WASHINGTON - October 2 - Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) wrote to the Department of Justice Inspector General's office today to ask for an investigation into why the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) failed to begin investigating Rep. Mark Foley's e-mails to a former House page as soon as the bureau learned about the e-mails in July.
On July 21, CREW received a set of e-mails, allegedly from Foley to a former House page, which it sent to the FBI later that day. The emails, posted at http://www.citizensforethics.org , asked the page, who had recently left the Hill, his age, how school was going and what he wanted for his birthday. Rep. Foley also requested the boy's photograph.
"As a former prosecutor who handled sex crimes in the District of Columbia, the emails set off alarm bells. Grown men simply do not send emails requesting photographs to teenagers over whom they have had some degree of authority," Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, wrote today.
It appears only now, at the instigation of the House of Representatives leadership's request, that the FBI has begun a preliminary investigation into former Foley's conduct. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales requesting an investigation into Foley's actions as well as who knew about Foley's conduct, when they knew it and why they did not forward that information to law enforcement authorities.
Sloan stated today, "Since the FBI has known about Rep. Foley's emails since July, the question arises: Did the administration help to cover up Rep. Foley's conduct and leave a potential sexual predator on the loose? Was the administration more concerned with protecting a powerful ally in Congress than with protecting children?"
Sloan continued, "The American public deserves to know not just how and why members of Congress failed to take action to protect the youngsters entrusted to the care of the House of Representatives, but also why the FBI -- an agency charged with protecting the public -- failed to safeguard other youngsters from a potential sexual predator."
CREW's letters and Foley's e-mails are available at http://www.citizensforethics.org.