Foley Built Career as Protector of Children
The Republican congressman who resigned Friday following the discovery of sexually explicit Internet messages he sent to teenage boys was a gregarious and charismatic lawmaker who built his political career in large measure on legislative proposals meant to halt the sexual predation of children and others.
Beginning with his 1993 sponsorship of a measure in the Florida state legislature to seize the cars of men who solicited prostitutes, former restaurant owner and real estate agent Mark Foley repeatedly attracted a flattering political spotlight by inveighing against those involved in sexual crimes and presenting himself as a protector of exploited children.
A well-liked member of the class of conservatives elected to Congress in 1994, Foley was until two days ago a deputy whip for the House Republicans and a co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus. A Web site for the bipartisan group states that it was formed to “create a voice within Congress” on that issue and to operate a hotline for tips about “online child sexual exploitation” that could be passed to law enforcement agencies.
At a White House Rose Garden ceremony on July 27, President Bush hailed Foley and some other House and Senate lawmakers as members of a “SWAT team for kids.” Bush spoke while signing into law a broad child protection measure that included a Foley-sponsored provision requiring sex offenders to register in every state where they live, work or attend school.
The irony is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Thanks to a provision that he himself sponsored, Mark Foley may soon have to register as a sex offender in every state where he lives or works.
Stick a fork in him, folks. He’s done. Somehow I don’t believe we’ve even scratched the surface of this story yet.