Foley checks into rehab for alcohol abuse while FBI conducts investigation

WASHINGTON – Former Rep. Mark Foley, under FBI investigation for salacious e-mail exchanges with teenage congressional pages, has checked himself into a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism treatment and accepts responsibility for his actions, his attorney said Monday.

The attorney, David Roth, would not identify the facility, but told the Associated Press that Foley had checked in over the weekend.

“I strongly believe that I am an alcoholic and have accepted the need for immediate treatment for alcoholism and other behavioral problems,” Foley, a Republican, said in a statement.

In scorching language, House Republican leaders condemned Foley’s actions as they tried to contain the damage to the party five weeks before elections.

“Congressman Foley duped a lot of people … He deceived the good men and women in organizations around the country with whom he worked to strengthen child predator laws,” Speaker Dennis Hastert told reporters. “I have known him all the years he served in the House and he deceived me too.”

The Bush administration sought to distance itself from the scandal and questions about when members of the House Republican leadership knew of the e-mail exchanges and what did they know of Foley’s actions. Five weeks before the election, the scandal involving the congressman could cost the GOP control of the House.

“The House has to clean up the mess, to the extent there is a mess,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

Foley quit Congress on Friday after reports surfaced that he’d sent sexually charged messages to boys working as pages. Foley said the “events that led to my resignation have crystalized recognition of my long-standing and significant alcoholism and emotional difficulties.”