Federal Scandals 1981 to 2016

2009–2017 Barack Obama Administration[edit]

Executive Branch[edit]

  • Katherine Archuleta, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, was forced to resign on July 10, 2015 after cyberintrusions allowed the theft of data concerning 22 million people, some of whom had applied for sensitive security clearances.[2]
  • Veterans Health Administration scandal of 2014 – It was discovered that officials in the Phoenix VA hospital lied about how long the wait times were for veterans to see a doctor.[3] An investigation of delays is being conducted by the Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General.[4][5] The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, General Eric Shinseki, voluntarily resigned.[6]
  • 2013 IRS scandal – IRS admitted to inappropriate investigation of conservative political groups associated with the Tea Party that may not have met the criteria for certain tax exemptions.[7] Later, it was found that the IRS investigated groups with the label “progressives”, “tea party, and “patriots”, but “tea party” applications specifically had to be sent to Washington for review, substantiating the claims of partisan audits.[8][9][10][11][12] The president demanded and accepted the resignation of Steven T. Miller Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Other actions arising from the scandal included:
  1. Lois Lerner, head of the IRS Office of Exempt Organizations, stated she had not done anything wrong and then took the Fifth before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.[13] She retired in 2013 after an internal investigation found that she neglected her duties and was going to call for her ouster.[14]
  2. Joseph H. Grant, commissioner of the IRS Tax-exempt and Government entities division, resigned on May 16, 2013.[15]

Legislative Branch[edit]

  • Chaka Fattah (D-PA) for Pennsylvania‘s 2nd district was found guilty on all 23 charges he faced, which included racketeering, money laundering and fraud.[22][23] He was sentenced to 10 years and resigned from Congress on June 23, 2016.[24][25]
  • Anthony Weiner (D-NY) for New York’s 9th congressional district resigned from Congress in June 2011 when the first of what would become multiple sexting scandals were made public.[26]
  • David Wu (D-OR) for Oregon’s 1st congressional district announced he would resign from Congress, four days after a report that a young woman called his office complaining of an “unwanted sexual encounter” with the congressman.[27]
  • Chris Lee (R-NY) for New York’s 26th congressional district resigned after he solicited a woman on Craigslist and emailed a shirtless photo of himself.(2011)[28]
  • Dennis Hastert (R-IL) pleaded guilty to charges that he violated banking rules and lied to the FBI in a scheme to pay $3.5 million in hush money to conceal sexual misconduct with an under age boy from his days as a high school wrestling coach, from 1965 to 1981.(2015)[29][30][31]
  • Aaron Schock (R-IL) resigned from office after evidence surfaced that he used campaign funds for travel, redecorated his office with taxpayer funds to resemble the sets of the Downton Abbey TV series, and otherwise spent campaign and/or taxpayer money on other questionable personal uses.(2015)[32]
    • Schock’s senior adviser Benjamin Cole had resigned earlier after he allegedly condemned “hood rats” and “black miscreants” in internet posts. Schock’s office stated, “I am extremely disappointed by the inexcusable and offensive online comments made by a member of my staff.”[33]
  • Brett O’Donnell Communications Director for Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) plead guilty to lying to investigators from the House Office of Congressional Ethics about working for Rodgers while being paid with campaign money, thus becoming the first person ever to be convicted of lying to the House OCE.[34]
  • Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) resigned his Congressional seat. Four of his staff were convicted by the state of Michigan of falsifying signatures on McCotter’s reelection petitions for the 2012 elections. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) blamed McCotter for running a slipshod, leaderless operation. “The congressman has resigned in disgrace”, Schuette said, though McCotter was not charged.[35]
  1. Paul Seewald worked for McCotter as his District Director of the Michigan’s 11th congressional district. He pleaded guilty to nine counts of falsely signing a nominating petition as circulator. He was sentenced to two years’ probation and 100 hours of community service, and ordered to pay court costs and fees.[36]
  2. Don Yowchuang worked for McCotter as Deputy District Director of the Michigan 11th Congressional District. He pleaded guilty to ten counts of forgery and six counts of falsely signing a nominating petition and was sentenced to three years of probation, 200 hours of community service, court costs and fees.[37]
  3. Mary M. Turnbull was McCotter’s Representative to the Michigan 11th Congressional District. She was convicted of conspiring to commit a legal act in an illegal manner and falsely signing a nominating petition. She was sentenced to two years of probation, a day in jail, and 200 hours of community service. She was also ordered to pay a $1,440 fine. In addition, she is forbidden from any participation in elections or the political process.[38]
  4. Lorianne O’Brady worked as a scheduler for McCotter in the Michigan 11th Congressional District. She pleaded no contest to charges that she falsely claimed to have legally collected signatures to get McCotter on the ballot when she actually had not. She was sentenced to 20 days in jail and a work program plus $2,625 in fines and court costs.[39]
  • Senator Mitch McConnell‘s (R-KY) campaign manager Jesse Benton (R) resigned when details of a bribery scandal from Ron Paul‘s 2012 presidential campaign came to light. (2014).[40]
  • David Rivera (R-FL) was indicted as a co-conspirator with Campaign Manager Ana Alliegro who pleaded guilty to violation of US campaign laws in an $81,000 campaign-finance scheme to prop up a little-known Democratic candidate who used the illegal cash to trash Rivera’s rival in the 2012 Democratic primary.[41][42]
  • Rick Renzi (R-AZ) on June 12, 2013, was found guilty of 17 counts against him, which included wire fraud, conspiracy, extortion, racketeering, money laundering, and making false statements to insurance regulators.[43]
  • Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) was arrested on December 23, 2012, and later pleaded guilty to drinking and driving in a Virginia court. The court fined him 250 dollars. He was sentenced to 180 days in prison, but served no time.[44][45][46]
  • Trey Radel (R-FL) was arrested on October 29, 2013, in Washington, D.C. for possession of cocaine after purchasing the drug from an undercover law enforcement officer. As a first-time offender, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in a Washington, D.C. court, and was sentenced to one year probation and fined $250. Radel took a leave of absence from office to undergo substance abuse treatment following his conviction. Following treatment, he initially returned to office with the intent of finishing his term, but eventually resigned on January 27, 2014.[47][48][49]
  • Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-IL) pleaded guilty to one felony count of fraud for using $750,000 of campaign money to buy personal items such as stuffed animals, elk heads and fur capes.[50]
  • Laura Richardson (D-CA) was found guilty on seven counts of violating US House rules by improperly using her staff to campaign for her, destroying the evidence and tampering with witness testimony. The House Ethics Committee ordered Richardson to pay a fine of $10,000. (2012)[51][52]
  • John Ensign (R-NV) resigned his Senate seat on May 3, 2011, just before the Senate Ethics Committee could examine possible fiscal violations in connection with his extramarital affair with Cynthia Hampton. (2011)[53][54][55][56] (see Federal sex scandals) In May 2012, aide Doug Hampton (R) in what became the John Ensign scandal reached a plea deal with prosecutors, the details of which have not yet been released.[57]
  • Michael Grimm (R-NY) pleaded guilty to tax fraud on December 23, 2014, and was sentenced to eight months in federal prison.[58]
  • Ron Paul (R-TX) Deputy Campaign Manager Dimitri Kesari was convicted of causing false records concerning charges of buying an Iowa State Senator’s endorsement during the 2012 presidential campaign.(2012)[59]
  • Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), while running for re-election on a pro-life platform, it was discovered that he had made his wife have two abortions, and tried to persuade his mistress (who was also his patient), to have one as well. He also admitted under oath that while a married physician at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, TN, he had six affairs with three co-workers, two patients and a drug representative. He was investigated by the Tennessee Board of Health, pleaded guilty and was fined.(2012) [60][61]

Judicial Branch[edit]

  • G. Thomas Porteous Federal Judge for Eastern Louisiana was unanimously impeached by the US House of Representatives on charges of bribery and perjury in March 2010. He was convicted by the US Senate and removed from office. He had been appointed by Democrat Bill Clinton. (2010)[62][63]
  • Samuel B. Kent (R) Federal District Judge of Galveston, Texas, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for lying about sexually harassing two female employees. He had been appointed to office by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. Resigned after being impeached on June 10, 2009 [64][65][66]
  • Jack T. Camp Senior Federal U.S. District Court Judge was appointed by Republican Ronald Reagan and again by George W. Bush, was arrested in an undercover drug bust while trying to purchase cocaine from an FBI agent. Judge Camp resigned after pleading guilty to three criminal charges. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 400 community service hours and fined.[67][68][69]

2001–2009 George W. Bush Administration[edit]

Executive Branch[edit]

  1. Maj. Gen. George Weightman, was fired for failures linked to the scandal.(2007) [76]
  2. Maj. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley resigned for failures linked to the scandal.[77]
  • Felipe Sixto was appointed by President George W. Bush to be his Special Assistant for Intergovernmental Affairs as well as Duty Director at the Office of Public Liaison. He resigned a few weeks later on March 20, 2008 because of his misuse of grant money from the U.S. Agency for International Development when he had worked for the Center for a Free Cuba.[78] He was sentenced to 30 months in prison for stealing almost $600,000 for personal use.[79]
  • Timothy Goeglein, Special Assistant to President Bush resigned when it was discovered that more than 20 of his columns had been plagiarized from an Indiana newspaper. (2008)[80]
  • Scott Bloch was appointed by President George W. Bush to head the United States Office of Special Counsel. On April 27, 2010 Bloch pleaded guilty to criminal contempt of Congress for “willfully and unlawfully withholding pertinent information from a House committee investigating his decision to have several government computers wiped ….”[81] On February 2, Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson ruled that Bloch faces a mandatory sentence of at least one month in prison.[82][83]
  • Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney (R). ‘Scooter’ was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Plame Affair on 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. The felony remains on Libby’s record, though the jail time and fine were commuted.[84][85]
  • Alphonso Jackson The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development resigned while under investigation by the Justice Department for alleged cronyism and favoritism [86]
  • Karl Rove Senior Adviser to President George W. Bush was investigated by the Office of Special Counsel for “improper political influence over government decision-making”, as well as for his involvement in several other scandals such as Lawyergate, Bush White House e-mail controversy and Plame affair. He resigned in April 2007. (See Karl Rove in the George W. Bush administration)[87]
  • Richard J. Griffin Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security appointed by George W. Bush who made key decisions regarding the department’s oversight of private security contractor Blackwater USA, resigned in November 2007, after a critical review by the House Oversight Committee found that his office had failed to adequately supervise private contractors during the Blackwater Baghdad shootings protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq.[88]
  • Howard Krongard, Republican contributor[89] was appointed Inspector General of the US State Department by President George W. Bush in 2005.[90] After he was accused by the House Oversight Committee of improperly interfering with investigations into private security contractor Blackwater USA, concerning the Blackwater Baghdad shootings. Krongard resigned in December 2007.[91][92]
  • Lawyergate[93] Or the Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy refers to President Bush firing, without explanation, eleven Republican federal prosecutors whom he himself had appointed. It is alleged they were fired for prosecuting Republicans and not prosecuting Democrats.[94][95] When Congressional hearings were called, a number of senior Justice Department officials cited executive privilege and refused to testify under oath and instead resigned, including:
  1. Alberto Gonzales Attorney General of the United States[96]
  2. Karl Rove Advisor to President Bush[97]
  3. Harriet Miers Legal Counsel to President Bush, was found in Contempt of Congress[98]
  4. Michael A. Battle Director of Executive Office of US Attorneys in the Justice Department.[99]
  5. Bradley Schlozman Director of Executive Office of US Attorneys who replaced Battle[100]
  6. Michael Elston Chief of Staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty[101]
  7. Paul McNulty Deputy Attorney General to William Mercer[102]
  8. William W. Mercer Associate Attorney General to Alberto Gonzales[103]
  9. Kyle Sampson Chief of Staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales[99]
  10. Monica Goodling Liaison between President Bush and the Justice Department[104]
  11. Joshua Bolten Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bush was found in Contempt of Congress[98]
  12. Sara M. Taylor Aide to Presidential Advisor Karl Rove[105]
  • 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 investigated, 51 showed no emails at all.[106] As many as 5 million e-mails requested by Congressional investigators were therefore unavailable, lost, or deleted.[107]
  • Lurita Alexis Doan Resigned as head of the General Services Administration. She was under scrutiny for conflict of interest and violations of the Hatch Act.[108] Among other things she asked GSA employees how they could “help Republican candidates”.[109]
  • John Korsmo chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board pleaded guilty to lying to congress and sentenced to 18 months of unsupervised probation and fined $5,000. (2005)[110]
  • Darleen A. Druyun was Principal Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force nominated by George W. Bush.[111] She pleaded guilty to inflating the price of contracts to favor her future employer, Boeing. In October 2004, she was sentenced to nine months in jail for corruption, fined $5,000, given three years of supervised release and 150 hours of community service. She began her prison term on January 5, 2005.[112] CBS News called it “the biggest Pentagon scandal in 20 years” and said that she pleaded guilty to a felony.[113]
  • Philip Cooney Bush appointee to chair the Council on Environmental Quality was accused of editing government climate reports to emphasize doubts about global warming.[114] Two days later, Cooney announced his resignation[115] and later conceded his role in altering reports. Stating “My sole loyalty was to the President and advancing the policies of his administration,” .[116][117]
  • Jack Abramoff Scandal in which the prominent lobbyist with close ties to Republican administration officials and legislators offered bribes as part of his lobbying efforts. Abramoff was sentenced to 4 years in prison.[118][119] See Legislative scandals.
  1. Tom DeLay (R-TX) The House Majority Leader was reprimanded twice by the House Ethics Committee and his aides indicted (2004–2005); eventually DeLay himself was investigated in October 2005 in connection with the Abramoff scandal, but not indicted. DeLay resigned from the House June 9, 2006.[120] DeLay was found to have illegally channeled funds from Americans for a Republican Majority to Republican state legislator campaigns. He was convicted of two counts of money laundering and conspiracy in 2010.[121]
  2. David Safavian GSA (General Services Administration) Chief of Staff,[122] found guilty of blocking justice and lying,[123] and sentenced to 18 months[124]
  3. Roger Stillwell Staff in the Department of the Interior under President George W. Bush (R). Pleaded guilty and received two years suspended sentence.[125]
  4. Susan B. Ralston 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.[126]
  5. Steven Griles former Deputy to the Secretary of the Interior pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to 10 months.[127]
  6. Italia Federici staff to the Secretary of the Interior, and President of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, pled guilty to tax evasion and obstruction of justice. She was sentenced to four years probation.[128][129][130]
  7. Jared Carpenter Vice-President of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, was discovered during the Abramoff investigation and pled guilty to income tax evasion. He got 45 days, plus 4 years probation.[131]
  8. Mark Zachares staff in the Department of Labor, bribed by Abramoff, guilty of conspiracy to defraud.[119]
  9. Robert E. Coughlin Deputy Chief of Staff, Criminal Division of the Justice Department pleaded guilty to conflict of interest after accepting bribes from Jack Abramoff. (2008)[129]
  1. suspend sections of the ABM Treaty without informing Congress[161]
  2. bypass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allowing warrantless wiretapping of US Citizens within the United States by the National Security Agency.[161]
  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[161]
  4. allow Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (torture) because provisions of the War Crimes Act, the Third Geneva Convention, and the Torture convention do not apply.[161]

Many of his memos have since been repudiated and reversed.[161][162] Later review by the Justice Department reported that Yoo and Jay Bybee used “poor judgement” in the memos, but no charges were filed.[163]

  • Carl Truscott Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms appointed in 2004 but was soon under investigation for his management style and allegations of lavish spending and misuse of resources, including requiring a large number of agents as personal security, allocating hundreds of thousands of dollars of expensive upgrades to the ATF HQ building, adding a new garage to his house, detailing 20 agents to help with his nephew’s high school project and other examples of poor financial judgment. Truscott resigned as the ATF Director on August 4, 2006.[164][165]

Legislative Branch[edit]

  • James W. Treffinger (R-NJ) the US senatorial candidate pleaded guilty in 2003 to corruption and fraud as Chief Executive of Essex County and ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution and serve 13 months in jail.[166]
  • Ted Stevens Senator (R-AK) was convicted of seven counts of bribery and tax evasion October 27, 2008. He then lost re-election. Newly appointed US Attorney General Eric Holder dismissed the charges “in the interest of justice” stating that the Justice Department had illegally withheld evidence from defense counsel.[167]
  • 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)[168]
  • Rick Renzi (R-AZ) Announced he would not seek another term.[169]* He was later sentenced to three years in prison after conviction on federal corruption charges of extortion, bribery, insurance fraud, money laundering and racketeering related to a 2005 money-laundering scheme that netted the Flagstaff Republican more than $700,000. (2005) [170]
  • Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned on September 29, 2006 after sending sexually explicit messages to former Congressional pages.[171]
  • Frank Ballance (D-NC) admitted to a federal charge of money laundering and mail fraud in October 2005 and sentenced to 4 years in prison.[172]
  • Tom DeLay (R-TX) and House Majority Leader served from 1985 to 2006 when he resigned his position to undergo trial for conspiring to launder corporate money into political donations and money laundering during the 2002 elections. On November 24, 2010, DeLay was found guilty[173] and was sentenced to three years in prison and 10 years’ probation respectively.[174] On September 19, 2013, the conviction was overturned.[175]
  • 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.[176] See Scandals, Executive Branch. The following were also implicated:
  1. Tom DeLay (R-TX) The House Majority Leader was reprimanded twice by the House Ethics Committee and his aides indicted (2004–2005); eventually DeLay himself was investigated in October 2005 in connection with the Abramoff scandal, but not indicted. DeLay resigned from the House June 9, 2006.[120] DeLay was found to have illegally channeled funds from Americans for a Republican Majority to Republican state legislator campaigns. He was convicted of two counts of money laundering and conspiracy in 2010.[121]
  2. Michael Scanlon (R) former staff to Tom DeLay: working for Abramoff, pled guilty to bribery.[118][119]
  3. Tony Rudy (R) former staff to Tom DeLay, pleaded guilty to conspiracy.[119]
  4. James W. Ellis executive director of Tom DeLay’s political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority (ARMPAC), was indicted by Texas for money laundering.[177]
  5. John Colyandro executive director of Tom DeLay’s political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC), was indicted by Texas for money laundering[177]
  6. Bob Ney (R-OH) pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements as a result of his receiving trips from Abramoff in exchange for legislative favors. Ney received 30 months in prison.[119][178]
  7. William Heaton (R) Chief of Staff for Bob Ney pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud[179] admitting to conspiring with Ney, Jack Abramoff and others to accept vacations, meals, tickets, and contributions to Ney’s campaign in exchange for Ney benefitting Abramoff’s clients.(2006)[180]
  8. Neil Volz former staff to Robert Ney, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in 2006 charges stemming from his work for Bob Ney. In 2007 he was sentenced to two years probation, 100 hours community service, and a fine of $2,000.[181]
  9. William Heaton, former chief of staff for Bob Ney (R), pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge involving a golf trip to Scotland, expensive meals, and tickets to sporting events between 2002 and 2004 as payoffs for helping Abramoff’s clients.[182]
  10. John Albaugh, former chief of staff to Ernest Istook (R-OK), pled guilty to accepting bribes connected to the Federal Highway Bill. Istook was not charged. (2008)[183]
  11. James Hirni, former staff to Tim Hutchinson (R-AR), was charged with wire fraud for giving a staffer for Don Young (R) of Alaska a bribe in exchange for amendments to the Federal Highway Bill. (2008)[184]
  12. Kevin A. Ring (R) former staff to John Doolittle (R-CA) was convicted of five charges of corruption.[185][186]
  • John Doolittle (R-CA) both he and his wife were under investigation (January 2008). Under this cloud, Doolittle decided not to run for re-election in November 2008. The Justice Department announced in June 2010 they had terminated the investigation and found no wrongdoing.[187]
  • Randy 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.[188]
  • Tan Nguyen (R-CA) congressional candidate for the 47th District was convicted of voter intimidation. He lost the election and was sentenced to one year in prison and six months in a halfway house. (2006)[189]
  • 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)[190]
  • 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. Jefferson was convicted of 11 counts of bribery and sentenced to 13 years on November 13, 2009, and his chief of staff Brett Pfeffer was sentenced to 84 months in a related case.[191][192]
  • 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)[193]
  • 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 businessman David Chang. (2002)[194]
  • 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)[195]

1993–2001 Bill Clinton Administration[edit]

Executive Branch[edit]

  • Bill Clinton, President (D), impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying under oath about consensual sexual relations with a member of his staff Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate and remained in office for the rest of his term. Clinton subsequently was cited for contempt of court and agreed to a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license (1998).[196] On October 1, 2001, Clinton was barred from practicing law before the Supreme Court of the United States (2001)[197]
  • Ronald Blackley, Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, was sentenced to 27 months for perjury. Secretary Espy was found innocent on all counts.[198]

Legislative Branch[edit]

  • Newt Gingrich (R-GA), the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, was charged $300,000 in sanctions by the majority republican House ethics committee for an unethical book deal [199] leading to his eventual resignation from office. (1997)[200]
  • Barbara-Rose Collins (D-MI) found to have committed 11 violations of law and house rules stemming from use of campaign funds for personal use.[201]
  • 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)[202]
  • Austin Murphy (D-PA) convicted of engaging in voter fraud for filling out absentee ballots for members of a nursing home.[203]
  • Nicholas Mavroules (D-MA) pleaded guilty to bribery charges.[204]
  • Bob Packwood (R-OR), 19 women accused him of sexual misconduct. He fought the allegations, but eventually, the US Senate Ethics Committee found him guilty of a “pattern of abuse of his position of power and authority” and recommended that he be expelled from the Senate. He resigned on September 7, 1995.[205]
  • Lawrence J. Smith (D-FL) On August 3, 1993, Congressman Smith pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and one count of filing false campaign reports. He was sentenced to three months in prison.[206]
  • House banking scandal[207] The House of Representatives Bank found that 450 members had overdrawn their checking accounts, but had not been penalized. Six were convicted of charges, most only tangentially related to the House Bank itself. Twenty two more of the most prolific over-drafters were singled out by the House Ethics Committee. (1992)[208]
  1. Buzz Lukens (R-OH) convicted of bribery and conspiracy.[209]
  2. Carl C. Perkins (D-KY) pleaded guilty to a check kiting scheme involving several financial institutions (including the House Bank).[209]
  3. Carroll Hubbard (D-KY)convicted of illegally funneling money to his wife’s 1992 campaign to succeed him in congress.[210]
  4. Mary Rose Oakar (D-OH) was charged with seven felonies, but pleaded guilty only to a misdemeanor campaign finance charge not related to the House Bank.[209]
  5. Walter Fauntroy (D-DC) convicted of filing false disclosure forms in order to hide unauthorized income.[209]
  6. Jack Russ House Sergeant-at-Arms, convicted of three counts.[209]
  1. Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL) Rostenkowski was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison, in 1995.[212]
  2. Joe Kolter (D-PA) Convicted of one count of conspiracy[213] and sentenced to 6 months in prison.[214]
  3. Robert V. Rota Postmaster, convicted of one count of conspiracy and two counts of embezzlement.[211]
  • Jay Kim (R-CA) accepted $250,000 in illegal 1992 campaign contributions and was sentenced to two months house arrest (1992)[215]
  • Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) U.S. Rep. was found guilty of failure to properly report campaign contributions and fined(1996)

[216]

1989–1993 George H. W. Bush Administration[edit]

Executive Branch[edit]

  • George H. W. Bush (R) President. during his election campaign, Bush denied any knowledge of the Iran Contra Affair by saying he was “out of the loop.” But his own diaries of that time stated “I’m one of the few people that know fully the details …” He repeatedly refused to disclose this to investigators during the investigation and thus won the election. (1988)[217]
  • Catalina Vasquez Villalpando, (R) Treasurer of the United States. Pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and tax evasion. The only US Treasurer ever sent to prison. (1992)[218]
  • Iran-Contra Affair pardons. On December 24, 1992, George H. W. Bush (R) granted clemency to five convicted government officials and Caspar Weinberger, whose trial had not yet begun. This action prevented any further investigation into the matter.[219]
  1. Caspar Weinberger Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan[220]
  2. Robert C. McFarlane National Security Advisor to Ronald Reagan[220]
  3. Elliott Abrams Assistant Secretary of State to Ronald Reagan[220]
  4. Clair George CIA Chief of Covert Ops[220]
  5. Alan D. Fiers Chief of the CIA’s Central American Task Force[220]
  6. Duane Clarridge CIA Operations Officer[220]

Legislative Branch[edit]

  • Albert Bustamante (D-TX) convicted of accepting bribes.[221]
  • Lawrence J. Smith (D-FL) pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying to federal election officials[222] and served three months in jail, fined $5,000, 2 years probation and back taxes of $40,000[223]
  • David Durenberger Senator (R-MN) denounced by Senate for unethical financial transactions and then disbarred (1990). He pleaded guilty to misuse of public funds and was given one year probation (1995)[224]
  • Donald E. “Buz” Lukens (R-OH) Convicted of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor for having sex with a 16 yr old girl. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $500.(1989)[225]

Judicial Branch[edit]

  • Clarence Thomas (R) The Supreme Court nominee was accused of sexual harassment by eight former employees including Anita Hill, but was approved anyway.[226]
  • Walter Nixon US Judge. Was impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate for perjury on November 3, 1989.[227]

1981–1989 Ronald Reagan Administration[edit]

Executive Branch[edit]

  • Operation Ill Wind was a three-year investigation launched in 1986 by the FBI into corruption by U.S. government and military officials, as well as private defense contractors.
  1. Melvyn Paisley, appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1981 by Republican President Ronald Reagan,[228] was found to have accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. He pleaded guilty to bribery, resigned his office and served four years in prison.[229]
  2. James E. Gaines, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, took over when Paisley resigned his office.[230] He was convicted of accepting an illegal gratuity, and theft and conversion of government property. He was sentenced to six months in prison.[231]
  3. Victor D. Cohen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, was the 50th conviction obtained under the Ill Wind probe when he pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and conspiring to defraud the government.[232]
  1. Samuel Pierce Secretary of Housing and Urban Development because he made “full and public written acceptance of responsibility” was not charged.[233]
  2. James G. Watt 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[234]
  3. Deborah Gore Dean (R) Executive Assistant to (Samuel Pierce, Secretary of HUD 1981–1987, and not charged). Dean was convicted of 12 counts of perjury, conspiracy, bribery. Sentenced to 21 months in prison. (1987)[235]
  4. Phillip D. Winn Assistant Secretary of HUD, 1981–1982, pleaded guilty to bribery in 1994.[235]
  5. Thomas Demery, Assistant Secretary of HUD, pleaded guilty to bribery and obstruction.[235]
  6. Joseph A. Strauss, Special Assistant to the Secretary of HUD, convicted of accepting payments to favor Puerto Rican land developers in receiving HUD funding.[236]
  7. Silvio D. DeBartolomeis convicted of perjury and bribery.[237]
  • Wedtech scandal Wedtech Corporation convicted of bribery for Defense Department contracts
  1. Edwin Meese Attorney General, resigned but never convicted.[238]
  2. Lyn Nofziger White House Press Secretary, whose conviction of lobbying was overturned.[239]
  3. Mario Biaggi (D-NY) sentenced to 2½ years.[240]
  4. Robert García (D-NY) sentenced to 2½ years.[241]
  • 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.[242]
  • Emanuel S. Savas, appointed by Ronald Reagan to be Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, resigned July 8, 1983 after an internal Justice Department investigation found he had abused his office by having his Government staff work on his private book on Government time.[243][244]
  • Iran-Contra Affair (1985–1986); A plan conceived by CIA head William Casey and Oliver North of the National Security Council 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.[245] 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 Secretary of Defense, was indicted on two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice on June 16, 1992.[246] Weinberger received a pardon from George H. W. Bush on December 24, 1992, before he was tried.[247]
  2. William Casey Head of the CIA. Thought to have conceived the plan, was stricken ill hours before he would testify. Reporter Bob Woodward records that Casey knew of and approved the plan.[248]
  3. Robert C. McFarlane National Security Adviser, convicted of withholding evidence, but after a plea bargain was given only 2 years probation. Later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush[249]
  4. Elliott Abrams 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[250] https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/summpros.htm.
  5. 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[245]
  6. Clair George Chief of Covert Ops-CIA, convicted on 2 charges of perjury, but pardoned by President George H. W. Bush before sentencing.[251]
  7. Oliver North 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.[252]
  8. Fawn Hall, Oliver North’s secretary was given immunity from prosecution on charges of conspiracy and destroying documents in exchange for her testimony.[253]
  9. 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.[254]
  10. Duane Clarridge An ex-CIA senior official, he was indicted in November 1991 on 7 counts of perjury and false statements relating to a November 1985 shipment to Iran. Pardoned before trial by President George H. W. Bush.[255][256]
  11. Richard V. Secord Ex-major general in the Air Force who organized the Iran arms sales and Contra aid. He pleaded guilty in November 1989 to making false statements to Congress. Sentenced to two years of probation.[257][258]
  12. Albert Hakim A businessman, pleaded guilty in November 1989 to supplementing the salary of Oliver North by buying him a $13,800 fence. Hakim was given two years of probation and a $5,000 fine, while his company, Lake Resources Inc. was ordered to dissolve.[257][259]
  13. Thomas G. Clines Once an intelligence official who became an arms dealer, he was convicted in September 1990 on four income tax counts, including underreporting of income to the IRS and lying about not having foreign accounts. Sentenced to 16 months of prison and fined $40,000.[257][260]
  14. Carl R. Channell A fund-raiser for conservative causes, he pleaded guilty in April 1987 to defrauding the IRS via a tax-exempt organization to fund the Contras.[261] Sentenced to two years probation.[257]
  15. Richard R. Miller Associate to Carl R. Channell, he pleaded guilty in May 1987 to defrauding the IRS via a tax-exempt organization led by Channell. More precisely, he pleaded guilty to lying to the IRS about the deductibility of donations to the organization. Some of the donations were used to fund the Contras.[262] Sentenced to two years of probation and 120 of community service.[257]
  16. Joseph F. Fernandez CIA Station Chief of Costa Rica. Indicted on five counts in 1988.[263] The case was dismissed when Attorney General Dick Thornburgh refused to declassify information needed for his defense in 1990.[264]
  1. D. Lowell Jensen, Deputy Attorney General was held in Contempt of Congress.[267]
  2. C. Madison Brewer A high ranking Justice Department official was held in Contempt of Congress.[267]
  • Michael Deaver 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[268]
  • 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 Head of the EPA. Cut the EPA staff by 22% and refused to turn over documents to Congress citing “Executive Privilege”,[269] whereupon she was found in Contempt and resigned with twenty of her top employees.(1980)[270]
  2. Rita Lavelle 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 years probation.[271]
  • Melvyn R. Paisley, appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by Ronald Reagan. As part of the long-running Operation Ill Wind defense procurement investigation, Paisley was to four years in prison without parole.[272]
  • Louis O. Giuffrida (R) director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was appointed in April 1981 by Ronald Reagan and resigned his position on September 1, 1985. His announcement came a day before a Congressional subcommittee was to approve a report detailing waste, fraud, and abuse at his agency.[273]
  • Fred J. Villella, Deputy Director at Federal Emergency Management Agency, had more than $70,000 in renovations made to part of a dormitory at an agency training center in Maryland for use as a residence, including an $11,000 stove, wet bar, microwave oven, fireplace and cherrywood cabinets. Villella accepted free tickets to the same Republican fund-raisers as Giuffrida and also was accused of using a FEMA security guard for private errands. He resigned in 1984.(1984)[274][275]
  • J. Lynn Helms was appointed head of the Federal Aviation Administration by Ronald Reagan in April 1981. He was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with diverting $1.2 million from an issue of tax-exempt municipal bonds to his own personal use. Mr. Helms signed an order that settled the case before trial, though he resigned his FAA post.[276][277]
  • Veterans Administration Chief Bob Nimmo was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. He resigned one year later just before a General Accounting Office report criticized him for improper such use of government funds.(1982) [274][278]
  • John Fedders was appointed chief of enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission by President Ronald Reagan.[279] He was asked to resign his position after divorce proceedings, during which he admitted beating his wife.[280][281]
  • Peter Voss was appointed to the US Postal Service Board of Governors in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan. He was sentenced to four years in federal prison and fined $11,000 for theft and accepting payoffs. He resigned his office in 1986, when he pleaded guilty.[282][283]
  • Jim Petro (R) U.S. Attorney appointed by President Ronald Reagan was dismissed and fined for tipping off an acquaintance about an ongoing Secret Service investigation.(1984)[284][285]
  • William H. Kennedy United States Attorney in San Diego, was dismissed by President Reagan after he made improper comments about a pending criminal case.”(1982)[286]

Legislative Branch[edit]

  • Mark Hatfield (R-OR) US Senator, US Appropriations Chairman, revealed that his wife had been paid $55,000 by Greek arms dealer Basil Tsakos who had been lobbying for a trans-African pipeline.(1984)[287][288][289][290][291]
  • David Durenberger Senator (R-MN), denounced by the Senate for unethical financial transactions (1990) and then disbarred as an attorney.[292] In 1995 he pled guilty to 5 misdemeanor counts of misuse of public funds and was given one years probation.[293]
  • 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)[294]
  • 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)[295]
  • Donald E. “Buz” Lukens (R-OH), Convicted of two counts of bribery and conspiracy. (1996)[296] See also Sex scandals.
  • Anthony Lee Coelho (D-CA) Resigned 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)[297]
  • Jim Wright (D-TX) House Speaker, resigned after an ethics investigation led by Newt Gingrich alleged improper receipt of $145,000 in gifts (1989)[298]
  • Keating Five (1980–1989) The failure of Lincoln Savings and Loan led to Charles Keating donating to the campaigns of five Senators for help. Keating served 42 months in prison.[299] The five were investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee which found that:
  1. Alan Cranston Senator (D-CA) reprimanded[300]
  2. Dennis DeConcini Senator (D-AZ) acted improperly[301]
  3. Don Riegle Senator (D-MI) acted improperly[301]
  4. John Glenn Senator (D-OH) used poor judgment[301]
  5. John McCain Senator (R-AZ) used poor judgment[301]
  • Abscam FBI sting involving fake ‘Arabs’ trying to bribe 31 congressmen.(1980)[302] 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.[303]
  2. John Jenrette Representative (D-SC) sentenced to two years in prison for bribery and conspiracy.[304]
  3. Richard Kelly (R-FL) Accepted $25K and then claimed he was conducting his own investigation into corruption. Served 13 months.[305]
  4. Raymond Lederer (D-PA) “I can give you me” he said after accepting $50K. Sentenced to 3 years.[306]
  5. Michael Myers (D-PA) Accepted $50K saying, “…money talks and bullshit walks.” Sentenced to 3 years and was expelled from the House.[307]
  6. Frank Thompson (D-NJ) Sentenced to 3 years.[308]
  7. John M. Murphy (D-NY) Served 20 months of a 3-year sentence.[309]
  8. Also arrested were NJ State Senator Angelo Errichetti (D)[310] 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 2½ 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)[311]
  • Pat Swindall (R-GA) convicted of 6 counts of perjury. (1989)[312][313]
  • George V. Hansen (R-ID) censured for failing to file out disclosure forms. Spent 15 months in prison.[314]
  • 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.[315]
  • Frederick W. Richmond (D-NY),Convicted of tax evasion and possession of marijuana. Served 9 months(1982)[316] See Federal sex scandals.
  • Joshua Eilberg (D-PA) pleaded guilty to conflict-of-interest charges. In addition, he convinced president Carter to fire the U.S. Attorney investigating his case.[317]
  • Robert E. Bauman (R-MD) US Representative, was charged with soliciting sex from a teenage boy. Counseling was ordered, but he lost his next two elections.(1980)[318][319]

Judicial Branch[edit]

  • Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Federal District court judge impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate of soliciting a bribe (1989).[320] Subsequently, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1992)[321]
  • Harry Claiborne (D-NV), 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.[322]

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