rep. Tom Reynolds and former chief of staff for Foley, also resigned as a result of the scandal.
Newsweek's June 7, 2010 issue's BACK STORY listed Foley, among others, as prominent conservative politician who had a record of anti-gay legislation and was later caught in a gay sex scandal.
The questionable conversations, which took place between 1995 and 2005, were investigated by the FBI for possible criminal violations. In September 2008, Florida officials investigating Foley decided not to charge him, citing a lack of evidence and the expiration of the statute of limitations. The House Ethics Committee investigated the response of the House Republican leadership and their staff to earlier warnings about Foley's conduct. In early October 2006, two news organizations anonymously quoted former pages who said that they had sexual liaisons with Foley after turning 18 and 21. Foley was chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, which introduced legislation targeting sexual predators and created stricter guidelines for tracking them.
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