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This article provides an incomplete list of political scandals of the United States.


Scope and organization of political scandals


This article is divided into three sections, Federal Scandals, Local Scandals and (political) Sex Scandals. Federal scandals are organized by Presidential term and then into scandals of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches. Members of both parties are listed under the term of the presiding president at the time the scandal took place. Local Scandals are divided by date and state, and Sex Scandals are listed by date.


There is no hard and fast rule defining scandals. Though the dictionary may define scandal as "loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety", in politics scandal should be kept separate from 'controversy,' (which implies two differing points of view) and 'unpopularity.' Many presidents make unpopular decisions. Neither of these are scandals.

A good guideline is whether or not an action is, or appears to be, illegal. Since we expect everyone, particularly politicians, to be law abiding, breaking the law is, by definition, a scandal. Misunderstandings, breaches of ethics, unproven crimes or cover-ups may or may not result in scandals depending on who is bringing the charges, the amount of publicity garnered, and the seriousness of the crime, if any. The finding of a court with jurisdiction is the sole method used to determine a violation of law.


By definition, political scandals should involve politicians and not private citizens. Civilians should be included only when they are closely linked to elected or appointed officials. Kenneth Lay of Enron, a major political contributor to both parties, is a good example.


There is no bright line to distinguish "major" scandals from "minor" scandals, but rather scandals tend to be defined by the public themselves and the media's desire to feed that particular frenzy. Thus, small but salacious scandals, such as Larry Craig's (R-ID) arrest for lewd behavior can eclipse more serious scandals such as suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus in time of war.

What is also not so clear, is how far down the ladder of obscurity a scandal should go. During the Truman (D) administration 166 local IRS staffers were found to be corrupt, but they were so far removed from Washington, Truman or any of his appointees, that it could hardly be called a 'Truman scandal.'

Systemic scandals

Not included in this article are pervasive systemic scandals, such as the role of money in "normal" politics which purchases access and influence. Neither are 'revolving door' stories, which is the practice of hiring government officials to promote or lobby for companies they were recently paid to regulate. Though some rules now apply, to a great extent this is legal.

Likewise, corporate scandals, failures or corruption are not included unless there is significant political involvement. Thus the Lockheed bail out, Harken Energy, MCI Inc., Bernard Madoff, Tom Petters, and Stanford Financial Group are not included, but Scott W. Rothstein, VECO Corporation and Enron Scandal are.

Federal government scandals

2009- Obama Administration

Executive Branch scandals

  • Americorps Fraud Scandal President Barack Obama (D) suspended Investigator General Gerald Walpin following his investigation of the misuse of funds by St. Hope Academy formerly run by NBA star and current mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson(D).[1] Mr. Walpin's boss Lawerance Brown (a Bush appointee) had filed a complaint against Walpin for numerous reasons. St. Hope has agreed to repay $350K.[2]

Legislative Branch

  • Eric Massa, Congressman (D-NY) Resigned to avoid an ethics investigation into his alleged behavior of groping and tickling a young male staffer. (2010) [3]
  • Joe Wilson (R-SC) The congressman from South Carolina interrupted a speech about health care reform by President Barack Obama to a joint session of Congress. After Obama said that no illegal aliens would be accepted under his health plan, Congressman Wilson shouted, "You lie!" The incident resulted in a formal rebuke by the House of Representatives.[4] (2009)
  • Nevada Senator John Ensign (R-NV) resigned his position as Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee on June 16, 2009 after admitting he had an affair with Cynthia Hampton, the wife of a close friend, both of whom were working on his campaign. In 1998 Senator Ensign had called for President Clinton (D) to resign after admitting to sexual acts with Monica Lewinsky. (2009)[5]

2001–2008 George W. Bush Administration

Executive Branch scandals

  • "Lawyergate"[8] Or the Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy refers to the Bush administration firing without explanation, of eleven Republican federal prosecutors whom he himself had appointed. It is alleged they were fired for prosecuting Republicans and not prosecuting Democrats. As congressional hearings were called, a number of senior officials cited executive privilege and resigned rather than testify under oath, including:
  1. Michael A. Battle (R) Director of Executive Office of US Attorneys in the Justice Department. [9]
  2. Bradley Schlozman (R) Director of Executive Office of US Attorneys who replaced Battle[10]
  3. Michael Elston (R) Chief of Staff to Paul McNulty [11]
  4. Paul McNulty (R) Deputy Attorney General [12]
  5. William W. Mercer (R) Associate Attorney General [13]
  6. Kyle Sampson (R) Chief of Staff to Alberto Gonzales [14]
  7. Alberto Gonzales (R) Attorney General of the United States [15]
  8. Monica Goodling (R) Presidential Liaison to the Justice Department [16]
  9. Joshua Bolten Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, found in Contempt of Congress[17]
  10. Sara M. Taylor (R) Aid to Karl Rove [18]
  11. Karl Rove (R) Assistant to the President [19]
  12. Harriet Miers (R) Legal Counsel to the President, found in Contempt of Congress[20]
  • Bush White House e-mail controversy - During the Lawyergate investigation it was discovered that the Bush administration used Republican National Committee (RNC) web servers for millions of emails which were then destroyed, lost or deleted in possible violation of the Presidential Records Act and the Hatch Act. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Andrew Card, Sara Taylor and Scott Jennings all used RNC webservers for the majority of their emails. Of 88 officials, no emails at all were discovered for 51 of them. [21] As many as 5 million e-mails requested by Congressional investigators of other Bush administration scandals were therefore unavailable, lost, or deleted.[22]
  • Lurita Alexis Doan (R) Resigned as head of the General Services Administration. She was under scrutiny for conflict of interest and violations of the Hatch Act.[23] Among other things she asked GSA employees how they could "help Republican candidates." [24]
  • Jack Abramoff scandal in which Abramoff bribed administration officials and legislators as part of his lobbying efforts. See Legislative scandals.
  1. David Safavian (R) Administrator of Procurement Policy for the OMB, found guilty of four counts of lying and sentenced to 18 months
  2. Roger Stillwell (R) Staff in the Department of the Interior under George W. Bush. Pleaded guilty and received two years suspended sentence
  3. Susan Ralston (R) Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to Karl Rove, resigned October 6, 2006 after it became known that she accepted gifts and passed information to her former boss Jack Abramoff
  4. Steven Griles (R) former Deputy to the Secretary of the Interior pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to 10 months [25]
  5. Italia Federici (R) staff to Secretary of Interior, obstruction of justice, four years probation
  6. Mark Zachares (R) staff in the Department of Labor, bribed by Abramoff, guilty of conspiracy to defraud
  7. Robert E. Coughlin (R) Justice Department official pleaded guilty to conflict of interest after accepting bribes from Jack Abramoff (2008)
  • Julie MacDonald (R) Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior, resigned May 1, 2007 after giving government documents to developers (2007)[26]
  • Lester Crawford (R) Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, resigned after 2 months. Pled guilty to conflict of interest and received 3 years suspended sentence and fined $90,000 (2006) [27]
  • Downing Street memo minutes of British secret meeting with the US (dated 23 July 2002, leaked 2005) which include a summary of MI6 Director Sir Richard Dearlove's report that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy" This was called the 'smoking gun' concerning W. Bush's run up to war with Iraq.(2005)[28]
  • Bush administration payment of columnists to say nice things about Republican policies. Illegal payments were made to journalists Armstrong Williams (R), Maggie Gallagher (R) and Michael McManus (R) (2004–2005)[29]
  • Sandy Berger (D) former Clinton security adviser pleads guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully removing classified documents from the National Archives in (2005)[30]
  • Bernard Kerik (R) nomination in 2004 as Secretary of Homeland Security was derailed by past employment of an illegal alien as a nanny, and other improprieties. On Nov 4, 2009 he plead quilty to two counts of tax fraud and five counts of lying to the federal government(2009)[31] and was sentenced to fours years in prison. [31]
  • Torture: Top US officials including Dick Cheney [32] authorized Enhanced interrogation techniques of prisoners, including waterboarding called torture by many, by US troops and the CIA in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. In 2010 Cheney stated on ABC's This Week, "I was a big supporter of waterboarding." [33] (2004)
  • Yellowcake forgery: Just prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration presented evidence to the UN that Iraq was seeking material (yellowcake uranium) in Africa for making nuclear weapons. Though presented as true, it was later found to be not only dubious, but outright false.[34]
  • Plame affair (2004), in which CIA agent Valerie Plame's name was leaked to the press in retaliation for her husband's criticism of the George W. Bush reports which led to the Iraq war.[35] Lewis Libby (R) (Scooter) Chief of Staff to vice president Dick Cheney, was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice March 6, 2007. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000. The sentence was commuted by George W. Bush on July 1, 2007. CIA leak scandal (2003) and Plamegate.)[36]
  • Thomas A. Scully, (R) administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), withheld information from Congress about the projected cost of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, and allegedly threatened to fire Medicare's chief actuary, Richard Foster, if Foster provided the data to Congress. (2003)[37]
  • NSA warrantless surveillance Shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001, President George W. Bush (R) implemented a secret program by the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on American domestic telephone calls, but bypassing the FISA court which must approve all such actions. (2002)[38]
  • Enron collapse (2002) leading to investigation of its CEO Kenneth Lay (R), a former member of the Republican National Committee and once considered a possible pick for Secretary of the Treasury, was a top political ally and financial donor to President George W. Bush. Lay was found guilty of 10 counts of securities fraud, but died before sentencing.[8])
  • John Yoo (R) An attorney in the Office of Legal Counsel inside the Justice Department who, working closely with vice president Dick Cheney and The Bush Six,[39] wrote memos stating the right of the president to -
  1. suspend sections of the ABM Treaty without informing congress [40]
  2. bypass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allowing warrentless wiretapping of US citizens within the United States by the National Security Agency. [41]
  3. state that the First Amendment and Fourth Amendments and the Takings Clause do not apply to the president in time of war as defined in the USA PATRIOT Act [42]
  4. allow Enhanced interrogation techniques because provisions of the War Crimes Act, the Third Geneva Convention, and the Torture convention do not apply. [43]
Many of his memos have since been repudiated and reversed. [44] [45] Later review by the Justice Department reported that Yoo and Jay Bybee used "poor judgement" in the memos, but no charges have yet been filed. [46]

Legislative Branch scandals

  • Ted Stevens Senator (R-AK) convicted on seven counts of bribery and tax evasion October 27, 2008 just prior to the election. He continued his run for re-election, but lost. Once the Republican was defeated in his re-election, new Attorney General Eric Holder (D) dismissed the charges "in the interest of justice" stating that the Justice Department had illegally withheld evidence from defense counsel.[47]
  • Charles Rangel (D-NY) failed to report $75,000 income from the rental of his villa in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and was forced to pay $11,000 in back taxes.(September 2008)[48]
  • Rick Renzi (R-AZ) Announced he would not seek another term. Seven months later, on February 22, 2008 he pleaded not guilty to 35 charges of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.[49]
  • Jack Abramoff Scandal, (R) lobbyist found guilty of conspiracy, tax evasion and corruption of public officials in three different courts in a wide ranging investigation. Currently serving 70 months and fined $24.7 million.[50] See Scandals, Executive Branch. The following were also implicated:
  1. Tom DeLay (R-TX) House Majority Leader, reprimanded twice by House Ethics Committee and aides indicted (2004–2005); eventually DeLay himself was indicted (October 2005); DeLay resigned from the House 9 June 2006.
  2. James W. Ellis (R) runs DeLay's PAC, indicted
  3. John D. Calyandro (R) runs Texans for a Republican Majority, indicted
  4. Adam Kidon business partner of Abramoff, pleaded guilty to fraud, sentenced to 70 months
  5. Michael Scanlon (R) former staff to Tom DeLay: working for Abramoff, pleaded guilty to bribery
  6. Tony Rudy (R) former staff to Tom DeLay, pleaded guilty to conspiracy
  7. Robert Ney (R-OH) bribed by Abramoff, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, sentenced to 30 months
  8. Neil Volz (R) former staff to Robert Ney, pleaded guilty to conspiracy
  9. William Heaton (R) former staff to Robert Ney, pleaded guilty to fraud, 24 months probation
  10. John Albaugh (R) former COS to Ernest Istook (R-OK) pled guilty
  11. Jared Carpenter (R) Counsel of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, pled guilty to income tax evasion, got 45 days, plus 4 years probation
  12. Robert Coughlin (R-PA) pled guilty
  13. Adam Kidan private citizen, pled guilty and received 70 months
  14. Trevor Blackann private citizen, pled guilty
  15. James Hirni, (R) former staff to Tim Hutchinson (R-AR) indicted for wire fraud
  16. Kevin A. Ring, (R) former staff to John Doolittle (R-CA) indicted for 10 counts of corruption
  • John Doolittle (R-CA) both he and his wife are under investigation (January 2008). Under this cloud, Doolittle decided not to run for re-election in November 2008.[51]
  • Duke Cunningham (R-CA) pleaded guilty on November 28, 2005 to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion in what came to be called the Cunningham scandal. Sentenced to over eight years.
  • Kyle Foggo CIA Exec. Director, number 3 in the agency, was indicted February 13, 2007 on charges of fraud, money laundering, conspiracy. Plea bargained to one count of fraud.
  • Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) struck a U.S. Capitol Police officer in the chest after he attempted to stop her from going around a security checkpoint. McKinney apologized on the floor of the House and no charges were filed (March 29, 2006)
  • William J. Jefferson (D-LA) in August 2005 the FBI seized $90,000 in cash from Jefferson's home freezer. He was re-elected anyway, but lost in 2008. He was convicted of 11 counts of bribery and sentenced to 13 years on November 13, 2009.[52]
  1. Brett Pfeffer (D) Jefferson's Chief of Staff was sentenced to 84 months. (2006)[53]
  • Bill Janklow (R-SD) convicted of second-degree manslaughter for running a stop sign and killing a motorcyclist. Resigned from the House and given 100 days in the county jail and three years (2003)[54]
  • Robert Torricelli Senator (D-NJ) after 14 years in the House and one term in the Senate, Torricelli declined to run again when accused of taking illegal contributions from Korean, David Chang (2002)
  • Jim Traficant (D-OH) found guilty on 10 felony counts of financial corruption, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison and expelled from the House (2002)[55]
  • Edward Mezvinsky (D-IA) Pleaded guilty to 31 charges of bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud (2001)[56]

1993–2000 Clinton Administration

Executive Branch scandals

  • Pardongate President Bill Clinton (D) granted 396 pardons at the end of his term, an amount which seemed excessive compared with the 74 granted by his predecessor George H.W. Bush(R), but not when compared to his predecessor Ronald Reagan(R) who pardoned 393.[57] Most of the controversy centered on the circumstances surrounding the pardon of financier Marc Rich.
  • Henry Cisneros (D) Secretary of Housing. Resigned and plead guilty (1999) to a misdemeanor charge of lying to the FBI about the amount of money he paid his former mistress, Linda Medlar while he was Mayor of San Antonio, Texas. He was fined $10,000 (1999)[58]
  • Ronald Blackley, (D) Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy's Chief of Staff, sentenced to 27 months for perjury. Mike Espy was found innocent on all counts. (1999)
  • Bill Clinton President(D) Impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying under oath about sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate and remained in office. (1998)[59]
  • Webster Hubbell (D) Associate Attorney General, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion. Sentenced to 21 months in prison (1995)[60]
  • Whitewater scandal (1994–2000) independent counsel Kenneth Starr (R) investigated the Clinton's role in peddling influence for the Whitewater (real estate) Development Corporation while he was Governor of Arkansas. No criminal charges were brought against either President Bill Clinton (D) or First Lady Hillary Clinton (D)[61]
  • Wampumgate Bruce Babbitt (D), Secretary of the Interior 1993–2001, accused of lying to Congress about influencing a 1995 American Indian tribe casino decision. Babbitt was cleared of all wrongdoing.[62]
  • Filegate alleged misuse of FBI resources by Clinton Security Chief, Craig Livingstone (D), to compile an 'enemies' list (1996); Investigation found insufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing[63]
  • Americorps head Eli Segal (D) was briefly investigated for improper campaign fundraising. The independent prosecutor closed the case without bringing charges. (1996) [64]
  • The People's Republic of China campaign finance controversy (1996) Refers to alleged efforts by China to influence the 1996 elections by directing campaign donations through intermediaries, largely to Democratic candidates including Bill Clinton and Al Gore
  • Vincent Foster (D) the White House lawyer was alleged to have been murdered by either Bill or Hillary Clinton, for various reasons and with varying degrees of involvement. The suicide was investigated by the Park Police Service, the FBI, Independent Consultant Robert Fiske and finally by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr all of whom ruled that it was a simple suicide (1993)[65]
  • Travelgate, involving the firing of White House travel agents. In 1998 Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr (R) exonerated President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton of any involvement (1993)[66]

Legislative Branch scandals

  • Wes Cooley (R-OR), Cooley was convicted of having lied on the 1994 voter information pamphlet about his service in the Army. He was fined and sentenced to two years probation (1997)[67]
  • Newt Gingrich (R-GA), the Speaker of the House, was accused of financial improprieties leading to House reprimand and $300,000 in sanctions [68] leading to his resignation (1997)[69]
  • Walter R. Tucker III (D-CA) resigned from the House before conviction on charges of extortion and income tax fraud while he was Mayor of Compton, California. Sentenced to 27 months in prison.(1996)[70]
  • Carol Moseley-Braun Senator (D-IL) With her siblings, she kept a $28,750 royalty check rather than reimburse her mother's Medicaid bill. They eventually repaid $15,240.(1993)
  • House banking scandal [71](1992) the House of Representatives Bank found that 450 members had overdrawn their checking accounts, but not been penalized. Six were convicted. Twenty two more were singled out by the House Ethics Committee.
  1. Buzz Lukens (R-OH) convicted
  2. Carl D. Perkins (D-KY) convicted
  3. Carroll Hubbard (D-KY)convicted
  4. Mary Rose Oakar (D-OH)convicted
  5. Walter Fauntroy (D-DC) convicted
  6. Jack Russ Sgt. at Arms, convicted
  7. Tommy F. Robinson (R-AR) -996 checks, 16 months overdue
  8. Robert Mrazek (D-NY) -920 checks, 23 months overdue
  9. Robert W. Davis (R-MI) -873 checks, 13 months overdue
  10. Doug Walgren (D-PA) -858 checks, 16 months overdue
  11. Charles F. Hatcher (D-GA) -819 checks, 35 months overdue
  12. Stephen J. Solarz (D-NY) -743 checks, 30 months overdue
  13. Harold Ford, Sr. (D-TN) -743 checks, 30 months overdue
  14. Charles Hayes (D-IL) -715 checks, 15 months overdue
  15. Ronald D. Coleman (D-TX) -673 checks, 23 months overdue
  16. Bill Alexander (D-AR) -497 checks, 18 months overdue
  17. William F. Goodling (R-PA) -430 checks, 9 months overdue
  18. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) -408 checks, 18 months overdue
  19. Ed Feighan (D-OH) -397 checks, 8 months overdue
  20. Mickey Edwards (R-OK) -386 checks, 13 months overdue
  21. Bill Clay (D-MO) -328 checks, 9 months overdue
  22. Tony Coelho (D-CA) -316 checks, 12 months overdue
  23. John Conyers (D-MI) -273 checks, 9 months overdue
  24. Joseph Early (D-MA) -124 checks, 13 months overdue
  25. Douglas H. Bosco (D-CA) -124 checks, 13 months overdue
  26. Jim Bates (D-CA) - 89 checks, 9 months overdue
  1. Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL) Rostenkowski was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison, in 1995.[73]
  2. Joe Kolter (D-PA) Convicted of one count of conspiracy[74] and sentenced to 6 months in prison. [75]
  3. Robert V. Rota Postmaster, convicted of one count of conspiracy and two counts of embezzlement.[72]
  • Jay Kim (R-CA) accepted $250,000 in illegal 1992 campaign contributions and was sentenced to two months house arrest (1992)[76]

1989–1992 George H. W. Bush Administration

Executive Branch scandals

Legislative Branch scandals

  • David Durenberger Senator (R-MN) denounced by Senate for unethical financial transactions and then disbarred (1990). He pled guilty to misuse of public funds and given one year probation (1995)[79]

Judicial Branch scandals

  • Clarence Thomas (R) Supreme Court nominee accused of sexual harassment by former employee Anita Hill. He was approved anyway.[80]
  • Walter Nixon US Judge (D-MS) Was impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate for perjury on November 3, (1989)[81]

1981–1988 Reagan Administration

Executive Branch scandals

  1. Samuel Pierce (R) Secretary of Housing and Urban Development because he made "full and public written acceptance of responsibility" was not charged.[84]
  2. James G. Watt (R) Secretary of Interior, 1981–1983, charged with 25 counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, sentenced to five years probation, fined $5,000 and 500 hours of community service[85]
  3. Deborah Gore Dean, (R) Executive Assistant to (Samuel Pierce, Secretary of HUD 1981–1987, and not charged). Dean was onvicted of 12 counts of perjury, conspiracy, bribery. Sentenced to 21 months in prison (1987)[86]
  4. Phillip D. Winn (R) Assistant Secretary of HUD, 1981–1982, pled guilty to bribery in 1994.[86]
  5. Thomas Demery, (R) Assistant Secretary of HUD, pled guilty to bribery and obstruction[86]
  6. Joseph A. Strauss, (R) Special Assistant to the Secretary of HUD, convicted for accepting payments to favor Puerto Rican land developers in receiving HUD funding.[87]
  7. Silvio D. DeBartolomeis convicted of perjury and bribery.[88]
  • Wedtech scandal Wedtech Corporation convicted of bribery for Defense Department contracts
  1. Edwin Meese (R) Attorney General, resigned but never convicted [89]
  2. Lyn Nofziger (R) White House Press Secretary, conviction of lobbying was overturned.[90]
  3. Mario Biaggi (D-NY) sentenced to 2 1/2 years.[91]
  4. Robert Garcia (D-NY) sentenced to 2 1/2 years.[92]
  5. also convicted was Clarence Mitchell III state Senator from Maryland, see State and Local scandals
  6. also convicted was Michael B. Mitchell state Senator from Maryland, see State and Local scandals
  • Savings and loan scandal in which 747 institutions failed and had to be rescued with $160,000,000,000 of taxpayer monies in connection with the Keating Five. see Legislative scandals.[93]
  • Iran-Contra Affair (1985–1986); A plan conceived by CIA head William Casey (R) and Oliver North (R) of the National Security Counsel to sell TOW missiles to Iran for the return of US hostages and then use part of the money received to fund Contra rebels trying to overthrow the left wing government of Nicaragua, which was in direct violation of Congress' Boland Amendment.[94] Ronald Reagan appeared on TV stating there was no "arms for hostages" deal, but was later forced to admit, also on TV, that yes, there indeed had been:
  1. Caspar Weinberger (R) Secretary of Defense, pardoned before trial by President George H. W. Bush (R)
  2. Robert C. McFarlane (R) National Security Adviser, convicted of withholding evidence, but after aplea bargain was given only 2 years probation. Later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush[95]
  3. Elliott Abrams (R) Asst Sec of State, convicted of withholding evidence, but after a plea bargain was given only 2 years probation. Later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush[96]
  4. Alan D. Fiers Chief of the CIA's Central American Task Force, convicted of withholding evidence and sentenced to one year probation. Later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush [94]
  5. Clair George Chief of Covert Ops-CIA, convicted on 2 charges of perjury, but pardoned by President George H. W. Bush before sentencing.[97]
  6. Oliver North (R) convicted of accepting an illegal gratuity, obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and destruction of documents, but the ruling was overturned since he had been granted immunity.[98]
  7. Fawn Hall, Oliver North's secretary was given immunity from prosecution on charges of conspiracy and destroying documents in exchange for her testimony.[99]
  8. John Poindexter National Security Advisor (R) convicted of 5 counts of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury, defrauding the government, and the alteration and destruction of evidence. The Supreme Court overturned this ruling.[100]
  9. Duane R. Clarridge (R) pardoned before trial by President George H. W. Bush
  10. Richard V. Secord pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress
  11. Albert Hakim pleaded guilty to supplementing the salary of North
  12. Thomas G. Clines convicted of four counts of tax-related offenses for failing to report income from the operations
  13. Carl R. Channell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States
  14. Richard R. Miller pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States
  15. Joseph F. Fernandez indicted on four counts of obstruction and false statements; case dismissed when Attorney General Dick Thornburgh refused to declassify information needed for his defense
  1. D. Lowell Jensen, (R) Deputy Attorney General was held in Contempt of Congress.[104]
  2. C. Madison Brewer A high ranking Justice Department official was held in Contempt of Congress.[104]
  • Michael Deaver (R) Deputy Chief of Staff to Ronald Reagan 1981–85, pleaded guilty to perjury related to lobbying activities and was sentenced to 3 years probation and fined $100,000 [105]
  • Sewergate A scandal in which funds from the EPA were selectively used for projects which would aid politicians friendly to the Reagan administration.
  1. Anne Gorsuch Burford (R) Head of the EPA. Cut the EPA staff by 22% and refused to turn over documents to Congress citing "Executive Privilege" [106], whereupon she was found in Contempt and resigned with twenty of her top employees.(1980) [107]
  2. Rita Lavelle (R) An EPA Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‎ misused ‘superfund' monies and was convicted of perjury. She served six months in prison, was fined $10,000 and given five yrs probation.[108]

Legislative Branch scandals

  • David Durenberger Senator (R-MN), denounced by the Senate for unethical financial transactions (1990) and then disbarred as an attorney.[109] In 1995 he pled guilty to 5 misdemeanor counts of misuse of public funds and was given one years probation.[110]
  • Jesse Helms Senator (R-NC), His campaign was found guilty of 'voter caging' when 125,000 postcards were sent to mainly black neighborhoods and the results used to challenge their residency and therefore their right to vote. (1990) [111]
  • Barney Frank Congressman (D-MA), Lived with convicted felon Steve Gobie who ran a gay prostitution operation from Frank's apartment without his knowledge. Frank was Admonished by Congress for using his congressional privilege to eliminate 33 parking tickets attributed to Gobie.(1987) [112]
  • Donald E. "Buz" Lukens (R-OH), Convicted of two counts of bribery and conspiracy. (1996) [113] See also Sex Scandals.
  • Anthony Lee Coelho (D-CA) Resigns rather than face inquiries from both the Justice Department and the House Ethics Committee about an allegedly unethical "junk bond" deal, which netted him $6,000. He was never charged with any crime (1989) [114]
  • Jim Wright (D-TX) House Speaker, resigned after an ethics investigation led by Newt Gingrich alleged improper receipt of $145,000 in gifts (1989) [115]
  • Keating Five (1980–1989) The failure of Lincoln Savings and Loan led to Charles Keating (R) donating to the campaigns of five Senators for help. Keating served 42 months in prison.[116] The five were investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee which found that:
  1. Alan Cranston Senator (D-CA) reprimanded[117]
  2. Dennis DeConcini Senator (D-AZ) acted improperly[118]
  3. Don Riegle Senator (D-MI) acted improperly[118]
  4. John Glenn Senator (D-OH) used poor judgment[118]
  5. John McCain Senator (R-AZ) used poor judgment[118]
  • Abscam FBI sting involving fake 'Arabs' trying to bribe 31 congressmen.(1980) [119] The following six Congressmen were convicted:
  1. Harrison A. Williams Senator (D-NJ) Convicted on 9 counts of bribery and conspiracy. Sentenced to 3 years in prison.[120]
  2. John Jenrette Representative (D-SC) sentenced to two years in prison for bribery and conspiracy.[121]
  3. Richard Kelly (R-FL) Accepted $25K and then claimed he was conducting his own investigation into corruption. Served 13 months.[122]
  4. Raymond Lederer (D-PA) "I can give you me" he said after accepting $50K. Sentenced to 3 years.[123]
  5. Michael Myers (D-PA) Accepted $50K saying, " talks and bullshit walks." Sentenced to 3 years and was expelled from the House.[124]
  6. Frank Thompson (D-NJ) Sentenced to 3 years.[125]
  7. Also arrested were NJ State Senator Angelo Errichetti (D) [126] and members of the Philadelphia City Council. See Local Scandals.
  • Mario Biaggi (D-NY), Convicted of obstruction of justice and accepting illegal gratuities he was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison and fined $500K for his role in the Wedtech Scandal, see above. Just before expulsion from the House, he resigned. The next year he was convicted of another 15 counts of obstruction and bribery. (1988) [127]
  • James Traficant (D-OH), convicted of ten felony counts including bribery, racketeering and tax evasion and sentenced to 8 years in prison. He was expelled from the House July 24, (2002.)[128]
  • Frederick W. Richmond (D-NY),Convicted of tax evasion and possession of marijuana. Served 9 months(1982) [129]

Judicial Branch scandals

  • Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Federal District court judge impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate of soliciting a bribe (1989).[130] Subsequently elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1992)
  • Harry Claiborne (D-NE), Federal District court Judge impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate on two counts of tax evasion. He served over one year in prison.[131]

1977–1980 Carter Administration

Executive Branch scandals

Legislative branch scandals

  • Charles Diggs (D-MI), convicted on 29 charges of mail fraud and filing false payroll forms which formed a kickback scheme with his staff. Sentenced to 3 years (1978) [134]
  • Herman Talmadge Senator (D-GA), On October 11, 1979 Talmadge was denounced by the Senate for "improper financial conduct." He failed to be re-elected. (1979) [135]
  • Koreagate scandal involving alleged bribery of more than 30 members of Congress by the South Korean government represented by Tongsun Park. Richard T. Hanna (D-CA) was convicted and sentenced to 6 years in prison. Otto E. Passman (D-LA) was accused of bribery, but found innocent. Several other Koreans and Congressmen were allegedly involved but not charged.[136]
  • John Connolly (R-TX), Milk Money scandal. Accused of accepting a $10K bribe. He was acquitted. (1975) [137]

1974–1976 Ford Administration

Executive Branch scandals

Pardon by President Gerald Ford (R) of former President Richard Nixon (R), (who had appointed Ford his vice-president), just before Nixon could be tried for conspiracy for his role in Watergate(1974) [138]

Legislative Branch scandals

  • Andrew J. Hinshaw (R-CA) Congressman convicted of accepting bribes while Assessor of Orange County. He served one year in prison. (1977) [139]
  • Wayne L. Hays (D-OH), resigned from Congress after hiring and promoting his mistress, Elizabeth Ray See sex scandals. (1976)[140]
  • Henry Helstoski (D-NJ) Indicted on charges of accepting bribes to aid immigrants but the case was dismissed by the Supreme Court. (1976) [141]
  • James F. Hastings (R-NY), convicted of kickbacks and mail fraud. Took money from his employees for personal use. Served 14 months at Allenwood penitentiary (1976) [142]
  • John V. Dowdy (D-TX), Served 6 months in prison for perjury. (1973) [143]
  • Bertram Podell (D-NY), pleaded guilty to conspiracy and conflict of interest. He was fined $5,000 and served four months in prison (1974)[144]

Judicial Branch scandals

  • Otto Kerner, Jr. (D) Resigned as a judge of the Federal Seventh Circuit Court District after conviction for bribery, mail fraud and tax evasion while Governor of Illinois. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison and fined $50,000. (1974) [145]

1970–1973 Nixon Administration

Executive Branch scandals

  • Spiro Agnew (R-MD), Richard Nixon's Vice President, convicted of tax fraud stemming from bribery charges in Maryland and forced to resign.[146] Nixon replaced him as V.P. with Gerald R. Ford (R-MI)(1973)
  • Bebe Rebozo investigated for accepting large contribution to Nixon campaign. No charges filed (1973)[147]
  • Watergate (1972–1973) Republican 'bugging' of the Democratic Party National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel led to a burglary which was discovered. The cover up of the affair by President Richard Nixon (R) and his staff resulted in 69 government officials being charged and 48 pleading guilty. Eventually, Nixon resigned his position.[148]
  1. John N. Mitchell (R) Attorney General, convicted of perjury.[149]
  2. Richard Kleindienst (R) Attorney General, found guilty of "refusing to answer questions" given one month in jail.[150]
  3. Jeb Stuart Magruder (R) Head of Committee to Re-elect the President, pled guilty to 1 count of conspiracy, August 1973[151]
  4. Frederick C. LaRue (R) Advisor to John Mitchell, convicted of obstruction of justice.[152]
  5. H. R. Haldeman (R) Chief of Staff for Nixon, convicted of perjury [153]
  6. John Ehrlichman (R) Counsel to Nixon, convicted of perjury.[154]
  7. Egil Krogh Jr. (R) Aid to John Ehrlichman, sentenced to 6 months.[155]
  8. John W. Dean III (R) Counsel to Nixon, convicted of obstruction of justice.[156]
  9. Dwight L. Chapin (R) Deputy Asst to Nixon, convicted of perjury.[157]
  10. Herbert W. Kalmbach (R) personal attorney to Nixon, convicted of illegal campaigning.[158]
  11. Charles W. Colson (R) Special Consul to Nixon, convicted of obstruction justice.[150]
  12. Herbert L. Porter (R) Aid to the Committee to Re-elect the President. Convicted of perjury.[159]
  13. G. Gordon Liddy (R) Special Investigations Group, convicted of burglary.[160]
  14. E. Howard Hunt (R) ‘security consultant,’ convicted of burglary.[161]
  15. James W. McCord Jr. (R) guilty of six charges of burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping.[162]
  16. Virgilio Gonzalez guilty of burglary.[163]
  17. Bernard Barker guilty of burglary.[164]
  18. Eugenio Martinez guilty of burglary.[165]
  19. Frank Sturgis guilty of burglary.[166]

Judicial Branch scandals

  • Harold Carswell (R): Was not nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court (1970) after publication of a 20-year-old speech: "I yield to no man... in the firm, vigorous belief in the principles of white supremacy." Was also alleged to be hostile to women's rights. [169] Later arrested in (1976) for homosexual advances in a men's washroom. [170]

1963–1969 Johnson Administration

Executive Branch scandals

Legislative Branch scandals

Judicial Branch scandals

  • Abe Fortas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (D): resigned when a possible financial scandal came to light. No charges were ever filed. (1969)[177]

1960–1963 Kennedy Administration

Executive Branch scandals

  • The Bay of Pigs was the invasion of Cuba by US backed anti-Castro rebels, trained and transported by the US, but at the last minute US naval and air support was withheld. They were defeated in two days. (1961)

1952–1959 Eisenhower Administration

Executive Branch Scandals

  • Richard Nixon (R): V-P nominee delivers "Checkers Speech", to deflect scandal about $18,000 in gifts, maintaining the only personal gift he had received was a dog (1952)
  • (Llewelyn) Sherman A. Adams (R), Chief of Staff to Dwight Eisenhower: wife was given a Vicuna Coat as a possible bribe; cited for contempt of Congress in refusing to answer questions about gifts. Resigned (1958)

Legislative Branch scandals

  • McCarthyism: Joseph McCarthy, Senator (R-WI), Head of the House of Un-American Activities Committee, which was a well publicized and vicious congressional investigation into the supposed spread of Communism in the military, government, Hollywood and society in general. Aided by Congressman Richard Nixon (R-CA)(1948–1957)

1945–1951 Truman Administration

Executive Branch scandals

  • Internal Revenue Service investigation by the Justice Department lead to the firing or resignation of 166 lower level employees causing President Harry Truman (D) to be stained by charges of corruption (1950)

Legislative Branch scandals

  • J. Parnell Thomas (R-NJ): a member of the House of Un-American Activities Committee, was convicted of fraud and given an 18 month sentence and a fine, resigning from Congress in 1950. He was imprisoned in Danbury Prison with two of the Hollywood Ten he had helped put there. Pardoned by Truman (D) in 1952
  • Andrew J. May (D-KY) Convicted of bribery in 1947 in conjunction with war munitons manufacture. Was pardoned by Truman (D) in 1952.


Legislative Branch

Marion Zioncheck (D-WA) Killed after he jumped or was possibly pushed out a window in Seattle, WA while still in office. He was known to have been feuding with J. Edgar Hoover (1936)

1920–1923 Harding Administration

Executive Branch scandals

  • Warren G. Harding (R) President 1920-1923. See Sex Scandals. His administration was also marred by scandals stemming from men in his administration who followed him from Ohio who came to be known as the Ohio Gang. They include;
  1. Albert Fall (R) Secretary of the Interior who was bribed by Harry F. Sinclair for control of the Teapot Dome federal oil reserves in Wyoming. He was the first U.S. cabinet member to ever be convicted; he served two years in prison. (1922)
  2. Edwin C. Denby (R), Secretary of the Navy: resigned for his part in the Teapot Dome Scandal
  3. Charles R. Forbes (R) appointed by Harding as the first director of the new Bureau of Veterans Affairs. After constructing and modernizing VA hospitals, he was convicted of bribery and corruption and sentenced to two years in jail.
  4. Charles Cramer (R) Forbes' general counsel, committed suicide. (1923)
  5. Harry M. Daugherty (R), Attorney General: resigned on March 28, 1924, because of an investigation about a bootlegging kickback scheme by his chief aide Jess Smith. Found not guilty (1924)
  6. Jess Smith (R) aid to Attorney General Daugherty (R) Destroyed incriminating papers and committed suicide.
  7. Thomas W. Miller (R), Head of the Office of Alien Property: convicted of fraud. He sold valuable German patents seized after World War I for far below market price. He also had taken bribes.


Executive Branch

Legislative Branch

  • William Lorimer (R) Senator, The 'blond boss of Chicago' was expelled from the U.S. Senate in 1912 for accepting bribes.[178]


Executive Branch

Legislative Branch


Executive Branch

Legislative Branch

Judicial Branch scandal

  • John Pickering, Federal Judge: impeached and convicted in absentia by U.S. Senate for drunkenness and use of profanity on the bench (1804)


Executive Branch

  • XYZ Affair: French seizure of US ships prompted a Quasi-War; a treaty was signed (1777–1800)
  • Conway Cabal: movement or conspiracy to remove George Washington as commander of the Continental Army (1777–1778)
  • Silas Deane: accused of mismanagement and treason while ambassador to France (1777)
  • Hutchinson Letters Affair, Thomas Hutchinson, Royal Governor of Massachusetts, advised Matthew Lyon (Democratic-Republican KY) First congressman accused of ethics violation for spitting on Ralph Griswold (Federalist-CN.) Later found guilty of violating John Adam's Sedition acts, sentenced to four years in jail during which he was re-elected (1798)

State and local scandals

Listed in alphabetic order by state within each time period.


  • California State Senator Roy Ashburn (R) of Bakersfield, after arrest on two counts of DUI, admitted he was gay on a local radio station. Even though he voted against several gay rights initiatives, the divorced father of four was noted leaving a gay bar just before his arrest. [179]
  • Illinois Mayor Nicholas Blase of Niles, IL was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for a kickback scheme in which he got 25% for city business steered to a friend. [180]
  • Utah State Representative Kevin Garn (R) The Utah House Majority Leader resigned after admitting that in 1985 he had shared a hot tub with naked Cheryl Maher who was 15 at the time. (2010)[182]
  • Utah State Representative Sheldon Killpack (R) The Utah House Majority Leader before Garn, resigned after being charged with suspicion of DUI. (2010) [183]


  • Alabama Governor Don Siegelman (D-AL) found guilty of bribery, mail fraud and obstruction of justice 6/29/2006, sentenced to 88 months.
  • Alabama Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford (D-AL) was arrested on December 1, 2008 by the FBI on a 101 count indictment alleging conspiracy, bribery, fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns in connection with a long-running bribery scheme.
  • Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) Vice president nominee in the 2008 elections. Troopergate refers to her alleged dismissal of Walt Monegan because he wouldn't fire State Trooper Mike Wooten, Palin's ex-brother-in-law. A bipartisan Council of Alaskan State Senators and Representatives found that Palin "abused her power" and violated the State Executive Ethics Act.[184][185][186] In response, Palin asked a three person state personnel board to investigate and they found no wrong-doing. Some ridiculed the move, noting that the personnel board answered to Palin.[187] The three person board included one who was reappointed by Palin (the Governor appoints members to the Board) and another person who contributed to her campaign.[188][189]
  • Alaska political corruption probe in which VECO Corporation an oilfield service corporation, was investigated by the IRS, FBI and Department of Justice. Veco executives Bill Allen and VP Rick Smith pled guilty to federal charges of extortion, bribery, and conspiracy to impede the Internal Revenue Service.[190] The charges involved bribing Alaska lawmakers to vote in favor of an oil tax law favored by VECO that was the subject of vigorous debate during the regular and two special sessions of the Alaska Legislature in 2006,[191] and were part of a larger probe of political corruption in Alaska by federal authorities.
  1. Thomas Anderson (R) State Representative for District 19. Found guilty of seven felony counts of extortion, bribery, conspiracy, and money laundering. Sentenced on October 15, 2007 to a term of 60 months in prison.
  2. Pete Kott (R) State Representative for District 17. On September 25, 2007, he was found guilty on three charges of bribery and sentenced to six years in prison and fined $10,000.
  3. Vic Kohring (R) State Representative convicted on November 1, 2007, of 3 counts of bribery by the Veco Corporation. In May 2008 he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
  4. Jim Clark (R) Chief of Staff to Governor Frank Murkowski. On March 4, 2008, Clark pleaded guilty to one felony conspiracy charge involving the Alaska political corruption probe.
  5. Bruce Weyhrauch (R) State Representative of Juneau, has been indicted.
  6. John Cowdery (R) State Senator of O district. Convicted 3/10/09 10. Sentenced to six months house arrest and a $25,000 fine.
  7. Ted Stevens Senator (R-AK) Veco Corporation was also responsible for "extensive" remodeling at Stevens' home which doubled in size. Stevens was convicted on all seven charges on October 27, 2008. The charges were later dismissed by Attorney General Eric Holder (D) on April 1, 2009 citing problems with the federal prosecutors case. See Federal Scandals.
  • California State Senator Carole Migden (D-CA) was accused by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) that she did not properly transfer campaign funds for 2008 Primary Election Race. The FPPC investigators found 89 violations in campaign finance reporting and they had prevented her from using the $647,000 from previous races. The FPPC settled the dispute with Migden for a record $350,000 fine. Migden would go on to lose her reelection bid to fellow Democrat Assemblyman Mark Leno(2008)
  • California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-CA) was accused on October 10, 2007 of spending tens of thousands of dollars of campaign money for personal expenses, such as $1,800 for a meal at a Parisian restaurant and $5,000 for wine from Bordeaux (2007)
  • California Senator Pro Tem Don Perata (D-CA) has been under an FBI investigation for over four years for accepting money from Indian tribes while sponsoring a bill to expand Indian gaming. In May 2007, the East Bay Express, an alternative weekly in the Bay Area, published a two-part investigation of Perata accusing him of manipulating liberal causes for his own personal and political gains and also alleges that he used campaign donations to support an indulgent lifestyle and detailed other possible areas of corruption. (2007)
  • California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley (D-CA) was accused of laundering campaign funds and sexual abuse, though he was never charged. He resigned. (2005)
  • California Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush (R-CA) resigned on June 28, 2000, rather than face impeachment for campaign-finance violations arising out of insurance-industry settlements after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. However, prosecutors later found no wrongdoings and dismissed all charges. (2000)
  • Connecticut - In 2004 Governor John G. Rowland (R-CT) Rowland resigned from office during a corruption investigation, and later pleaded guilty in federal court to a one-count with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax fraud.[192] He served ten months in a federal prison followed by four months house arrest, ending in June, 2006.
  • Florida Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer (D-FL) jailed on suspicions of electoral fraud in March 2005; charges were dismissed in April 2005 and he returned to office. Ernest Page served as interim mayor while Dyer was facing charges. In 2006, Ernest Page (D) was arrested and convicted for bribery and official misconduct while in the mayor's office; he was sentenced to 42 months in prison.[193]
  • Florida, Senator Gary Siplin (D-FL) was convicted of third-degree felony and grand theft of $5,000 or more for using the state employees for his election campaign (2006)
  • Georgia Congressman David Scott (D-GA) has expended $52,000 to $344,000 to himself, friends, family and business from campaigns every election cycle since 2002. Shortly after the 2006 election, he was served with an IRS tax lien for over $153,000.[194]
  • Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) charged with conspiracy to commit mail, wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. He was also accused of "Pay to Play" schemes, including the sale of President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. He was impeached and removed from office (January 28, 2009)
  1. Lon Monk (D) former chief of staff to Rod Blagojevich plead quilty to one count of mail fraud (2009)[195]
  2. Christopher Kelly (D) advisor to Rod Blagojevich plead guilty to fax fraud. (2009) [196]
  • Illinois Governor George H. Ryan (R-IL) illegal sale of government licenses and contracts as Secretary of IL State. Convicted (2006)
  • Chicago Hired Truck Program (2005)
  • Chicago alderman Percy Giles (D-IL) sentenced to 3 years in prison for racketeering, extortion, among other things in 2000.
  • Chicago 20th ward alderman Arenda Troutman (D) was arrested and charged with bribery in 2007.
  • Chicago City Clerk Jim Laski (D-IL) pleaded guilty to pocketing bribes for steering city business to trucking companies (2006).
  • Chicago Alderman of the 29th ward Issac 'Ike' Carothers (D) Was indicted for bribery and Tax evasion and sentenced to 28 months in prison.(2009) [197]
  • Chicago Alderman Ed Vrdolyak (R) plead guilty to Tax and Mail Fraud charges. [198]
  • Illinois Antoin Rezko, a member of Barack Obama's (D) senate fundraising committee was convicted by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of 16 felony corruption charges (June 2008)
  • Illinois The former Mayor of Cicero, Betty Loren-Maltese (R) was convicted of racketeering, wire fraud and mail fraud for her role in stealing about 12 million dollars. In addition to her 8 year prison term, she was fined $100,000 and ordered to pay more than $8 million restitution. (2003)
  • Massachusetts State Senator Diane Wilkerson (D-MA) was video taped by the FBI stuffing bribe money into her bra. Also charged with tax evasion (1997), ethics violations (2001) and perjury (2005). She resigned the Senate in November 2008, but still faces charges.
  • Maryland Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon (D-MD) was indicted on 12 counts of perjury, theft and misconduct in office (January 2009)
  • Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. (D-MD) telephoning Maryland Court of Appeals Judges ex parte, trying to lobby them not to overturn the unconstitutional redistricting plan he had championed (2002)
  • Maryland Former Maryland state senator Thomas L. Bromwell (D-MD) was indicted in 2005 on 30 counts of federal racketeering, corruption, and fraud charges, in alleged conspiracy to wield influence to benefit construction company Poole and Kent, in exchange for concealed payments and other favors
  • Michigan Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D-MI) with his Chief-of-Staff Christine Beatty, fired two police officers for investigating claims that Kilpatrick had used his security unit to cover up their extramarital affair and lied about it under oath. Both pled guilty and were sentenced to 4 months in prison with 5 years probation. (2008)
  • Nebraska State Treasurer Lorelee Byrd (R-NE) accused of massive improper check-writing; guilty plea to one misdemeanor charge of official misconduct and resigned in 2006
  • Nebraska Former Douglas County Election Commissioner Pat McPherson (R-NE) accused of groping a 17-year-old girl wearing Red Robin mascot. City Councilman Chuck Sigerson was accused of disturbing her piece by touching the tail of the costume. Event supposedly happened at 8 P.M. on a Friday night and at the table were two company executives, a Sunday school teacher, Sigerson's wife, and the wives of the executives. McPherson was acquitted and the jury voted to acquit Sigerson 4-2, so the prosecutor dismissed the charges. McPherson resigned from his position at the Governor's request, before the trial and acquittal; Councilman Sigerson was re-elected in 2005.
  • New Jersey An FBI sting operation indicted 44 New Jersey officials and several Rabbis, mainly for bribery, counterfeiting of intellectual property, money laundering, organ harvesting, and political corruption. Arrested were state legislators Harvey Smith-(D) and Daniel M. Van Pelt-(R) Mayor of Hoboken Peter J. Cammarano, Mayor of Secaucus Dennis Elwell, and Mayor of Ridgefield Anthony Suarez. July 23, 2009.
  • New Jersey Jim McGreevey Governor (D-NJ) Resigned from office 11/15/07 after admitting his homosexuality and the inappropriate appointment of his alleged male-sex partner to a government paid office.(2004)
  • New Jersey State Senator and former Newark Mayor Sharpe James (D-NJ) James is accused of numerous corruption charges including, mail fraud, conspiracy, wire fraud and using city money to boost his salary and pension and to pay for his numerous sexual affairs. (2007)
  • New Jersey State Senator Wayne Bryant (D-NJ) pension padding, no-show jobs, mail fraud, wire fraud and bribery. (2007)
  • New Jersey Former State Senator Joseph Coniglio (D-NJ) indicted for abusing state grants, mail fraud and extortion. (2008)
  • New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) withdraws his bid to be President-Elect Obama's Commerce Secretary due to an investigation by a federal grand jury into how a California company that contributed to Richardson's political activities won a New Mexico transportation contract worth more than $1 million (January 4, 2009)
  • New York Queens Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-NY) charged for assaulting his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, resulting her in an injury to the left eye (December 19, 2008)
  • Ohio Governor Bob Taft (R-OH) pleads no contest and is convicted on four first-degree misdemeanor ethics violations (2005)
  • Ohio Coingate The Bureau of Workers' Compensation loss of $215 million in a high-risk fund and loss of $50 million in state funds in a rare-coin investment fund run by Tom Noe. Most of the money went to the Ohio Republican Party. (2005)
  • Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann (D-OH) resigns from the post of Attorney General because of a sex scandal and harassment with aides. He resigned on May 14, 2008. Ohio's three important newspapers had called for his resignation.
  • Ohio Cuyahoga County, County Commissioner James "Jimmy" DiMora and County Treasurer Frank Russo and numerous contractors are investigated for construction work done at their houses. There also was dealings of the AT Tower and proposed County Administration building improprieties dealing with asbestos removal contracting. The FBI raided Commissioner DiMora's home in Independence, Ohio and Treasurer Russo's home in Gates Mills, Ohio.
  • Ohio Cuyahoga County, County Recorder Patrick O'Malley is arrested for having pornographic images on his personal computer. He sentenced and lost his law license. In Cuyahoga County, the recorder's office is responsible for deeds and mortgage records of the county.
  1. John Ford State Senator (D) Sentenced to 66 months for bribery.
  2. Kathryn Bowers State Senator (D) Pled guilty to one count of bribery.
  3. Ward Crutchfield State Senator (D) Pled guilty to one count of bribery.
  4. Chris Newton State Representative (R) Sentenced to one year for bribery.
  • Texas Sharon Keller (R) Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. After a US Supreme Court action, on September 25, 2007, lawyers for convicted killer Michael Wayne Richard wanted a stay of execution. Due to computer problems, however, they could not file the request before 5pm when the clerk's office closed and requested to file late. When asked, Judge Keller stated that the clerk's office must close at 5, and Richard was executed later that night. On February 19, 2009 a motion of impeachment was filed with the state legislature. (2009)
  • Washington Spokane Mayor James West (R-WA) an opponent of gay rights, denied accusations of having molested two boys while he was a sheriff's deputy and Boy Scout leader in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but came under investigation (2005) for offering municipal jobs to men he met in gay online chat rooms. West was ousted in a recall vote December 2005. In 2006, West was cleared of criminal charges by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Puerto Rico Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá (D) indicted by the United States on 19 counts of corruption and conspiracy. On August 19, 2008, he was indicted a second time, with four counts of Honest Services Wire Fraud, 18 USC 1343, 1346 and 2, and a fifth count of Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, 18 USC 1956(h).


  • Alabama Governor Harold Guy Hunt (R-AL) convicted of improperly using campaign money and removed from office (1993); received a rare full pardon due to the confession of his accountant, Gene McKenzie (1998).
  • Arizona "AZSCAM" legislators caught on videotape taking payoffs for favors to gambling figure. Ten members resigned or removed. (1991)
  • Arizona Governor John Fife Symington III (R-AZ) convicted of fraud (1997)
  • Arkansas Governor James Guy Tucker, Jr. (D-AR), convicted of fraud conspiracy (1996); See related Whitewater scandal, under Federal-Level Scandals
  • Arkansas Governor William Jefferson Clinton (D-AR): See Federal-level scandals, the accusations of which followed him as US President
  • California Senator Alan Robbins (D-CA) and Senate Insurance Committee Chairman resigned on November 21, 1991, in advance of pleading guilty to federal racketeering charges in connection with insurance-industry bribes.
  • Florida Katherine Harris (R-FL) is elected to the State Senate in 1994 after receiving at least $20,000 in donations from key Riscorp employees who had been given bonuses specifically to enable their donations. Several other prominent Florida politicians were accused of writing preferential legislation that benefited Riscorp.
  • Illinois state representative James DeLeo (D-IL) caught in the "Operation Greylord" investigation of corruption in Cook County. He was indicted by a federal grand jury for taking bribes and negotiated guilty plea on a misdemeanor tax offense, and was placed on probation (1992)
  • Illinois state representative Joe Kotlarz (D-IL) convicted and sentenced to jail for theft and conspiracy for pocketing in about $200,000 for a sale of state land to a company he once served as legal counsel (1997)
  • Illinois state senator Bruce A. Farley (D-IL) sentenced to 18 months in prison for mail fraud (1999)
  • Illinois state senator John A. D’Arco Jr. (D-IL) served about 3 years in prison for bribery and extortion (1995)
  • Illinois Chicago alderman Lawrence S. Bloom (D) sentenced to 6 months in 1999 for filing a false tax return.
  • Illinois Chicago alderman Jesse J. Evans (D) sentenced to 41 months in prison in 1997 for racketeering, extortion, conspiracy, attempted extortion, mail fraud, influence peddling, filing false tax returns, and obstruction of justice.
  • Illinois Chicago alderman Virgil E. Jones Jr. (D) in 1999 was sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison for extortion.
  • Illinois Chicago alderman Joseph A. Martínez (D) in 1998 pleaded guilty to ghost payrolling and was sentenced to 5 months in prison.
  • Illinois Chicago alderman Ambrosio Medrano (D) pleaded guilty to extortion in 1996 and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
  • Illinois Chicago alderman Allan J. Streeter (D) pleaded guilty to extortion and filing false income tax returns and was sentenced to prison in 1998.
  • Illinois Chicago alderman Fred B. Roti (D) was sentenced to 48 months in 1993 for racketeering, conspiracy, bribery, among other things.
  • Illinois Chicago judge Thomas J. Maloney Jr. (D) sentenced to almost 16 years in prison for taking bribes, extortion and obstruction of justice in 1994.
  • Illinois Chicago City Treasurer Edward Rosewell (D) pleaded guilty to mail fraud but was not sentenced due to an illness that he died from soon after. His conviction was vacated in 1999.
  • Illinois Chicago City Treasurer Miriam Santos (D) originally sentenced to 40 months for extortion and mail fraud but the sentence was overturned on appeal. She subsequently pleaded guilty to mail fraud and sentenced to 3 months, only served 17 days in prison.
  • Illinois State Treasurer Jerry Cosentino (D-IL) was convicted on federal check kiting charges (1992).
  • Maryland State Senator Larry Young (D-MD) forced out of office despite acquittal on corruption charges (1990s)
  • Maryland Lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano (D) convicted of mail fraud in connection with campaign contributions (1990s), but later returned to lobbying in Annapolis
  • Maryland politician Ruthann Aron (R) (Montgomery County Planning Board member and former 1994 Republican candidate for U.S. Senate) who ran on a "tough on crime" platform convicted of hiring "contract" hit man William H. Mossburg Jr., in 1997, to kill her husband and a lawyer (1998)
  • Minnesota State Senator Sam Solon (D-MN) Pleaded guilty in 1995 to telecommunications fraud for letting his ex-wife make $2,430 in calls on his State Senate telephone line.
  • Nebraska State Treasurer Frank Marsh (R-NE) convicted of misdemeanor charges for making personal, long-distance telephone calls (1991)
  • New York highest court Chief Judge Sol Wachtler, scandal involving obscene telephone calls and extortion (1993)
  • Texas Sharon Keller (R) Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals who created controversy when she refused a retrial for a mentally disabled man, Roy Criner, despite DNA evidence which appeared to prove his innocence. In 2000 then-Governor George W. Bush pardoned Criner. See local scandals 2009 (1998)


  • Arizona Governor Evan Mecham (R-AZ) Faced with recall, pending criminal charges for illegal financial dealings (of which he was later acquitted), amidst public outcry over his derogatory remarks about African-Americans and gays, and his cancellation of Arizona's observance of the Martin Luther King holiday (which led to a boycott of Arizona by various groups). He was impeached and removed from office. (1988)
  • Illinois former Governor Daniel Walker (D-IL) convicted (1987) of wrongdoing in connection with Savings & Loan scandal and sentenced to federal penitentiary.
  • Illinois Operation Greylord, involving influence peddling and bribery of Circuit Court judges (1980s)
  • Maryland State Senator Tommie Broadwater, Jr. (D-MD), convicted of food stamp fraud. (1983)
  • Maryland State Senator Clarence Mitchell III (D-MD), sentenced to 2 1/2 years for bribery and obstruction in regards to the Wedtech scandal (1988) [203]
  • Maryland State Senator Michael Mitchell (D-MD), (brother of Clarence) sentenced to 2 1/2 years for bribery and obstruction in regards to the Wedtech scandal (1988) [203]
  • Nebraska Omaha Mayor Mike Boyle (D-NE) was recalled in a special election after being accused of misconduct in office. (1987)
  • Nebraska Attorney General Paul Douglas (D-NE) impeached for his dealings with the head of a failed savings and loan. (1984)
  • New York Lee Alexander Mayor of Syracuse, (D-NY), Was indicted in July 1987 over a $1.5 million kickback scandal and pled guilty to racketeering and tax evasion charges. Served 6 years in prison. (1988)
  • Ohio Donald E. "Buz" Lukens Convicted Contributing to the Delinquincy of a Minor and sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $500. See Sex Scandals 1990 and Legislative Scandals 1982 [204]
  • Ohio Summit County Probate Judge James V. Barbuto was accused of trading sexual favors with female defendants for leniency in their cases. He was exposed on national TV by newsman Geraldo Rivera (1980) who emphasized his preference for being spanked while wearing women's undergarments. Classified here because it was less a Sex Scandal than a "crooked judge" scandal,
  • Oklahoma OkScam, or the County Commissioner scandal, A kickback scandal resulting in the conviction of 200 individuals, including over 2/3rds of the sitting county commissioners, representing 60 of the 77 Oklahoma counties. (1981–1984)
  • Pennsylvania State Treasurer Budd Dwyer (R) committed suicide on television before he was to be sentenced on bribery and related convictions. (1987)
  • Rhode Island Governor Edward D. DiPrete (R) 1985-91, pled guilty to bribery, extortion and racketeering.


  • Illinois Secretary of State Paul Powell (politician) (D-IL) was found with $800,000 in cash in a shoe box in his hotel room. He died in 1970 and was never convicted (1970)
  • Illinois Governor Otto Kerner (D-IL) Served from 1961–68. Was finally convicted of bribery, conspiracy, income-tax evasion, mail fraud and perjury in connection with money he earned from racetrack stock while governor. He had been appointed a District Judge but resigned when found guilty in 1974.
  • Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew (R-MD) (see Federal-level Scandals), as he was not convicted until after he became Nixon's VP) Convicted (1973)
  • Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel (D-MD) convicted of mail fraud and racketeering (1977)
  • Ohio Cincinnati City Council member (and later Mayor) Jerry Springer (D) resigned in 1974 after a vice investigation uncovered that he had paid a prostitute with a personal check.
  • Oklahoma After his term, Governor David Hall (D) convicted of criminal financial acts committed while in office (1975)
  • Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton (D-TN) (1976–1979) lost his reelection bid after exposure of a bribery scandal. Just before leaving office, he issued a large number of pardons to convicted felons, apparently in exchange for bribes. His successor was sworn in ahead of schedule in order to terminate Blanton's issuance of pardons.
  • Texas George Parr (D), the so-called "Duke of Duval County", suspected but never convicted of various illegal activities, including ballot box stuffing and fraud (1905–1975)
  • Texas The Veterans' Land Board scandal tainted many prominent state politicians, including Governor Allan Shivers (D-TX) in (1954)
  • Texas Sharpstown scandal (1971–1972)
  • West Virginia Governor William W. Barron (D) 1961–65, guilty of jury tampering, sentenced to 4 years in prison. (1971)
  • Michigan Governor John B. Swainson (D) pled guilty to perjury in 1975.


  • Illinois Auditor of Public Accounts Orville Hodge (R) pleaded guilty to bank fraud, embezzlement and forgery and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1956.
  • Louisiana Governor Earl Long (D-LA) committed to insane asylum while in office (1959)
  • Massachusetts James Michael Curley (D)Served four terms as mayor of Boston until convicted of mail fraud. In June 1947, he was sentenced to 6–18 months in a federal prison. Curley served five months before being pardoned by President Truman. (1947)
  • New Hampshire former Governor Llewelyn Sherman Adams (R-NH), Chief of Staff to President Eisenhower, forced from office in "Vicuna Coat" scandal involving giving special favors to givers of gifts (1958)
  • Louisiana Governor Richard W. Leche (D-LA) His term in office was so corrupt that it came to be known as Louisiana Scandals. In 1940 he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. (1940)


  • California San Francisco Mayor Eugene Edward Schmitz and Abe Ruef convicted of graft and bribery, including misconduct during the Great Earthquake (1906–1907); convictions later overturned on appeal. (1907)
  • Illinois Governor Lennington Small (R-IL), indicted for corruption, but not convicted, paroled or pardoned over 1,000 convicted felons. Retired to run a speakeasy.(1924–1929)
  • Illinois Chicago Mayor William Hale Thompson (R), a crony of Al Capone's, was corrupt during both terms (1915–23) and ((1927–31) Eventually convicted.
  • Illinois Chicago alderman Bathhouse John Coughlin and Michael Kenna nicknamed "Hinky Dink", were the so-called "Lords of the Levee" a notorius area on the southside, where they extracted huge protection payments from the gambling and prostitution dens. (1920's)
  • Indiana Governor Warren McCray (R-IN): forced to resign after conviction for mail fraud (1924)
  • Indiana Governor Edward L. Jackson (R-IN): taking bribes and trying to bribe a previous Governor on behalf of the Ku Klux Klan (1928)
  • Louisiana Richard W. Leche Governor (D-LA) 1936-39, resigned in 1939 for corruption, convicted in 1940 for mail fraud, corruption, and bribery. Sentenced to 10 years, pardoned by Truman in 1953.
  • Missouri Thomas J. Pendergast (D-MO) Kansas City councilman and leader of a powerful political machine was convicted of tax fraud (1939)
  • New York Tammany Hall, Democratic Party political machine (1854–1934) See Federal-level scandals, because the influence of the New York City political machine was felt at the national level
  • North Dakota Governor William Langer (R-ND) removed from office (1934) for alleged racketeering
  • Oklahoma Governor John C. Walton (D-OK) impeached and removed (1923)
  • Oklahoma Governor Henry S. Johnston (D-OK) impeached twice, second time convicted and removed (1928–1929)
  • Texas Governor James Edward Ferguson (D-TX) Also known as "PA", was impeached and removed from office for financial misconduct (1917)
  • Texas Governor Miriam A. Ferguson (D-TX), also known as "MA", first woman elected Governor of a state in the U.S. and wife of the removed ex-governor, was implicated in the same financial improprieties that had brought "Pa" down causing her to lose the Democratic primary in 1926


Date needed

  • Illinois Chicago city clerk Walter S. Kozubowski (D) was sentenced to 5 years in prison for mail fraud.
  • Illinois Chicago alderman John S. Madrzyk (D) sentenced to 41 months in prison for mail fraud.
  • Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (D-IL) introduced secretary and friend Donna Lumpkins Floyd to numerous legislators, and encouraged them to give $175,000 of the taxpayers' money to her charity. However, there was no charity, and Floyd said that White destroyed all transaction records. After an investigation, the Illinois State Board of Elections fined White $800,000.
  • Maryland Lobbyist Gerard E. Evans (D) convicted of fraud after dummying up legislation and collecting fees from clients to fight it
  • Maryland Banker Nathan A. Chapman Jr. found guilty of defrauding the state retirement system.
  • Maryland Police Superintendent Edward T. Norris convicted of spending police money for personal uses while Baltimore's police chief
  • Minnesota Democratic consultant and businessman Pat Forciea (D) convicted of extensive bank fraud charges
  • New York Alan Hevesi (D-NY) Comptroller of New York pleaded guilty in 2007 to one count of defrauding the government

Sex scandals


  • New York Congressman Eric Massa,(D) Resigned to avoid an ethics investigation into his alleged behavior of groping and tickling a young male staffer. (2010) [205]
  • Texas Federal District Judge Samuel B. Kent of Galveston, Texas was appointed by President George H. W. Bush (R) in 1990. He was sentenced to 33 months in prison for lying about sexually harassing two female employees.(2009)
  • Nevada Senator John Ensign (R-NV) resigned his position as Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee on June 16, 2009 after admitting he had an affair with Cynthia Hampton the wife of a close friend, both of whom were working on his campaign. In 1998 Senator Ensign had called for President Clinton (D) to resign after admitting to sexual acts with Monica Lewinsky. (2009)

2009 - Local

  • California Assemblyman Mike Duvall (R) resigned September 9 after the married champion of family values was videotaped bragging about affairs with two different female lobbyists saying of one of them, "I'm getting into spanking her." (2009)
  • South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) who had voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, admitted during a press conference on June 24, 2009, that he had traveled to Argentina to have an extra-marital affair with an Argentinian woman. His staff had claimed he was "walking the Appalachian Trail." He then resigned as head of the Republican Governors Association and was censured by the State Legislature.(2009)[206]
  • Utah State Representative Kevin Garn (R) The Utah House Majority Leader resigned after admitting that in 1985 he had shared a hot tub with naked Cheryl Maher who was 15 at the time. See legislative scandals.(2010)[207]
  • Wisconsin Gary Becker (D) Mayor of Racine, Wisconsin, charged with five child-sex felonies after being arrested by the FBI at a mall trying to meet a 14-year-old girl (January 16, 2009).


  • John Edwards (D-NC) US Senator and former 2008 presidential primary contender, positioned himself as an honest, family values candidate. His position was seriously undercut when he admitted to an extramarital affair with actress and film producer Rielle Hunter which produced a child. (2008) [208]
  • Vito Fossella (R-NY) - US Congressman arrested for drunk driving, Fossella admitted to having an affair with Laura Fay, with whom he has a three-year-old daughter. He is currently married to Mary Patricia née Rowan with whom he has three children (2008)
  • Tim Mahoney (D-FL) - US Congressman who accepted seat after resignation of Mark Foley for sexual harassment. Mahoney admitted to an affair with his congressional aide and later campaign staffer Patricia Allen. When Allen threatened to sue for sexual harassment Mahoney paid her $122,000. Mahoney is also under FBI investigation for preferential treatment he may have given to Martin County in the amount of $3.4 million in hurricane funds. Mahoney was seeking re-election, but lost. (2008) race.[209]
  • D.C. Madam Scandal; Head of a prostitution ring centering around Deborah Jeane Palfrey (2007)
  • David Vitter (R-LA) - US Senator whose name was discovered in the numbers book of DC Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey admitted his adultery and resigned from his race for Louisiana Governor. (2007)
  • Randall L. Tobias (R) Deputy Secretary of State, the 'AIDS Czar' who stated that condoms were not effective, resigned April 27, 2007 after confirming he had been a customer of the DC Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey.
  • Glenn Murphy Jr. (R) - 33 year-old president of the Young Republican National Federation, under investigation for sexual assault of a sleeping 22 year-old man (2007)
  • Larry Craig (R-ID) - US Senator who pled guilty to disorderly conduct in a Minneapolis airport men's room in June, after having been arrested on a charge of homosexual lewd conduct. Governor Craig had previously stated that "people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy - a naughty boy." (2007)
  • Mark Foley (R-FL) - US Congressman accused of sending sexually explicit instant messages to an underage male congressional pages. Dual investigations by the FBI and the House Ethics Comm. are still underway and criminal charges may still be filed. (2006)
  • Brian J. Doyle, (R) (born April 7, 1950) is a former Deputy Press Secretary in the United States Department of Homeland Security. Indicted for seducing a 14-year-old girl on the internet who was actually a sheriff's deputy. Pled no contest, and on November 17, 2006, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison, 10 years of probation, and was registered as a sex offender.
  • Jeff Gannon (R) A.K.A. James Dale Guckert A.K.A. "Bulldog", was admitted to White House press conferences as a journalist without proper vetting and allowed to ask such sympathetic questions that The Daily Show referred to him as "Chip Rightwingenstein of the Bush Agenda." Records show he was admitted to the White House hundreds of times even when there were no press conferences. He later admitted to being a $200/day prostitute. (2005)
  • Jack Ryan (R-IL) U.S. Senate candidate - Sex scandal became public during divorce proceedings with Jeri Ryan. Ms. Ryan is better known as 7 of 9 on Star Trek: Voyager (2004)
  • Ed Schrock (R-VA) - US Congressman alleged to have run a personal column for men wanting to meet other men (2004)
  • Jessica Cutler staffer for US Senator Michael DeWine (R), published a short-lived blog called Washingtonienne describing her life in D.C. with graphic details (and prices) of her sex life, which supposedly included some highly placed Bush officials. (2004)
  • Don Sherwood (R-PA) - US Congressman extramarital affair with accusations of abuse (2004)
  • Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH) US Congressman accused of an affair with staffer Jennifer Laptook, whom he subsequently married.(2003)
  • Gary Condit (D-CA) A US Congressman whose affair with 23-year-old intern Chandra Levy was exposed after Levy disappeared. Her body was found a year later and in 2008 an ex-felon with no relation to Condit was charged with her murder. (2001)

2000- 2008 Local

  • Eliot Spitzer (D) Governor of New York used the Emperors Club VIP prostitution service to meet $1,000/ night escorts. No charges were filed since no public funds were used, though he resigned anyway. (2008)
  • Bob Allen (R-FL) - State Representative busted for solicitation of a police officer in public men's room, claimed he did it out of a racist panic (2007)
  • John Burton (D) former California Senate Pro Tempore - accused of sexual harassment by a female employee at his charity organization (2008)
  • Paul J. Morrison (D) Attorney General of Kansas, after an extramarital affair with an office administrator, he was charged with sexual harassment and claims that he pressured her to obtain sensitive information about district attorney Phill Kline and several other investigations at the district attorney's office. He resigned January 31, 2008
  • Kwame Kilpatrick (D) Detroit Mayor, accused of extramarital affair with his Chief-of-Staff, Christine Beatty. Racy text messages between them uncovered by the press contradicted their sworn denials of an affair. Also alleged to have stayed at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina with a woman named Carmen Slowsky, who was not his wife (2008)
  • Roosevelt Dobbins (D-AR) - pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment for fondling a teenager (2005)
  • Marc Dann (D) Attorney General of Ohio, after sexual harassment charges were brought against staffers Leo Jennings and Anthony Gutierrez, Dann admitted he too had an affair with a staff member. Resigned May 14, 2008
  • Gavin Newsom (D) Mayor of San Francisco, California, extramarital affair with wife of campaign manager and former deputy chief-of-staff Alex Tourk (2007)
  • Antonio Villaraigosa (D) Mayor of Los Angeles, California, extramarital affair (2004) with Spanish-language television reporter Mirthala Salinas (2007)
  • Kevin Shelley (D) Secretary of State of California, a number of former staffers and other associates accused Shelley of abusive behavior, including sexually explicit gestures and remarks (2005)
  • Richard Curtis (R-WA) - State Congressman was blackmailed and outed by a male prostitute after he didn't reveal his gay lifestyle (2007
  • Jim West (R) Mayor of Spokane, WA - faced charges of child molestation and misuse of his office for sexual favors with young men (2005)
  • Jim McGreevey (D) Governor of New Jersey, admitted that he had an extramarital affair with Golan Cipel an Israeli national, who he appointed as homeland security advisor. His second wife immediately filed for divorce. When threatened with a lawsuit by Cipel, he admitted his homosexuality and resigned in (2004)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) Governor of California, Admitted to inappropriate conduct with women when he was an actor and professional bodybuilder "on rowdy movie sets" (2004)
  • Jerry Thomas (R) Louisiana State Senator, admitted in 2003 to lewd conduct with another man in an adult video store in New Orleans. Completed the year remaining in his Senate term
  • Bob Wise (D) Governor of West Virginia, affair with state employee (2003)
  • Paul Patton (D) Governor of Kentucky, Became public after a former mistress alleged retaliation against her business (2002)


  • Newt Gingrich Speaker of the House of Representatives (R-GA) admitted to having an affair with (his current wife, Callista Bisek, his third) while still married to his second wife in the late 1990s. This was at the same time he was leading the Congressional investigation of Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. (1998)
  • Bill Clinton President (D-AR) intern Monica Lewinsky allegedly had oral sex with Clinton leading him to famously declare on TV on January 26, 1998 that "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." The scandal led to impeachment by the House for perjury, but he was acquitted in the Senate by 10 votes (1998)
  • Bob Barr (R-GA) US Congressman who called for the impeachment of Bill Clinton His own sexual hypocrisy was alleged by Hustler publisher Larry Flynt who claims Barr's second wife said he was cheating on her with Barr's soon to be third wife. He is now a member of the Libertarian Party and has renounced many of his former positions.
  • Robert Livingston (R-LA) Congressman who famously called for the impeachment of Bill Clinton resigned after his own extra marital affair was revealed. (1998)
  • Robert Packwood (R-OR) US Senator was forced to resign his office when his vehement denials of any wrongdoing (after 29 women came forward with claims of sexual harassment, abuse, and assaults) were eventually contradicted by his own lurid diaries boasting of his sexual conquests. (1995)
  • Mel Reynolds (D-IL) indicted for sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse for a relationship with a 16-year-old campaign volunteer (1994.) He was convicted of 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography (1995)
  • Ken Calvert (R-CA) arrested for soliciting a prostitute for oral sex in his car (1993)
  • Chuck Robb Senator (D-VA) Accused of an affair with Miss Virginia USA Tai Collins which he denied (1991)
  • Clarence Thomas (R) Supreme Court nominee accused by Anita Hill and others of sexual harassment (1991)
  • Arlan Stangeland (R-MN) US Congressman found to have made hundreds of phone calls to a female lobbyist. Though he denied any romantic involvement, he lost re-election. (1990)
  • Donald "Buz" Lukens (R-OH) - US Congressman who resigned before facing and investigation that he fondled a Washington elevator operator. (1990) See Sex Scandals 1980-1989[210]


  • Gus Savage (D-IL) accused of trying to force himself on a female Peace Corps worker in Zaire. No action was taken after he apologized to her. (1989)
  • Barney Frank (D-MA) reprimanded by the House when Steve Gobie, a male escort whom Frank met after hiring him through a personal advertisement, claimed to have conducted an escort service from Frank's apartment when he was not at home. (1989)
  • Brock Adams (D-WA) eight women accused Adams of committing various acts of sexual misconduct, ranging from sexual harassment to rape. (1988)
  • Richard Garner (R-Candidate CA) admitted to molesting his daughters. (1988)
  • Paul Ingram (R-WA) Paul Ingram accused by his daughters of sexual abuse, by at least one daughter of satanic ritual abuse [1], and later accused by his son in 1988.
  • Jim Bates (D-CA) made sexual advances toward female staffers. (1988)
  • Gary Hart Senator (D-CO) - Seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 1988 Hart was photographed with model Donna Rice on a boat named 'Monkey Business' during a trip to the Bahamas. His popularity plummeted and he soon dropped out. (1987)
  • Ernie Konnyu (R-CA) - US Congressman had sexual harassment complaints by two female staffers. (1987)
  • Gerry Studds (D-MA) and Dan Crane (R-IL) are censured July 20, 1983 in Congressional Page sex scandal. (1983)
  • Jon Hinson (R-MS) US Congressman charged with oral sodomy of a male Library of Congress employee. (1981)
  • Robert Bauman (R-MD) - US Congressman charged with attempting to solicit sex from a 16-year-old male prostitute. (1980)
  • Thomas Evans (R-DE) US Congressman who went golfing in FL with nude model and lobbyist Paula Parkinson who suggested her technigues were "tactile." Lost 1982 re-election bid.(1980)

1980-1989 Local

  • John G. Schmitz (R-CA) - State Senator whose extramarital affair resulted in 2 offspring. (1982)


  • Fred Richmond (D-NY) - charged with soliciting sex from a 16-year-old boy (1978)
  • Wayne Hays (D-OH) - Elizabeth Ray scandal (1976)
  • John Young (D-TX) - a former female staffer said that she received a pay raise after giving in to Young's sexual advances (1976)
  • Allan Howe (D-UT) - arrested for soliciting two police officers posing as prostitutes (1976)
  • Wilbur Mills (D-AR) Found intoxicated with stripper Fanne Foxe. He was re-elected anyway, though after he gave an intoxicated press conference from Foxe's burlesque house dressing room, he resigned.(1974)


  • Neil Goldschmidt (D-OR) Mayor of Portland, Admitted to an affair with a 14 yr old girl in the 1970s, which became public May 6, 2004


  • Walter Jenkins (D) top aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson - caught in a gay liaison with a Hungarian man in a YMCA bathroom (1964)
  • Strom Thurmond Senator (R-SC) - Had sex with 15-year-old African American resulting in child
  • President Warren Harding (R) -Carrie Phillips-Nan Britton mistresses and pay-offs (1921–1923)
  • Newport Sex Scandal (1919) Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt initiated an investigation into allegations of "immoral conduct" (homosexuality) at the Naval base in Newport, Rhode Island; the investigators were also accused of homosexuality (1919)


  • Grover Cleveland President (D) During the election of 1884 Cleveland, a bachelor, paid child support to Maria Crofts Halpin even though the child may not have been his. The controversy raised the cry, "Ma, ma, where's my pa?" After he won, it was answered by, "Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha!" (1884)
  • James Buchanan President (D) and future Vice President William Rufus King (D-NC) were the subject of scandalous gossip (alleging a homosexual affair) in Washington, D.C. for many years. Andrew Jackson referred to them as Miss Nancy and Aunt Fancy. (1850's)
  • Petticoat affair, or Eaton affair: Margaret "Peggy" O'Neale, later Margaret O'Neill Eaton, whose husband was alleged to have been driven to suicide because of her affair with Jackson's Secretary of War, John Henry Eaton. (1831)
  • James Callender published articles accusing Thomas Jefferson of fathering the children of his slave Sally Hemmings.[211] (1802)
  • Alexander Hamilton-Maria Reynolds affair. Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton had an affair with Maria Reynolds while both were married to other people. Reynolds' husband blackmailed Hamilton, forcing him to confess, further damaging his already controversial career.(1796)

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ June 13, 2009, "More Details Emerge in President Obama's Firing of Inspector General" by Jake Tapper, paragraph 12
  3. ^, March 9, 2010, "Eric Massa Resigns to Avoid Ethics Probe" by Donna Smith
  4. ^ Phillips, Kate (2009-09-09). "The New York Times, retrieved 15 September 2009". Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  5. ^, June 17, 2009, "Senator Ensign Acknowledges an Extramarital Affair" by Paul Kane and Chris Cillizza
  6. ^ Christine Perez, "HUD secretary's blunt warning: Alphonso Jackson says deal was scuttled after contractor admits not liking Bush", Dallas Business Journal, May 5, 2006
  7. ^ Tom Hamburger, "Inquiry of Rove Brings Unit Out of Obscurity", The Los Angeles Times April 24, 2007, rpt. in The Seattle Times, accessed April 26, 2007.
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  10. ^ Totenberg, Nina (2007-08-24). "Schlozman Leaves Justice Dept. Amid Questions". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
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  13. ^ Eggen, Dan (June 23, 2007). "Third-in-Command at Justice Dept. Resigns: Mercer to Leave Washington Job but Keep U.S. Attorney's Position in Montana". Washington Post: pp. A04. Retrieved 2007-06-25.
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  19. ^, August 13, 2007, "Bush Advisor Karl Rove to Resign at End of Month" by Mike Emanuel and AP
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Grossman, Mark. Political Corruption in America: An Encyclopedia of Scandals, Power, and Greed. (2003).

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