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Wonkette asks the question. In short: Foley had a relationship with the Scientology community in Florida; the Scientologists have a detox center in Clearwater, Fla.; Foley's attorney David Roth faxed news of his client's treatment to a Florida TV station from a fax machine in Clearwater, Fla.; Roth's office, however, isn't in Clearwater.

Florida Republicans, reportedly pessimistic of their prospects of retaining Rep. Mark Foley's (R-FL) seat in November's election, have nevertheless found their sacrificial lamb, state Rep. Joe Negron. Due to Florida's quirky state law, ballots will still have Foley's name -- but votes for Foley will go to Negron, the party's nominee.

And as The Palm Beach Post's coverage of his nomination shows, he's fast out of the gate!

Just months after stepping away from the race for state attorney general because he didn't have enough name recognition, state Rep. Joe Negron will try to get to Congress using someone else's.

"In a normal campaign, it's always nice if your name is on the ballot," Negron said. "Since that is not going to happen in this case, that's my number one issue."


Any readers out there have any good ideas for possible campaign slogans? A Vote for Foley is a Vote for Negron?

Update: It appears that Negron has a submission of his own: "If you want to support the president... vote for Mark Foley." Thanks to TPMm Reader BW.

In its earlier report, AP noted that former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), the boy-loving congressman from Florida, took a 16-year-old page to lunch at Morton's.

How's that again?

"John was the highest bidder on lunch with Mark Foley," the congressman recounted in a June 2002 speech to House pages published in the Congressional Record. (The pages have a fundraiser every year to pay for their prom, a former page explained to me.)

"John had paid considerable sums to dine with me. I had offered to take the winning bidder to lunch in the Members' dining room." But after hearing how much the boy paid, Foley recounted,

"I said, 'John, there is no way in the world after you committed so much money to have lunch with me that I would dare take you downstairs to eat in the Members' dining room.'"

"I said, 'Where do you want to go?'

"He says, without reservation, 'Morton's.' I said, 'Morton's? Like in Morton's Steakhouse?'

"He said, 'Oh, would that be too much?' I said, 'Oh, no, we'll go.'

"I said, 'Call your mother, get permission, make sure she notifies the Clerk and we will go to Morton's.'

"And so we proceeded to cruise down in my BMW to Morton's."

Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI) is the sole Democratic member of the House Page Board, the three-member committee that oversees the House Page program. Earlier, he expressed dismay that he'd been kept in the dark about Mark Foley's solicitous emails back in the fall of 2005, when they'd first come to light.

Now he's angry that House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) has added insult to injury by announcing changes to the page program without consulting him.

Full statement below...

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Disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) had a special interest in the House page program, AP reports:

Former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., told House pages in warm farewell speeches over the years that he took "a special interest in each and every one" of them, identifying many of the youngsters by name and thanking them for their service.

Foley, who resigned Friday after being questioned about sexually explicit e-mails to former pages, gave the speeches during traditional June ceremonies honoring them in 2001, 2002, and 2004, according to the Congressional Record. . . .

"I did not know they made boots that size. How much hair gel have you used today, Robert? Ryan was the other one. I did not recognize that color hair when you left here on Friday," Foley said. "I will leave that name off. I did not know you wore an earring. Does your dad know, or mom? No, not really."


In one speech cited by AP, Foley also describes taking one of the male pages to lunch at Morton's steakhouse in his BMW. The page had made a winning bid for "lunch with Mark Foley" at a House page event.

During today's White House Press Briefing, Tony Snow recanted his earlier description of Rep. Mark Foley's (R-FL) emails to teenage pages as "simply naughty emails."

After a reporter challenged the characterization, Snow admitted, "You’re right. That may sound a little bit too glib – I think I’ve used the words… horrifying, appalling, disturbing.

"Fill in the blanks," he added. "It’s absolutely inappropriate."

Watch the exchange here:



Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) actively pressured a page for a sexual rendezvous, according to Instant Message conversations obtained by ABC News. Under the law that Foley helped enact, solicitation of a minor could lead to a lengthy prison sentence.

One exchange reads:

Maf54: I want to see you

Teen: Like I said not til feb…then we will go to dinner

Maf54: and then what happens

Teen: we eat…we drink…who knows…hang out…late into the night

Maf54: and

Teen: I dunno

Maf54: dunno what

Teen: hmmm I have the feeling that you are fishing here…im not sure what I would be comfortable with…well see

Copies of the icky emails ABC published last week have been in the hands of the FBI since July, according to a group which obtained the emails months ago. So why does it sound as if the bureau's probe of their sender, disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), is just beginning?

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the D.C.-based watchdog group obtained the emails in July, and shortly thereafter provided copies to the feds -- on July 21, according a press release from the organization.

The group has denied being ABC's source for the emails.

"FBI to Examine Foley's E-Mails," the Washington Post headline reads this morning. "A law enforcement official who requested anonymity so he could discuss an ongoing case said the probe will be handled by the FBI's Cyber Division," the paper notes -- emphasis mine.

That said, the FBI won't confirm the date their inquiry began. Spokesman Steve Kodak would say only that the FBI is "conducting an assessment to determine if there's been any violation of federal law."

CREW is calling for a separate inquiry, by the Department of Justice's Inspector General, to determine whether the FBI's actions -- or inaction -- was politically influenced.

Update: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that CREW was ABC's source for the emails.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Page Board Chairman Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) are planning to hold a press conference at 1:45 to discuss the Foley scandal.

We've heard that Hastert flew back to Washington this morning for a meeting with Shimkus and House clerk Karen Lehman Haas this morning.

Over at TPM, Josh needled House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) for an Aug. 29 press release about Hastert's efforts to "keep kids safe in cyberspace." August 29, of course, is months after Hastert is said to have learned of Foley's indiscretions.

Well, today Hastert's office appears to have removed the press release. It had been prominent on his Web site's front page until this morning.

For history's sake, we've rescued a copy of the press release from an online database and posted it. Full text of the release below the jump.

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