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Washington watchdog urges scrutiny for the investigators

A watchdog group that blew the whistle on former Rep. Mark Foley, only to see the FBI decline to investigate, is asking House Judiciary chairman Rep. John Conyers to hold a hearing on the agency's practice of investigating potential child sex predators.

The request by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, comes a day after an inspector general's report chided the FBI for failing to do more to alert the House about Foley's trangressions.

The former Lake Worth Republican resigned in late September after sexually-explicit instant messages he had exchanged with underage House pages surfaced. CREW in July had supplied the FBI with less explicit, but troubling e-mail messages between Foley and a teen page. But the agency declined to take up the case, saying it didn't rise to the level of criminal activity.

The IG report scolded the agency for reaching that conclusion, saying it should have alerted House leadership to the e-mails or told CREW that it was not going to investigate.

In a press release Tuesday, CREW's excecutive director Melanie Sloan said the report raises "serious questions on how the FBI conducts its investigations into potential child predators."

CREW is asking Conyers hold a hearing on the agency's practices "as soon as possible, in order to help prevent other children from being victimized."