Bono Says Foley Was "Haunted" By Being Gay

Mary BonoPALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA – Rep. Mary Bono knew her former Congressional colleague Mark Foley was gay, wasn’t publicly admitting it, and that it “haunted him for some reason.”
“I would tell him, ‘It’s fine you’re gay; just be open and honest about it,’” Bono said after an event at Palm Springs airport Wednesday morning.
“I thought THAT was his secret.”
The revelations that Foley, R-Fla., had sexually explicit Internet communications with teenage male Congressional pages came as a shock, Bono said.
“I had never heard a word about him being overly friendly with pages — or interns, for that matter,” said Bono, R-Palm Springs.
“I am disgusted by Mark Foley’s actions. I feel betrayed.”
Foley abruptly resigned from Congress Friday, within hours of news breaking about his explicit computer instant messages with teenage pages.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republican leaders are now under scrutiny for allegedly knowing of some level of inappropriate communication between Foley and pages as much as three years ago and doing little.
Bono said she believes House Republican leaders’ earlier actions were based on overly friendly but not sexual e-mails Foley had sent to pages. She believes the leaders were unaware of the existence of explicit Internet instant messages.
“The minute (those) came out it was very clear Mark was hiding an awful lot, and was leading a double-life,” she said.
“If (House Republican leaders) knew more I will be very, very disappointed. But I don’t believe they did know more.”
Bono called for an immediate investigation, but said, “In this politically charged environment, I don’t know how we can get to the bottom of it.”
An already at times contentious campaign between Bono and La Quinta Democrat David Roth reached a new level of rancor in the wake of the Foley scandal.
Roth accused Bono of being “part of the system that has turned a blind eye to (Foley’s) threatening relationship with underage children.” Roth played up Bono’s ties to Foley in a press release on his campaign Web site entitled, “Bono’s complacency with corruption brings harm to children.”
Attempts to reach Roth for comment late Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.
Local Republicans fired back. Jeff Miller, chairman of the Republican Party of Riverside County, called Roth’s comments “hysterical,” “mean-spirited,” “uncalled for,” and “a disgrace.”
“David Roth in his desperation is saying and doing things for which his parents would have washed his mouth out with soap,” said Miller, state co-chairman for Proposition 83, or Jessica’s Law, which is on the Nov. 7 ballot.
In an interview with the Palm Beach Post in 2003, Foley said he had been friends with then-fellow Congressman Sonny and Mary Bono, and that he loved the entertainment scene so much that the Bonos began calling him “Hollywood.”
Mary Bono on Wednesday said Foley “liked to be around celebrity,” and that he “overstated” his level of friendship with both Sonny and her, as well as his role in founding a Republican Entertainment Industry Task Force with Sonny to improve the party’s contacts with Hollywood.
“Sonny founded that task force,” she said.
With the exception of a handful of events that included several lawmakers, Bono said she has not spent time with Foley off the House floor since 1998.
“I don’t know how to say whether I was or was not friends with somebody; I don’t know what the litmus test is,” she said. “It sounds like I’m trying to distance myself from him, and that’s not the way I am about anybody.”
Bono said she could not recall the circumstances of her selling a Jeep Wrangler she owned to Foley in 1998.
Like many members of Congress, Bono is donating to charity $2,000 Foley gave her campaign. He gave her the donations in 1998, as she sought election to the seat held by her late husband who had died in a skiing accident.
The money will be donated to the Bono Family Creating Hope Award, a Riverside County program for abused children, she said.
from The Desert Sun


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