Yesterday, a source close to Foley explained to THE NEW REPUBLIC that in early 2006 the congressman had all but decided to retire from the House and set up shop on K Street. "Mark's a friend of mine," says this source. "He told me, 'I'm thinking about getting out of it and becoming a lobbyist.'"
But when Foley's friend saw the Congressman again this spring, something had changed. To the source's surprise, Foley told him he would indeed be standing for re-election. What happened? Karl Rove intervened.
According to the source, Foley said he was being pressured by "the White House and Rove gang," who insisted that Foley run. If he didn't, Foley was told, it might impact his lobbying career.
"He said, 'The White House made it very clear I have to run,'" explains Foley's friend, adding that Foley told him that the White House promised that if Foley served for two more years it would "enhance his success" as a lobbyist. "I said, 'I thought you wanted out of this?' And he said, 'I do, but they're scared of losing the House and the thought of two years of Congressional hearings, so I have two more years of duty.'"
The White House declined a request for comment on the matter, but obviously the plan hasn't worked out quite as Rove hoped it would.
To me the most fascinating and damning facet of this story is the fact that Rove was so afraid of congressional investigations that he would pressure a sexual predator to run for re-election - in a safe district, no less. I think it's pretty safe to say that serious investigations might... uncover a few things.
Of course, it backfired epically, so instead of a small risk of losing one seat, the Republicans now have a rather large risk of losing 20 or 30 seats, and Rove's worst fear may soon become a reality.
(hat tip to the hullabalicious Digby)