Video: Scarborough on the Foley scandal

Image: Joe Scarborough
By Joe Scarborough Host, ‘Morning Joe'
updated 10/2/2006 4:49:14 PM ET 2006-10-02T20:49:14

I know Mark Foley. Mark Foley is a friend of mine. But in all my years working with him in Congress and on TV, I could have never foreseen this kind of scandal swirling around the friendly politician.

Mark and I entered Congress together in 1994 and spent the next four terms working together on legislation and political campaigns. Rumors about Mark's homosexuality followed him from his first day in the House and I even discussed the issue with him before he launched his Senate campaign in 2003.

Though I had never broached the subject out of deference to him, I just wanted Mark to know it would come up and that he had better have a response ready. I also told him not to be surprised if the White House stepped in with a candidate like Mel Martinez to drive him from the race. Mark guaranteed me his friends in the Bush administration would never do such a thing.

I don't know if they did. Perhaps you can ask Sen. Mel Martinez if I was correct next time you see him.

Reading the first set of e-mails made me uneasy. My friends and I who knew Mark got on the phone and asked why he would ask a high school kid for a picture. Friday afternoon I saw the instant messages he sent to another student and realized that Mark was in big trouble.

But he is not alone.

Where was the Republican leadership over the past year? They knew of Mark's inappropriate e-mails to a former page but never informed Democratic leaders so they could warn those pages they had brought to Washington.

How could the Speaker of the House not remember being told by the Chairman of the Republican Congressional Committee that Foley had been confronted with his inappropriate e-mails to a male intern? Does this happen so often in Congress that it was no big deal to Denny Hastert?

The fact that Republicans allowed Mark Foley to continue as Chairman of the Committee on Missing and Exploited Children is terrible. The fact that they let him lead the charge on a bill to stop the exploitation of minors on the Internet is unpardonable.

Who was holding this information for a year? Someone had these IM's and held on to them for a year so to inflict maximum damage on Mark Foley and the Republican Party. Why did this person (or people) withhold possible criminal evidence from authorities? Shouldn't they also be arrested for obstructing an investigation and preventing congressional leaders from taking whatever steps is necessary to protect these high school pages?

Finally, my friendly advice to Democrats is to keep your mouth shut lest you be tagged as hypocrites. After all, you did next to nothing when one of your colleagues had a homosexual affair with a 17 year old intern--having sex with him in his Georgetown apartment and then taking him to Portugal the next summer to carry on his illicit affair.

Mark Foley's e-mails and IM's are disgusting. But their release only exposed DC's dark underside. And since that town is run by Republicans, expect ramifications for the GOP this fall.

Read Scarborough's second draft.

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