The last time there was a story of this nature was in 1983. At that time, there was actual sex that took place. The two congressmen were Dan Crane (Republican, Illinois) and Gerry Studds (Democrat, Massachusetts). Rep Crane had sex with a seventeen-year-old female page, and Rep. Studds had sex with a seventeen-year-old male page. Newt Gingrich demanded that the two be expelled from congress. The house voted on July 20, 1983 to censure both men. Crane's constituency voted him out of office in 1984. Studds' more liberal constituency re elected him to his post, and there he remained until he retired in 1996.
As I was researching that bit of information, I found that there have been a lot of sex scandals involving members of congress. Although there were only two cases of pages being used as sexual playthings, I was amazed to discover how many other congressmen had problems keeping their zippers up. For those who would like to see the list, here is the link I followed, which is also the source for the information contained above.
I need to say a few things before I get into the meat of my article. First, I am not one to cast aspersions on people's sex lives. What someone does in the privacy of whatever private place they can find is their own business. Goddess knows I have had more than my fair share of some pretty raucous sexual misadventures. I don't necessarily want the world to know the full depth of some of them, but I'd never deny them if I was called on the carpet. Being a homosexual, I can understand the kind of hell "coming out" can bring upon a person.
However, using under-aged individuals as sexual playthings is revolting to me! Even though Rep. Foley only sent "explicit" emails to the objects of his attentions, and reportedly did not have physical sexual contact with his victims, it's still wrong. It's even worse when one considers that he was co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus. Here is a man who is supposed to be the champion of missing and exploited kids, and he's right in there with Chester the Molester getting his jollies over sixteen year old boys.
That's not the worst of it. There have been allegations that House Speaker Dennis Hastert knew of the dirty deeds months ago. Beyond that, according to another story on the subject, the first time Rep Foley's actions were noted in late 2005. At that time, a young man from Louisiana received emails from Foley that the boy said, "freaked me out."(1) There are also allegations that there was an attempt made to cover it up to avoid even more embarrassing press for the Republicans in the upcoming midterms.
Senator Harry Reid called the Foley case "repugnant, but equally as bad is the possibility that Republican leaders in the House of Representatives knew there was a problem and ignored it to preserve a congressional seat this election year. Under laws that Congressman Foley helped write, soliciting sex from a minor online is a federal crime. The alleged crimes here are far outside the scope of any congressional committee, and the attorney general should open a full-scale investigation immediately."(2)
And I agree completely. It's about damned time that at least one of the illegal activities of our government should be investigated.
Isn't it funny though how it's always the sexual peccadilloes that prompt investigations? A war gets started on trumped up intelligence, and there's no investigation. A president tells a vice president to out a CIA operative, and there's no investigation. A president repeatedly lies to congress and the American people, and there's no investigation. A congressman writes sexual emails and instant messages to teenaged male pages, and boy howdy, now congress is falling all over itself to get an investigation going. Of course, they only call for this investigation after their attempts to keep it under wraps until after election day fail miserably.
I think when the history books are written about this period in time, they are going to comment heavily on the level of mendacity and ethical violations of the federal government. Lack of ethics in government is nothing new, obviously. However, the depth of ethical and moral violations of this present governmental iteration is without peer or parallel. The only period of time that even approaches this level that I can recall was the Nixon Administration.
Isn't it funny how the "law and order" Republicans are ALWAYS the ones doing the dirty deeds? Nixon had full knowledge of the Watergate break-in. Ronny Ray-Gun dipped his hands in the cookie jar with the arms for hostages deal, then used his favorite phrase, "I don't recall" to worm his way out of it. Of course he didn't recall. He was suffering from Alzheimer's even at that time.
And now, we have the wholesale ethics travesty that is the DUBYA administration. From lies about Iraq, to treason in outing a CIA operative, to allowing poor people to die in New Orleans, and all the other things he's done, he holds the record I am sure for illegal activities in office. Even the Republicans in congress can't keep their noses clean anymore.
And now this. While DUBYA probably wasn't involved with the affair, Rep Mark Foley is, in fact, a Republican. Not only that, in an ironic twist, he will face federal charges for violating laws that he himself helped write. I think it's hilarious. How could he possibly think he wouldn't get caught, or have to face the music for his actions?
The level of hypocrisy brought forth by the "law and order" Republicans has now gone right past ridiculous and headlong into sublime. I guess it just goes to show; the empty cans rattle the most. If they keep shooting themselves in the feet, they are going to have to be brought into congress in wheelchairs.