FBI Knew About Foley

It turns out the FBI had the Foley emails in July and did nothing about them:

The FBI acknowledged yesterday that it did not begin an investigation in late July after receiving copies of e-mails sent in 2005 by then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) to a Louisiana teenager -- messages that troubled the boy's parents.

This really is turning out to be quite a ridiculous story. Almost everyone on Capitol Hill apparently knew that Foley had a habit of getting too touchy feely with the pages. The pages all talked about it openly, which undoubtedly got back to their sponsoring legislators. Several members of the House leadership knew about it and had even seen some of the emails. The emails they saw were nowhere near as disturbing as the instant messages that came out later, but at the very least it should have sent up some red flags and prompted an investigation.

But the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, the head of the committee on pages and the head of the National Republican Campaign Committee and the FBI all sat on their hands and did nothing. The most exercised any of them managed to get about it was to ask Foley what was going on and to believe him when he said it was all innocent. Now that's doing your duty. It's so bad that even prominent conservatives are calling for Hastert to step down, and Boehner, Reynolds and Shimkus ought to be right behind him.

And you want the icing on the cake? Kirk Fordham, Foley's former chief of staff, apparently knew all about it and actually accompanied Foley on outings with pages to provide cover for him and offered to bribe ABC News with an exclusive on Foley's resignation if they would just agree not to publish the lurid instant messages. Fordham is now chief of staff to Rep. Reynolds, who is the head of the NRCC to whom the initial report was given, and he did nothing about it. Fordham ought to be under investigation for aiding and abetting if Foley is charged with a crime.

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Slate has several pages of copies of Foley's IMs to an underage former page. I couldn't finish reading it. The TV networks have shown lots of people caught in stings trying to solicit sex from people they thought were underage. Maybe Foley didn't solicit sex, but what I read was far too close to the line for my comfort.

I imagine that Fordham is under investigation. He resigned yesterday and is squeeling like a pig in a slaughter house. Here are some remarks he made when he announced his resignation.

I'm not sure what the FBI should investigate.

The age of consent in relavent states is 16, and the law prohibiting solicitation of a minor (under 18) via the internet wasn't passed until very recently.

It seems like this is the place for the congress to act -- with public censoring, and letting Foley's constituents decide the final outcome.

Actually, I am pretty sure the AoC is 17 for Louisiana and 18 for Florida unless the other party is under 24. So, in two of the relevant states the minor was underage.

By MJ Memphis (not verified) on 05 Oct 2006 #permalink

It turns out the FBI had the Foley emails in July and did nothing about them... This really is turning out to be quite a ridiculous story. Almost everyone on Capitol Hill apparently knew that Foley had a habit of getting too touchy feely with the pages.

Everyone on Capitol Hill, you say? Well then the conclusion is clear: The democrats are to blame.

Hastert said he was confident the party's conservative base would come around to support Republican candidates on Election Day. "I think the base has to realize after awhile, who knew about it? Who knew what, when? When the base finds out who's feeding this monster, they're not going to be happy. The people who want to see this thing blow up are ABC News and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by George Soros," Hastert said.

The AOC for LA, DC, and federal grounds is 16. It is 18 for FL.

I've seen nothing that indicates that he had sex with anyone in FL -- but regardless, that would be the provence of the FL AG/DA, not the FBI.

Curses and drat! My devious plot to entice Manchurian Democrat Foley with nubile male pages, aided by my twin networks of ABC and homosexual sleeper-agents in the Republican party, has been foiled!

You may have won this round, Mr. Hastert, but, one day soon, you will taste the wrath of Soros!

[Twirls both moustache and cape, then disappears in a puff of smoke]

By George Soros (not verified) on 05 Oct 2006 #permalink

Oh no!!! It's George Soros!!!

Dan R: There are other laws that come into play if someone crosses state lines to have sex with a minor or induces a minor to cross state lines for same, and I am pretty sure that regardless of the age of consent in the origin and destination states the cutoff for those laws is 18. But since-- as you noted-- there are no indications so far any actual sex occurred, the important laws here are the ones that apply to the actual emails and IMs that we know did occur, the laws related to soliciting minors on the internet. Paradoxically, these might sometimes be stricter than the actual age of consent laws. However the circumstances of whether these laws apply (and which laws apply) are something which we can't really predict, and which may even be open to judicial interpretation at this point since some of these laws are so new. The thing is though that while this messiness may make it hard to secure a conviction against foley, it seems to virtually guarantee that they'll find something that they can charge him with.

DanR-
The exchanges themselves crossed state lines. It would then fall into the perview of the FBI - when any crime crosses state lines, they have the lead jurisdiction. Local law enforcement in the verious locations that crime was commited have some involvment in most cases, but it is at the discretion of the FBI. Ultimately, the whole point of the FBI is to take jurisdiction over federal crimes and crimes that cross state and to some extent, international, lines.

I don't know the federal standard, or what it was when most of these "incidents" happened, but in most states the age of consent for a minor is only under 18 if their partner is within a certain age range. In Michigan the age of consent is 16, but only if the older partner is within 5 years of age - i.e. 21 for a 16 year old, 22 for a 17 year old. I don't know of any state where it is legal for a 52 year old man to have sex or solicit sexual discussion with a 16 year old boy. I doubt that federal statute would allow it either.

Some orange-haired gel-coiffed Republican Congressman from Florida was on CNN this morning, interviewed by Soledad O'Brien.

He attempted to turn the lack of an FBI investigation into positive support for Hastert's failure to also act at that time: "Well, if even the FBI didn't do anything, than the information then available couldn't have been very damning, and therefore Hastert's failure to act was innocuous."

He also alluded to the magnitude of response to earlier incidents of bad behavior of Congressmen towards pages. O'Brien called him out on this: "So, you're saying that it is now a part of the Republican strategy to bring up previous bad acts towards pages?" As I recall, he had no substantive response to that.

She also asked him why the "speedy" Congressional ethics investigation wasn't planning to release any results until after the election. She asked whether it was an intentional political tactic to prevent ugly facts from being revealed until after the election. His only response was, "We are in favor of a full, speedy, accurate investigation". I was hoping that she had the gumption to say, "You didn't answer my question."

By PhysioProf (not verified) on 06 Oct 2006 #permalink