The Foley Timeline
Updated Dec. 8, 2006
The saga of Rep. Mark Foley dates to at least five years ago. U.S. News has assembled a timeline about Foley, his personal involvement and electronic communications with current and former pages in the House of Representatives, and what other members of Congress knew about the situation:
2001: Some congressional pages were allegedly warned about Foley, according to Page Alumni Association President Matthew Loraditch. (ABC World News with Charles Gibson)
2003: Foley, a Florida Republican, reportedly writes sexually explicit instant messages to a male House page using the screen name "Maf54." (Associated Press)
May 2003: Foley faces questions about his sexual orientation as he prepares to run for a Senate seat in Florida. He later drops out of the race. (AP)
Fall 2005: A former page contacts the office of his sponsor, Rep. Rodney Alexander, a Louisiana Republican, about E-mails he had received from Foley that asked about the boy's age, then 16, and his birthday and requested a picture. (AP)
Fall 2005: Alexander's chief of staff calls House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office about the E-mail exchange. Alexander's aide declines to show the message to Hastert's staff and to the clerk of the House, who administers the page program, but says it is not of a sexual nature and that the family simply wants the contact to stop.
Hastert said in September 2006 that he was not aware of "a different set of communications which were sexually explicit ... which Mr. Foley reportedly sent another former page or pages."
The clerk and Rep. John Shimkus, an Illinois Republican who heads the House Page Board, meet with Foley, who assures them he was only acting as a mentor to the boy. Shimkus orders Foley to cease contact with the boy, and Foley agrees. (AP)
November 2005: The St. Petersburg Times assigns two reporters to investigate after being given copies of the E-mail exchange with the Louisiana teenager. The paper said on Sept. 30, 2006, that it decided not to publish at the time because of the seriousness of what would be implied and because the boy and the family would not go on the record.
The Miami Herald also had a copy of the E-mail but decided not to go public because the message was not sexually explicit and was subject to interpretation. (AP)
Spring 2006: Alexander mentions the Foley issue to Rep. Tom Reynolds, a New York Republican and chairman of the House Republican Campaign Committee. Reynolds says he raises the issue at a meeting with Hastert. The speaker later says he does not explicitly recall this conversation but does not dispute Reynolds's recollection that he reported on the problem and its resolution. (AP)
July 2006: Foley attends the White House ceremony where the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 is signed by President Bush. Foley was the chairman of the House panel on missing and exploited children.
July 2006: The FBI begins an investigation after receiving copies of E-mails sent in 2005 by Foley to a page from Louisiana. (Washington Post, Oct. 3, 2006)
Sept. 28, 2006: ABC News reports on the E-mail exchange with the Louisiana teenager. Foley's Democratic challenger, Tim Mahoney, calls for an investigation into the exchange. (AP)
Sept. 29, 2006: Revelations emerge of sexually explicit instant messages Foley sent in 2003 to former pages. Foley resigns. The House votes to refer the matter to the Ethics Committee. (AP)
Sept. 30, 2006: Hastert says he is setting up a hot line for current and former pages and their families to report problems about the page program. (AP)
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement opens an inquiry into Foley's online communication with the former House pages. (Miami Herald)
Oct. 1, 2006:Hastert writes a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales asking for an investigation of Foley's conduct. Hastert writes a similar letter to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. (AP)
An FBI spokesman confirms the agency is "conducting an assessment to see if there's been a violation of federal law." (AP)
Oct. 2, 2006: Foley's attorney says the former congressman is battling alcoholism and has checked into a rehabilitation facility. He says, "Based on the information that I have, Mark Foley has never, ever had an inappropriate sexual contact with a minor in his life. He is absolutely, positively not a pedophile." (Scripps Howard News Service)
Oct. 2, 2006: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issues a statement claiming GOP leaders knew about Foley for up to a year and calls for their investigation under oath by the Ethics Committee.
Michigan Rep. Dale Kildee, the only Democrat on the House Page Board, is left out of a Hastert-Shimkus meeting regarding page safety. Kildee, a member of the board since 1985, was not present when Hastert and Shimkus announced a revamped effort to secure the safety of pages. Kildee had earlier expressed outrage that he was left out of the discussion about Foley when Shimkus was first told of the matter nearly a year earlier.
Oct. 3, 2006: The Washington Times calls for Hastert's resignation. His spokesman, Ron Bonjean, issues a statement that says the speaker "has and will lead the Republican conference to another majority in the 110th Congress."
President Bush, in a speech at the George W. Bush Elementary School in Stockton, Calif., says, "I was dismayed and shocked to learn about Congressman Foley's unacceptable behavior. I was disgusted by the revelations and disappointed that he would violate the trust of theof the citizens who have placed him in office." He continues, "I fully support Speaker Hastert's call for an investigation by law enforcement into this matter. This investigation should be thorough, and any violations of the law should be prosecuted." (Federal News Transcripts)
House Majority Leader John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, in an interview aired on Cincinnati radio station WLW, said of Hastert and the Foley issue, "I believe I talked to the speaker and he told me it had been taken care of. My position is it's in his corner, it's his responsibility. The clerk of the House who runs the page program, the Page Boardall report to the speaker. And I believe it had been dealt with." (Bloomberg News) Three days earlier, the Washington Post had reported that Boehner first told the paper he had informed Hastert of the Foley issue, then called later to say that he hadn't.
Foley's lawyer says that his client, now in an alcohol treatment center, was molested by a clergyman when he was a teenager, has never engaged in sex with a minor, and is gay.
Oct. 4, 2006: The Department of Justice moves to secure items in Foley's office.(AP)
Kirk Fordham, chief of staff to Rep. Tom Reynolds, resigns, reportedly for his role in the investigation of Foley. Fordham previously was chief of staff for Foley. (In the spring, Reynolds had raised the issue of Foley's E-mails with Hastert.) (AP)
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirms that it has begun a preliminary inquiry. (AP)
Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, calls for a group of former senators and others to investigate how the House handled the Foley matter. (AP)
Oct. 5, 2006: Former congressional page Tyson Vivyan says he received sexually suggestive e-mail from Rep. Foley in 1997. (AP)
The House Ethics Committee opens an investigation into the unfolding scandal. (AP)
Oct. 8, 2006: A former House page discloses to the Los Angeles Times that he had sex with Foley at Foley's house in Washington in the fall of 2000. The page was 21 at the time and had graduated from college, but Foley had sent suggestive instant messages to him soon after he had left the page program.
Oct. 9, 2006: A CBS News-New York Times poll shows that 46 percent of respondents believe Hastert should step down; 79 percent believe that the House Republican leadership is more concerned with politics than the safety of congressional pages.
The Washington Post reports that Rep. Jim Kolbe, an Arizona Republican, allegedly reported Foley's inappropriate electronic exchanges with pages as early as 2000. Kolbe's spokesperson confirmed that at that time a former page spoke to Kolbe's office about messages from Foley that made the page uneasy. Kolbe forwarded the complaint to Foley's office and the clerk of the House.
The House ethics committee asks members of Congress to survey current and former House pages as well as aides to find out whether others knew of Foley's inappropriate conduct or communication with male pages.
Oct. 10, 2006: Hastert warns his staff that anyone found to have covered up information regarding Foley's conduct will be dismissed.
Former page Jordan Edmund and his attorney, Stephen Jones, meet with federal officials in Oklahoma City. Edmund allegedly received inappropriate instant messages from Foley which were made public on ABCNews.com.
Kolbe issues a clarification about his actions previously reported in the Washington Post. After receiving a complaint from the former page, Kolbe says that "it was my recommendation that this complaint be passed along to Rep. Foley's office and the clerk who supervised the page program. This was done promptly. I did not have a personal conversation with Mr. Foley about the matter.
Oct. 11, 2006: When asked about the Foley affair during a press conference, President Bush remarks, "All of us want to find out the facts. I mean, this is disgusting behavior when a member of Congress betrays the trust of the Congress and a family that sent a young page up to serve in the Congress."
Oct. 12, 2006: Bush and Hastert attend a fundraiser together in Illinois. The president states that he is "proud to be standing with the current speaker of the House, who is going to be the future speaker."
The House ethics committee questions Kirk Fordham--former chief of staff to Foley and Rep. Thomas Reynolds--for five hours. After the closed-door session, Fordham's attorney, Timothy Heaphy, reiterates that Fordham "has been consistent in his accounts of these events when he talked to the FBI and today met with the ethics committee. He's been truthful and cooperative and will continue to be throughout this and other investigations."
Oct. 14, 2006: A preliminary investigation into a Fourth of July Grand Canyon camping trip that Kolbe took with two former pages in 1996 is opened by federal prosecutors. The Arizona Republican's spokeswoman, Korenna Cline, responds to questions by saying that the party also included five staffers, Kolbe's sister, and National Park Service officials and that nothing improper happened. Kolbe is the only openly gay Republican in Congress and is set to retire after 22 years of service in the House.
Oct. 16, 2006: Alexander's chief of staff is called for questioning by the House ethics committee but dismissed 45 minutes later. Royal Alexander, no relation to the congressman, says he will be recalled to testify at a future date.
Kildee says that the House Page Board is reviewing additional allegations of improper conduct toward teenage pages that are unrelated to the Foley matter.
Oct. 20, 2006: The Archdiocese of Miami issues a statement of apology to Foley for the "inexcusable" behavior of Mercierca. The statement reads: "Such behavior is morally reprehensible, canonically criminal and inexcusable." They also barred Mercierca from performing the duties of a priest anywhere in the world. This means he will no longer be allowed to celebrate Mass publicly, wear a priest's garments, or administer the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church.
Oct. 24, 2006: Speaker Hastert and GOP campaign Chairman Reynolds testify in front of the ethics investigators behind closed doors. Hastert's deputy chief of staff, Mike Stokke, is also questioned regarding his knowledge of the Ee-mail Foley sent to a page from Louisiana in 2005. After his testimony, Hastert asserts to reporters that he told the committee "that they needed to move quickly to get to the bottom of this issue, including who knew about the sexually explicit messages and when they knew about it."
Oct. 25, 2006: Another former altar boy in Miami claims he was sexually abused by Mercierca in the 1970s. The altar boy is identified as John Doe No. 26 in a lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Miami seeking $10 million in damages.
Ted Van Der Meid, one of Hastert's aides, testifies for more than six hours in front of the ethics panel. He acted as a liaison between Hastert's office and the office of the House Clerk, which was responsible for the page program, and explained to the committee how the office handled the complaint about Foley from the former page from Louisiana.
Sculptor David Johnson creates a Foley action figure and sells it on eBay for $315.01.
Oct. 26, 2006: Foley's attorneys reveal that he has been a patient at the Sierra Tucson drug rehabilitation and psychiatric treatment center in Arizona since October 1 and is being treated for alcoholism.
Dec. 8, 2006: The House ethics committee releases its report on the Foley congressional page controversy. Of the GOP leadership, the report states: "In its review of this matter, the Investigative Subcommittee was disturbed by the conduct of some of those who dealt with allegations regarding the conduct of former Representative Foley." However, it continues, "the Investigative Subcommittee did not find that any current House Members or employees violated the House Code of Official Conduct...The Investigative Subcommittee therefore recommends no further investigative or disciplinary proceedings against any specific person." The report also makes recommendations regarding the operation of the House of Representatives Page Program. It states, "All Members, officers, and employees of the House must pursue specific and non-specific allegations of improper interaction between a Member or House employee and a participant in the House Page Program--even if the allegations are not readily verifiable or involve the sensitive subject of a Member's personal relationship with a young person."