A gay lobby group employee has been sacked after it was revealed that he was the first to publish email messages between disgraced ex-Florida Congressman Mark Foley and work experience interns.
Mark Foley resigned from the US Congress earlier this month amid reports that he sent inappropriate sexually explicit messages to teenage interns, and now it has emerged that a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) employee was the source of the computer messages and posted them onto his blog using a work computer .
The unnamed junior staff member has now been dismissed after using work resources at the Democrat aligned HRC.
HRC Vice President David Smith told the Associated Press: “He inappropriately used Human Rights Campaign resources. He was fired, The Human Rights Campaign believes in being very aboveboard in our political activity.”
Mr Foley, a six-term state representative and chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children resigned after ABC News reported he sent messages to current and former underage pages with references to sexual acts and genitalia.
According to Reuters, Mr Foley apparently sent some ‘overly-friendly’ e-mails in August 2005 to a former page who was 16 years old at the time. More recently, Foley has been accused of sending sexually explicit instant messages to House pages.
Republican leaders are under fire to give an explanation for how much they knew about Foley’s behaviour and when they were first aware of the e-mails.
House Republican leaders have been under pressure since then to explain what they knew about Foley’s behaviour and when they knew it.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, has asked for a federal investigation, stating that no party leaders had seen the e-mails before they were released by ABC News.
A spokesman for Mr Foley told CNN the congressman acknowledged he had an e-mail exchange with the former page but flatly denied that it was anything inappropriate.
“I have delivered a letter to the Speaker of the House informing him of my decision to resign from the US House of Representatives,” Mr Foley said.
“I am deeply sorry and I apologise for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent.”
Gay rights groups expressed outrage this week over the ‘gay spin’ they say the Republican leadership has put on the scandal, emphasising that the ex-congressman’s actions had nothing to do with sexual orientation.
“It is completely unacceptable, regardless of party or sexual orientation, for an adult to engage in this kind of behaviour with a minor,” said Joe Solomonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political organisation.
“The American people deserve leaders who confront problems and take responsibility, not leaders who excuse their corruption by trying to pin it on others.”
Political commentators claim the issue may affect Republican results in Congress elections next month.