Now I know that much of this information, and more, has already been reported through both Kos and the liberal and progressive blogsites. And I'm sure I've left out a lot of information from this post. This is just the highlights of the information coming out for the past five days.
So let's continue down into the fold.
On September 29, 2006, Foley resigns. What is more interesting is that we learn of even more details regarding explicit instant messages that Foley sent to the page. Later that day, ABC News published the IM exchange between Foley and the page. Here is a PDF file of the IM exchange between Foley and the page. Both Americablog and Raw Story has the Foley emails published.
It was also about this time that the first allegations of a GOP cover-up on the Foley scandal started surfacing. An Associated Press story in the San Francisco Chronicle revealed a number of details here. First, the page worked for Rep. Rodney Alexander. Alexander said that he learned of email exchanges 10 or 11 months ago and informed the parents. The parents didn't want to pursue the matter, so Alexander dropped it. Alexander also informed NRCC chairman Rep. Thomas Reynolds of the matter.
Also in the SF Chronicle article, Chairman of the Page Board, Rep. John Shimkus interviewed Foley, but determined that there were no indiscretions. Shimkus learned of the Foley emails in late 2005. House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office did not know of these allegations.
On September 30, 2006, the crap hit the fan. The Washington Post reported that House Majority Leader John Boehner learned of Foley's email contacts last spring. Boehner then told the WaPost that he informed Hastert of Foley's allegations. Boehner then contacted the Post and said he couldn't remember when he told Hastert about Foley. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi demanded an investigation into the matter, but Boehner cut her off, saying that the Foley matter should be referred to the ethics committee. Roll Call then reported a story where NRCC chairman Rep. Tom Reynolds claimed that he informed Hastert of Foley in February of 2006. Alexander then said that he learned of the Foley allegations through a reporter. All of this boils down to this damning paragraph in a Roll Call story:
At least four Republican House Members, one senior GOP aide and a former top officer of the House were aware of the allegations about Foley that prompted the initial reporting regarding his e-mail contacts with a 16-year-old House page. They include: Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) and Reps. Rodney Alexander (R-La.) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.), as well as a senior aide to Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and former Clerk of the House Jeff Trandahl.
In addition, the Roll Call story also reported that Rep. Dale Kildee, the lone Democrat on the Page Board, was never told of Foley.
We also start to learn of the supposedly staff incompetence in Hastert's office. Hastert's office released a statement where Alexander's chief of staff told Hastert staff member Tim Kennedy about the Foley matter. Kennedy then brought this matter up with his supervisor, Mike Stokke, Speaker Hastert's Deputy Chief of Staff. Hastert's staff talked with Alexander's staff about Foley, after which Shimkus' staff is brought into the matter. Hastert was never informed of Foley by his staff. In other words, Hastert's statement is nothing more than a game of musical staff chairs.
And how about another game of musical staff chairs? According to Americablog, It appears that Tom Reynolds' chief of staff is Kirk Fordham, a former chief of staff and campaign director for Mike Foley. And it appears that Fordham went back to Foley to advise him of the scandal. Remember, Alexander first told Reynolds of Foley back in late 2005.
The cover-up starts unraveling apart. Reynolds released a statement saying that he told Hastert about Foley, just after Alexander informed Reynolds. Hastert's statement doesn't deny that Reynolds informed the speaker of Foley, but rather that Hastert "does not explicitly recall this conversation, he has no reason to dispute Congressman Reynolds' recollection that he reported to him on the problem and its resolution."
The New York Times then reported that the young kids involved in the page program were told to stay away from Mark Foley. Even more, the Times reported that other pages have come forward with blatant IMs from Foley.
Sunday October 1, 2006. It is a disaster. According to the New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 -- Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children's issues, Republican lawmakers said Saturday.
Among those who became aware earlier this year of the fall 2005 communications between Mr. Foley and the 16-year-old page, who worked for Representative Rodney Alexander, Republican of Louisiana, were Representative John A. Boehner, the majority leader, and Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Mr. Reynolds said in a statement Saturday that he had also personally raised the issue with Speaker J. Dennis Hastert.
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers said Saturday that Congress and the public deserved a full report on Mr. Foley's dealings with the pages, who are high school students who serve as runners and perform other duties. The lawmakers said there should also be an inquiry into the leadership's knowledge of his activities and its response.
"Anyone who was involved in the chain of information should come forward and tell when they were told, what they were told and what they did with the information when they got it," said Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York. Mr. King called it a "dark day" for Congress and said, "We need a full investigation."
Representative Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut, said any leader who had been aware of Mr. Foley's behavior and failed to take action should step down. "If they knew or should have known the extent of this problem, they should not serve in leadership," Mr. Shays said.
ABC News reported that the GOP staff had actually warned pages about Foley back in 2001. And what is more, it appeared that the warning went out to Republican pages--not to the Democratic pages.
The New York Daily News reported that Foley gave $100,000 to the National Republican Campaign Committee, whose chairman is Tom Reynolds.
Then there is this from The New York Times:
At the Justice Department, an official said that no investigation was under way but that the agency had "real interest" in examining the circumstances to see if any crimes were committed.
Then there is this blockbuster from The Washington Post:
With his statement, Reynolds, who is locked in a difficult reelection campaign, signaled he was unwilling to take the fall alone amid partisan attacks that were becoming increasingly vituperative.
Republican insiders said Reynolds spoke out because he was angry that Hastert appeared willing to let him take the blame for the party leadership's silence.
In other words, Reynolds and Hastert were having a major fight as to who was to take the blame for the Foley cover-up. With Reynolds in a tight election race, Reynolds is certainly not willing to commit political suicide for Hastert. The top Republican leadership starts to turn on each other.
October 2nd, 2006. The feeding frenzy in this scandal continues as the GOP desperately tries to spin Foley away. White House Counselor Dan Bartlett continued pushing the GOP spin by praising the "very aggressive" House leadership on the Foley scandal and claims that the White House opposes an independent investigation of the issue. White House press secretary Tony Snow dismissed the Foley scandal as nothing "more than simply naughty e-mails."
And yet, while the Republicans continue their spinning here, more devastating details arise. It appears that Foley was a major fundraiser for the NRCC. According to the NY Times:
Mr. Foley, who served on the House Ways and Means Committee, was a prolific fund-raiser. His campaign account had a balance of $2.7 million at the end of August, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Carl Forti, the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Sunday that the committee would gladly accept Mr. Foley's money or part of it to devote to House races. Mr. Foley already gave $100,000 to the committee in July, campaign records show, as part of the party's Battleground Program, to which members are asked to contribute.
"The money is in the control of Mr. Foley," Mr. Forti said. "Whatever he decides to do with it is up to him."
House Speaker Dennis Hastert finally called upon the Justice Department to investigate Foley. But even with Hastert's call for an investigation, Hastert still downplays the entire Foley issue. In his letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Hastert writes:
"As I am sure you are aware, there are two different and distinct communications at issue here. First, Mr. Foley sent an email to a former page of Representative Alexander in the fall of 2005. This email was determined to be "over friendly" by Representative Alexander's office but was not sexual in nature. Second, based on media reports, there is a different set of communications which were sexually explicit instant messages which Mr. Foley reportedly sent another former page or pages. These communications, of which no one in the House Leadership was aware to my knowledge, reportedly were sent sometime in 2003.
The GOP spin continues.
But the scandal continues on. Now information is coming out that Foley's office may have tried to cut a deal with ABC to not publish to Foley story:
On Friday afternoon, a strategist for Rep. Mark Foley tried to cut a deal with ABC's Brian Ross.
The correspondent, who had dozens of instant messages that Foley sent to teenage House pages, had asked to interview the Florida Republican. Foley's former chief of staff said the congressman was quitting and that Ross could have that information exclusively if he agreed not to publish the raw, sexually explicit messages.
"I said we're not making any deals," Ross recalls. He says the Internet made the story possible, because on Thursday he posted a story on his ABC Web page, the Blotter, after obtaining one milder e-mail that Foley had sent a 16-year-old page, asking for a picture. Within two hours, former pages had e-mailed Ross and provided the salacious messages. The only question then, says Ross, was "whether this could be authenticated."
Americablog confirms that it was Kirk Forham who tried to cut the deal with Ross.
Finally, there is this ABC News story reporting that Foley actually sought a rendevous with the page:
In addition to explicit sexual language, former Congressman Mark Foley's Internet messages also include repeated efforts to get the underage recipient to rendezvous with him at night.
"I would drive a few miles for a hot stud like you," Foley said in one message obtained by ABC News.
The FBI says it has opened a "preliminary investigation" of Foley's e-mails. Federal law enforcement officials say attempts by Foley to meet in person could constitute the necessary evidence for a federal charge of "soliciting for sex" with a minor on the Internet.
In another message, Foley, using the screen name Maf54, appears to describe having been together with the teen in San Diego.
Maf54: I miss you lots since san diego.
Teen: ya I cant wait til dc
Teen: did you pick a night for dinner
Maf54: not yet...but likely Friday
Teen: ok...ill plan for Friday then
Maf54: that will be fun
The messages also show the teen is, at times, uncomfortable with Foley's aggressive approach.
Maf54: I want to see you
Teen: Like I said not til feb...then we will go to dinner
Maf54: and then what happens
Teen: we eat...we drink...who knows...hang out...late into the night
Teen: I dunno
Maf54: dunno what
Teen: hmmm I have the feeling that you are fishing here...im not sure what I would be comfortable with...well see
Foley resigned Friday after ABC News questioned him about the Internet messages.
This is the timeline of the Foley scandal that I can construct using a number of internet sources. This is certainly not a complete timeline--there has been so much information, speculation and analysis of this scandal over the past five days. But it is certainly a start here. Big hat tips to Americablog, Think Progress, and Crooks and Liars for links and background information on this posting.
And if you have some information on the Foley scandal that you would like to include here, please post it in the comments with links to the original source stories or your own diaries. Perhaps we can create our own information clearing house that we could all use in our future postings on this issue. Because it will not go away for the next month.Update I: It appears the Chicago Tribune is reporting more suggestive emails from Foley:
WASHINGTON -- A former House page said Sunday that in 2003 he saw sexually suggestive e-mails that Rep. Mark Foley had sent to another former page. Patrick McDonald, 21, now a senior at Ohio State University, said he eventually learned of "three or four" pages from his 2001-2002 class who were sent such messages. McDonald said he remembered saying at a 2003 page reunion, "If this gets out, it will destroy him." Former page Matthew Loraditch said Sunday he has known for years about the "creepy" messages three 2002 classmates received from the then-Florida representative. He said Foley sent them after the boys had finished the House program. Each began innocuously but took a turn in tone, said Loraditch, a senior at Towson University.If I find more information, I'll continue adding to this post. Update II: The Washington Post is now reporting that the FBI knew about Foley's emails since July:
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. Officials from the liberal-leaning group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said yesterday that they received copies of the Louisiana e-mails on July 21 and turned them over to the FBI the same day. Melanie Sloan, the group's executive director, said she spoke with a special agent in the Washington field office, and she questioned yesterday why the FBI did not investigate Foley weeks ago. An FBI official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said the field office concluded that the e-mails "did not rise to the level of criminal activity." The bureau announced Sunday that it would begin a preliminary investigation into Foley's more explicit electronic exchanges with teenagers.Hat tip to Scout Finch for bringing up this story. Update III: The Washington Times is now calling for House Speaker Dennis Hastert to resign his speakership position--and not his house seat (Hat tip to Meteor Blades on this one).