Florida Congressman Resigns Amid E-mail Scandal

Mark Foley's resignation comes amid charges that he sent suggestive and perhaps sexually explicit messages to teenage boys who came to Capitol Hill to work and learn. Foley's sudden resignation seemed to stun his own staff.

Until late Friday afternoon, Foley was considered a shoo-in for reelection in his south central Florida district. He resigned effective immediately amid a scandal over his contacts with young male Capitol pages.

Personal e-mail exchanges between Foley and a 16-year-old page are at issue. When the 52-year-old Foley asked the boy to e-mail a picture, the boy told a friend the exchanges were "creepy" and "sick." A watchdog group tells CBS News it handed over the e-mails to the FBI weeks ago.

The FBI won't confirm an investigation, but House Speaker Dennis Hastert said he's asked for a congressional probe into reports of more suggestive e-mails from Foley to other pages.

"We want to make sure that all our pages are safe," Hastert said. "And the page system is safe."

Beyond the scandal, there are serious political implications. Democrats need a net gain of 15 seats for control of the House of Representatives in November. It's too late for Republicans to put another candidate on the ballot, and while there are theoretical scenarios involving a write-in Republican and special elections, Republicans tell CBS News they've probably lost the seat, lost it to Democrat Tim Mahoney, who was 13 points behind in the polls just last week.

Mahoney is a wealthy businessman, a cattle rancher, and now maybe one of the luckiest politicians around.

Foley has issued a statement not referring to the issue, but saying he's deeply sorry and apologizes for letting down his family and the people of Florida.


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