Foley Resigns From Congress Over E-Mails
Friday, September 29, 2006; 5:45 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., resigned from Congress on Friday, effective immediately, in the wake of questions about e-mails he wrote a former teenage male page.
"I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent," he said in a statement issued by his office.
The two-sentence statement did not refer to the e-mails and gave no reason for Foley's abrupt decision to abandon a flourishing career in Congress.
Foley, 52, had been a shoo-in for a new term until the e-mail correspondence surfaced in recent days.
His resignation comes less than six weeks before the elections and further complicates the political landscape for Republicans, who are fighting to retain control of Congress. Democrats need to win a net of 15 Republican seats to regain the power they lost in 1994.
Florida Republicans planned to meet as soon as Monday to name a replacement in Foley's district, which President Bush won with 55 percent in 2004 and is now in play for November. Though Florida ballots have already been printed with Foley's name and cannot be changed, any votes for Foley will count toward the party's choice.
Campaign aides had previously acknowledged that the Republican congressman e-mailed the former Capitol page five times, but had said there was nothing inappropriate about the exchange. The page was 16 at the time of the e-mail correspondence.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert said he had asked the chairman of the House's page board, Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., to investigate the page system. "We want to make sure that all our pages are safe and the page system is safe," Hastert said.
He said Foley submitted the letter of resignation to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and submitted a copy to him. A House clerk read Foley's resignation on the House floor.
"He's done the right thing," Hastert said. Asked if the chain of events was disturbing, he said, "None of us are very happy about it."
Foley, who represents an area around Palm Beach County, e-mailed the page in August 2005. The page had worked for Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., and Foley asked him how he was doing after Hurricane Katrina and what he wanted for his birthday. The congressman also asked the boy to send a photo of himself, according to excerpts of the e-mails that were originally released by ABC News.
Foley's aides initially blamed Democratic rival Tim Mahoney and Democrats with attempting to smear the congressman before the election.