Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Republican knew of Foley messages in 2000: Post

Republican knew of Foley messages in 2000: Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Republican colleague of disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley knew of his sexually charged computer messages to teenage assistants as far back as 2000 and confronted him about them, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

A congressional page showed Arizona Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe inappropriate messages he had received from Foley six years ago, the Post reported.

The news indicates that Foley's sexually charged communications with pages were known to other lawmakers five years earlier than was previously acknowledged.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican from Illinois who is facing calls to step down for his handling of the scandal, has suggested that congressional Republicans did not know of Foley's behavior until late 2005.

Foley, a Florida Republican, resigned on September 29 when inappropriate messages were made public.

An anonymous source told the Post that the messages shared with Kolbe were sexually explicit, but Kolbe's spokeswoman said that was not the case.

Spokeswoman Korenna Cline said "corrective action" had been taken but said she did not know whether Kolbe discussed the messages with anyone except Foley.

Kolbe, a former page himself, is retiring at the end of the year.