A former Florida congressman who left office in disgrace after the discovery of lewd messages he sent to children might be plotting his return to politics, according to a recent report.
Florida Politics said Republican Mark Foley is weighing a possible run following the upcoming census, which is expected to see the southern state pick up an additional two congressional districts.
The revelation came after Foley was questioned by the Federal Election Commission in May as to why he is still using campaign funds this many years after his resignation. A spokesman for the Republican said he might run for office in the near future and “anticipates making a final decision sometime following the reapportionment resulting from the upcoming decennial census.”
Foley has become increasingly visible in recent years, attending multiple events for President Donald Trump, who is a friend and political supporter. Federal records indicate that Trump donated a total of $9,500 to Foley's campaigns between 1997 and 2006.
Florida Politics noted that the spending of unused campaign funds after leaving office is not necessarily illegal, as the options available to politicians include sending “excess funds back to donors, to other established political committees, or registered nonprofits.”
Foley’s use of the money appears to fall within legal bounds.
The biggest issue facing the former congressman is his reputation: can he convince voters he has changed his ways?
Foley believes he likely can, saying, “There’s a slim likelihood I could run for office again … the world’s changed, so I may one day want to run for a seat.”
The 2006 scandal that cost him his last seat involved no charges for Foley, despite the fact that his lewd messages — sent via AOL — were sent to children serving as congressional pages.
It took two full years for the Republican to issue a public apology for his behavior.