How Foley Unfolded on the Web: An Online Guide

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The Incriminating Evidence

ABC, which covered this story extensively from the instant they broke it, was the first news organization to post excerpts from the actual exchanges—both the less-disturbing e-mails and the highly explicit Instant messages that finally forced Foley to resign.

Excerpts of the instant messages are also available here as a web story.

The "overly friendly" e-mails from Congressman Foley to one page were first made public on the "Stop Sex Predators" website—they were the sixth messages of any kind posted to the blog. This site has the look and feel of an amateur production—less a sophisticated sting operation than a man in a sandwich board, perhaps with a tinfoil hat accessory. The typos, the brief back catalog, the, um, single-mindedness all have led some in the blogosphere to question the site's legitimacy. No one knows for sure how this blogger came across the e-mails or who the blogger is.

Note: This blog entry from Sept. 24 show a few of the e-mails in question. Click on "Shocking E-mails" to see some responses from other pages.

This document details an e-mail exchange in which a page discussed Foley's inappropriate dialogue with him and other pages.

The Washington Post pulls no punches on the chat betwen Foley and one page, which goes into an explicit online discussion, which includes suggestions of professional growth in exchange for sexual favors.

Web Guides

• A Selection of Articles and Commentary From Around the Web on the Foley Scandal

• A Comprehensive Web Guide to the Mark Foley Scandal

Complete Coverage

• TIME Poll: The Foley Sex Scandal Has Hurt GOP Election Prospects
Two-thirds of those aware of the scandal believe Republican leaders attempted a cover-up, according to a new survey


• The Biggest Winner in the Foley Scandal
Until last week, no one was giving millionaire Democratic candidate Tim Mahoney much of a chance in his race for Congress. Now he's the frontrunner


• The G.O.P.'s Secret Weapon
You think the Republicans are sure to lose big in November? They aren't. Here's why things don't look so bad to them


• Will the Foley Scandal Bring Down Hastert?
The Speaker is well-liked by his colleagues, but as Republicans are passing the blame upwards, he's as far up as they can go


• How Much Will it Hurt the GOP?
The congressman's resignation doesn't just open up a seat for the Democrats in Florida. It could do major damage to the party's reelection hopes nationwide


• Behind Foley's Swift Fall From Grace
Thanks to his previous work against pedophiles, the Florida congressman who sent possibly inappropriate e-mails to a teenager had little choice but to resign. Now the G.O.P. has yet another vulnerable seat to defend


TIME Blogs

• The Daily Dish
Andrew Sullivan on the Foley scandal


The Background

Matthew Loraditch, president of the page alumni association, says that he warned Congressional pages five years ago about dealing closely with Foley.

One of the more ironic aspects of the scandal has been Foley's past role as an advocate for missing and exploited children. Though his official Congressional website has been purged of most references to this activism, you can still browse cached pages that document his darkly ironic crusade.

A timeline of Rep. Mark Foley's e-mail scandal from warnings to pages from a Republican staff member to House Speaker Dennis Hastert's admission that he was told about the e-mails.

Blog PI says if you had been reading the right blogs "you’d have gotten wind of it nearly a month ago." Just One Minute wants "assurance that this was not simply a successful attempt to promote a story that wasn't quite ready for the Mainstream Media by laundering it through some blogs."

ABC.com provides comprehensive coverage of the Foley scandal including video, a blotter and related stories, including one that contains the e-mail exchange between the Congressman and the House page.

What Were the Responses?

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has called for federal investigations into Foley's actions. They are now known to have come into possession of the first set of e-mails in July and say they forwarded them to the FBI soon thereafter. Most recently, they've asked that the Department of Justice look into why the FBI did not pursue the matter then.

The House Page Alumni Association website has, understandably, been taken offline. Facebook members, however, can browse several page groups, including House Pages!, whose page touts "Top Ten Reasons to Date a Page." Number five? "Special orders don't upset us." There's also the strident "The United States House Page Program DID Protect Me, Darnit!" group, which say, "The Page Program rocks hardcore- it's just, some pages are idiots."

Not surprisingly, Rush Limbaugh finds a way to point the scandal toward what he calls "The Clinton War Room"and insists that none of the "drive-by Foley orgy" media coverage will only serve to increase Republican voter turnout. Not to be outdone, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough weighs in saying Foley has given Americans another reason to vote Democrat.

The You Tube Universe

As usual, YouTube provides a deep well of context and commentary in addition to some primary documents. Ironists will note this Mark Foley campaign ad which touts him as a protector of children (though not as a Republican). This ABC News report contains clips from a Foley speech he gave for the 2002 Congressional graduation; at the time it must have seemed simply emotionally wrought. With hindsight Foley's clear affection for the pages takes on a slightly different cast. CNN interviewed House Speaker Dennis Hastert about his knowledge of Foley's actions. Hastert claims that he did "not recall" any conversation about Foley's emails prior to last Friday. This, of course, contradicts the recollections of other GOP leaders, including Tom Reynolds and John Boehner, who have said they told Hastert about the emails last winter. Note Reynolds' press conference on this issue—in which he used the historically unfortunate defense that he was just a "good employee"—was held in a room full of mothers and their children, making it difficult to ask questions about "inappropriate" behavior. Not contained in this clip is the moment when reporters, realizing this, asked Reynolds to step away from the children.

Foley's side is presented by this windy, unusually blunt press conference from his lawyer, who told reporters that Foley was both a victim of sexual abuse and that he is a gay man as well as a "closet alcoholic." Finally, one former page goes to O'Reilly with his story about Foley contacting him via IM (where it got "quickly" sexual) soon after he left the program. Another former page has put up an informational website and welcomes questions. Though probably not "that kind."

News and Views

Top GOP Staffer Forced Out for Role in Page Scandal

The latest Google search on Foley.

The latest Google search on Hastert.

A complete collection bringing together up-to-date news in the Foley saga. It also includes links to several Foley forums.

An editorial from the Miami Herald, which includes an explanation for why they did not cover the story immediately.

An editorial on the implications of the scandal from the St. Petersburg Times, the largest paper in Foley's district.

The Blogosphere Has Never Been Hotter
(An asterisk indicates blogs with news coverage)

* Abuse Excuse* The CarpetBagger Report

* Wonkette!

* The Bullwinkle Blog

* The Huffington Post

* Urban Elephants

* Daily Kos

* Crooks and Liars

* Think Progress

* Newsbusters

* Elsa Elsa

A Blog for All

Room Eight

MetroBlogging

Politics in the Zeros

CorrentWire

Tennessee Guerilla Woman

NP Now Public

The Real Ugly American

Corrente

On Topic with Doug Krile

Pandagon

Compiled by Madison Gray, Amber Cartwright and Ana Marie Cox