The Foley Coverup Timeline

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On Friday, Sept. 29, 2006, Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned from Congress after ABC News published inappropriate emails and sexually explicit instant messages that Foley sent to underage boys.

Subsequently, it’s become clear that Congressional leadership “knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues.” Here is a timeline of the coverup, based on published reports:

2000 — — Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) informed of improper Foley Internet messages that made a page feel uncomfortable with the direction Foley was taking their email relationship. Kolbe claims he never personally confronted Foley, but rather recommended that the complaint be passed along to his office. [Washington Post, 10/9/06; Arizona Republic, 10/11/06]


2001 — A Republican staff member warns pages “to watch out for Congressman Mark Foley.” A former page says that they were told “don’t get too wrapped up in him being too nice to you and all that kind of stuff.” [ABC, 10/1/06]

2003 — Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) has sexually explicit IM exchanges with an underage boy who worked as a Congressional page. [ABC News, 9/29/06]

2003 — Foley’s former aide Kirk Fordham told The Associated Press that “when he learned about Foley’s inappropriate behavior toward pages, he had ‘more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives asking them to intervene,’ alluding to House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Hastert’s office denied the explosive allegations.” [CBS News, 10/5/06]

APRIL 2003 — Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) interrupts a House vote on the 2003 Iraq supplemental to “engage in Internet sex with a high school student who had served as a congressional page.” [ABC, 10/3/06]

SUMMER 2005 — Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) sends inappropriate emails to another former Congressional page. [CREW]

SEPTEMBER 2005 — Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA), who sponsored the page, learns “of the e-mails from a reporter.” [AP, 9/29/06; CQ, 9/30/06]

FALL 2005 — “Tim Kennedy, a staff assistant in the [Speaker J. Denis Hastert’s] Office, received a telephone call from Congressman Rodney Alexander’s Chief of Staff who indicated that he had an email exchange between Congressman Foley and a former House page…[Mike] Stokke [Deputy Chief of Staff for Speaker Hastert] called the Clerk and asked him to come to the Speaker’s Office so that he could put him together with Congressman Alexander’s Chief of Staff.” [Hastert Statement, 9/30/06]

LATE 2005 — Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Chairman of the House Page Board, “was notified by the then Clerk of the House, who manages the Page Program, that he had been told by Congressman Rodney Alexander (R-LA) about an email exchange between Congressman Foley and a former House Page.” Shimkus interviewed Foley and told him “to cease all contact with this former house page.” He did not inform Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), the only Democrat on the House page Board. [Roll Call, 9/29/06]

EARLY 2006 — Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) talks Foley into running for another term. Bob Novak reported, “A member of the House leadership told me that Foley, under continuous political pressure because of his sexual orientation, was considering not seeking a seventh term this year but that Rep. Tom Reynolds, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), talked him into running.” [New York Post, 10/4/06]

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2006 — Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.), whose office first received the complaint from the page, told Boehner about Foley’s inappropriate e-mails, and Boehner sent him to Tom Reynolds. Alexander tells Reynolds about “the existence of e-mails between Mark Foley and a former page of Mr. Alexander’s.” Reynolds tells Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) about the emails and his conversation with Alexander. [Reynolds Statement, 9/30/06; Roll Call, 9/30/06; Hastert Statement, 9/30/06; Chicago Tribune, 10/3/06]

SPRING 2006 — House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) learns of “inappropriate ‘contact’ between Foley and a 16-year-old page” from Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA). After learning about Foley’s conduct, Boehner told Speaker of the House J. Denis Hastert who assured Boehner he would “take care of it.” Later, Boehner changed his story and told the Washington Post he didn’t remember whether he talked to Hastert. [Washington Post, 9/30/06; New York Times, 10/1/06]

SPRING 2006 — Reynolds says he told Hastert about the e-mails after he learned about them. “He said he alerted the Republican speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, to the issue, but Mr. Hastert said he had no recollection of the contact.” [The Sun, 10/3/06]

MAY 10, 2006 — Reynold’s personal PAC, TOMPAC, donates $5,000 to Foley’s campaign. [New York Daily News, 9/30/06]

JULY 21, 2006 — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington forwarded the messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on July 21 and requested an investigation. [CREW, 10/5/06]

JULY 27, 2006 — Foley writes a $100,000 check to the NRCC, chaired by Reynolds. [New York Daily News, 9/30/06]

JULY 27, 2006 — Foley, still co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus, attends a signing ceremony at the White House for the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. [White House, 9/27/06; Talkingpointsmemo, 9/30/06; Washington Post, 10/1/06]

AUGUST 7, 2006 — The NRCC accepted a $100,000 contribution from Foley’s campaign committee. [FEC]

SEPTEMBER 28, 2006 — ABC publishes emails between Foley and former page. [ABC, 9/28/06]

SEPTEMBER 29, 2006 3:00 PM — Foley resigns. [ABC, 9/29/06]

SEPTEMBER 29, 2006 6:00 PM — ABC publishes sexually explict Instant Messages between Foley and several former pages. [ABC, 9/29/06]

SEPTEMBER 29, 2006 — “Aides to the speaker [Hastert] say he was not aware until last week of inappropriate behavior by Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., who resigned on Friday after portions of racy e-mail exchanges between him and current and former underage congressional pages became public.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/30/06]

SEPTEMBER 30, 2006 — Hastert admits he was told about the emails by Reynolds in the spring. [Hastert Statement, 9/30/06]

OCTOBER 1, 2006 — FBI opens “preliminary investigation” of Foley. “Officials say the FBI and Department of Justice lawyers are trying to determine how many such e-mails were sent, how many different computers were used and whether any of the teenage victims will cooperate in the investigation.” [ABC, 10/1/06]

OCTOBER 1, 2006 — Hastert urges Gov. Jeb Bush to initiate an investigation. “As Speaker of the House, I hereby request that you direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an investigation of Mr. Foley’s conduct with current and former House pages to determine to what extent any of his actions violated Florida law.” [Hastert letter, 10/1/06]

OCTOBER 4, 2006 — Former Foley aide and Reynolds’ chief of staff Kirk Fordham is fired. “People familiar with Fordham’s side of the story…said Fordham was being used as a scapegoat by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. They said Fordham had repeatedly warned Hastert’s staff about Foley’s ‘problem’ with pages, but little was done.” [ABC, 10/4/06]

OCTOBER 4, 2006 — House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) criticizes Hastert’s mishandling of Foley scandal, saying that “he would have handled [the Foley scandal] differently if he’d known about it.” “I think I could have given some good advice here, which is you have to be curious, you have to ask all the questions you can think of,” Blunt said. “You absolutely can’t decide not to look into activities because one individual’s parents don’t want you to.” [AP, 10/4/06]

OCTOBER 4, 2006 — Right-wing blogger Wild Bill outs a former congressional page. Roger L. Simon of Pajamas Media and Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit link to the post. [ThinkProgress, 10/5/06]

OCTOBER 5, 2006 — The Hill reports that the source who gave Foley’s emails to news media says the documents came from a congressional aide “who has been a registered Republican since becoming eligible to vote.” [The Hill, 10/5/06]

OCTOBER 8, 2006 — Former page says he and Foley engaged in sex. The LAT reports, “A former House page says he had sex with then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.).” The ex-page said his correspondence with Foley began after he finished the page program for high school juniors, but the sexual encounter occurred when he was 21 years old. “The former page’s exchanges with Foley offer a glimpse of possible predatory behavior by the congressman as he assessed male teenagers assigned as House errand-runners.” [LA Times, 10/8/06]

OCTOBER 9, 2006 — “Moving with unusual speed,” the House Ethics Committee start interviews in its probe of the Mark Foley scandal. Longtime Foley aide and former Reynolds chief of staff and Foley aide Kirk Fordham will be testifying. [WSJ, 10/9/06]

This is a rapidly developing story. Let us know what we missed in the comments section.