Much of the coverage of John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi's announcement that the House Page Program would be ending for good on August 31 carried references to its most recent brush with publicity: the Mark Foley scandal in 2006, when the six-term Florida congressman got caught sending sexually explicit emails and text messages to a 16-year-old Page. But with more than two centuries worth of history behind the program, there is plenty more to remember about the House Pages.
Boehner and Pelosi issued a statement on Monday afternoon that they had "directed the House Historian to prepare an official history of the House Page Program as a tribute to the many Pages, Members of Congress and congressional staff who have contributed to the program over the years." That's probably going to take a while so we whipped up an executive summary cobbled together from the current official history and the news. We're going to go in reverse chronological order which also happens to arrange the events from most to least sensational.
Mark Foley gets busted for illicit exchanges with teenage Pages (2006) Mark Foley sent quite a few emails and IMs to under-age Pages. (Pages are, by definition, all under-age.) Though the initial report surfaced in the form of five emails between Foley and a Page from Louisiana, a nearly year-long investigation would show that Foley's inappropriate behavior dated back to 1995 when one Page remembered, "Almost the first day I got there I was warned. It was no secret that Foley had a special interest in male pages." Other scandal highlights include Foley "going cruising" with a male Page in his blue 3-Series BMW in 2005 and Foley "having internet sex" with a Page during a vote in 2003. One anonymous Page claimed that the exchanges went well beyond emails and text messages. When a former Page was a 21-year-old intern in Washington, Foley invited him over for a "sexual encounter" during which they had "wine and pizza on a backyard patio and then retired to a spare bedroom," The Los Angeles Times reports. Eventually, Foley resigned and some say pulled his entire party down with him. By the time the scandal died down, the Republicans had lost control of the House.