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List of federal political sex scandals in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Many sex scandals in American history have involved incumbent United States federal elected politicians, as well as persons appointed with the consent of the United States Senate.[1][2][3] Sometimes the officials have denied the accusations, or have apologized, or have lost their office in consequence of the scandal (e.g. by resigning or being defeated or deciding not to run again).

This list is ordered chronologically. There is some emphasis on sex scandals since the mid-1970s, because before then the media was less inclined to cover these matters.[4] Additionally, outing people because of perceptions that their political positions are anti-gay has become increasingly common since 1989.[5] More generally, any perceived inconsistency between personal conduct and policy positions makes a politician's sex life more likely to become publicized.

For these listed people, either the scandal, or the behavior which gave rise to it, occurred while they were occupying their high federal offices, and one or the other date may be used here, even if coverage of the scandal was entirely posthumous. Politicians' sex crimes are not covered in this particular list, regardless of whether there has been a verdict yet.[6]

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  • ✪ Congressional Elections: Crash Course Government and Politics #6

Transcription

Hi, I'm Craig and this is Crash Course Government and Politics, and today we're going to talk about what is, if you ask the general public, the most important part of politics: elections. If you ask me, it's hair styles. Look at Martin Van Buren's sideburns, how could he not be elected? Americans are kind of obsessed with elections, I mean when this was being recorded in early 2015, television, news and the internet were already talking about who would be Democrat and Republican candidates for president in 2016. And many of the candidates have unofficially been campaigning for years. I've been campaigning; your grandma's been campaigning. Presidential elections are exciting and you can gamble on them. Is that legal, can you gamble on them, Stan? Anyway, why we're so obsessed with them is a topic for another day. Right now I'm gonna tell you that the fixation on the presidential elections is wrong, but not because the president doesn't matter. No, today we're gonna look at the elections of the people that are supposed to matter the most, Congress. Constitutionally at least, Congress is the most important branch of government because it is the one that is supposed to be the most responsive to the people. One of the main reasons it's so responsive, at least in theory, is the frequency of elections. If a politician has to run for office often, he or she, because unlike the president we have women serving in Congress, kind of has to pay attention to what the constituents want, a little bit, maybe. By now, I'm sure that most of you have memorized the Constitution, so you recognize that despite their importance in the way we discuss politics, elections aren't really a big feature of the Constitution. Except of course for the ridiculously complex electoral college system for choosing the president, which we don't even want to think about for a few episodes. In fact, here's what the Constitution says about Congressional Elections in Article 1 Section 2: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature." So the Constitution does establish that the whole of the house is up for election every 2 years, and 1/3 of the senate is too, but mainly it leaves the scheduling and rules of elections up to the states. The actual rules of elections, like when the polls are open and where they actually are, as well as the registration requirements, are pretty much up to the states, subject to some federal election law. If you really want to know the rules in your state, I'm sure that someone at the Board of Elections, will be happy to explain them to you. Really, you should give them a call; they're very, very lonely. In general though, here's what we can say about American elections. First stating the super obvious, in order to serve in congress, you need to win an election. In the House of Representatives, each election district chooses a single representative, which is why we call them single-member districts. The number of districts is determined by the Census, which happens every 10 years, and which means that elections ending in zeros are super important, for reasons that I'll explain in greater detail in a future episode. It's because of gerrymandering. The Senate is much easier to figure out because both of the state Senators are elected by the entire state. It's as if the state itself were a single district, which is true for states like Wyoming, which are so unpopulated as to have only 1 representative. Sometimes these elections are called at large elections. Before the election ever happens, you need candidates. How candidates are chosen differs from state to state, but usually it has something to do with political parties, although it doesn't have to. Why are things so complicated?! What we can say is that candidates, or at least good candidates, usually have certain characteristics. Sorry America. First off, if you are gonna run for office, you should have an unblemished record, free of, oh I don't know, felony convictions or sex scandals, except maybe in Louisiana or New York. This might lead to some pretty bland candidates or people who are so calculating that they have no skeletons in their closet, but we Americans are a moral people and like our candidates to reflect our ideals rather than our reality. The second characteristic that a candidate must possess is the ability to raise money. Now some candidates are billionaires and can finance their own campaigns. But most billionaires have better things to do: buying yachts, making even more money, building money forts, buying more yachts, so they don't have time to run for office. But most candidates get their money for their campaigns by asking for it. The ability to raise money is key, especially now, because running for office is expensive. Can I get a how expensive is it? "How expensive is it?!" Well, so expensive that the prices of elections continually rises and in 2012 winners of House races spent nearly 2 million each. Senate winners spent more than 10 million. By the time this episode airs, I'm sure the numbers will be much higher like a gajillion billion million. Money is important in winning an election, but even more important, statistically, is already being in Congress. Let's go to the Thought Bubble. The person holding an office who runs for that office again is called the incumbent and has a big advantage over any challenger. This is according to political scientists who, being almost as bad at naming things as historians, refer to this as incumbency advantage. There are a number of reasons why incumbents tend to hold onto their seats in congress, if they want to. The first is that a sitting congressman has a record to run on, which we hope includes some legislative accomplishments, although for the past few Congresses, these don't seem to matter. The record might include case work, which is providing direct services to constituents. This is usually done by congressional staffers and includes things like answering questions about how to get certain government benefits or writing recommendation letters to West Point. Congressmen can also provide jobs to constituents, which is usually a good way to get them to vote for you. These are either government jobs, kind of rare these days, called patronage or indirect employment through government contracts for programs within a Congressman's district. These programs are called earmarks or pork barrel programs, and they are much less common now because Congress has decided not to use them any more, sort of. The second advantage that incumbents have is that they have a record of winning elections, which if you think about it, is pretty obvious. Being a proven winner makes it easier for a congressmen to raise money, which helps them win, and long term incumbents tend to be more powerful in Congress which makes it even easier for them to raise money and win. The Constitution give incumbents one structural advantage too. Each elected congressman is allowed $100,000 and free postage to send out election materials. This is called the franking privilege. It's not so clear how great an advantage this is in the age of the internet, but at least according to the book The Victory Lab, direct mail from candidates can be surprisingly effective. How real is this incumbency advantage? Well if you look at the numbers, it seems pretty darn real. Over the past 60 years, almost 90% of members of The House of Representatives got re-elected. The Senate has been even more volatile, but even at the low point in 1980 more than 50% of sitting senators got to keep their jobs. Thanks, Thought Bubble. You're so great. So those are some of the features of congressional elections. Now, if you'll permit me to get a little politically sciencey, I'd like to try to explain why elections are so important to the way that Congressmen and Senators do their jobs. In 1974, political scientist David Mayhew published a book in which he described something he called "The Electoral Connection." This was the idea that Congressmen were primarily motivated by the desire to get re-elected, which intuitively makes a lot of sense, even though I'm not sure what evidence he had for this conclusion. Used to be able to get away with that kind of thing I guess, clearly David may-not-hew to the rules of evidence, pun [rim shot], high five, no. Anyway Mayhew's research methodology isn't as important as his idea itself because The Electoral Connection provides a frame work for understanding congressman's activities. Mayhew divided representatives' behaviors and activities into three categories. The first is advertising; congressmen work to develop their personal brand so that they are recognizable to voters. Al D'Amato used to be know in New York as Senator Pothole, because he was able to bring home so much pork that he could actually fix New York's streets. Not by filling them with pork, money, its money, remember pork barrel spending? The second activity is credit claiming; Congressmen get things done so that they can say they got them done. A lot of case work and especially pork barrel spending are done in the name of credit claiming. Related to credit claiming, but slightly different, is position taking. This means making a public judgmental statement on something likely to be of interest to voters. Senators can do this through filibusters. Representatives can't filibuster, but they can hold hearings, publicly supporting a hearing is a way of associating yourself with an idea without having to actually try to pass legislation. And of course they can go on the TV, especially on Sunday talk shows. What's a TV, who even watches TV? Now the idea of The Electoral Connection doesn't explain every action a member of Congress takes; sometimes they actually make laws to benefit the public good or maybe solve problems, huh, what an idea! But Mayhew's idea gives us a way of thinking about Congressional activity, an analytical lens that connects what Congressmen actually do with how most of us understand Congressmen, through elections. So the next time you see a Congressmen call for a hearing on a supposed horrible scandal or read about a Senator threatening to filibuster a policy that may have significant popular support, ask yourself, "Is this Representative claiming credit or taking a position, and how will this build their brand?" In other words: what's the electoral connection and how will whatever they're doing help them get elected? This might feel a little cynical, but the reality is Mayhew's thesis often seems to fit with today's politics. Thanks for watching, see you next week. Vote for me; I'm on the TV. I'm not -- I'm on the YouTube. Crash Course: Government and Politics is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support for Crash Course US Government comes from Voqal. Voqal supports nonprofits that use technology and media to advance social equity. Learn more about their mission and initiatives at Voqal.org. Crash Course is made by all of these nice people. Thanks for watching. That guy isn't nice.

Contents

Definitions

One of the definitions of sex is "physical activity in which people touch each other's bodies, kiss each other, etc."[7] Thus, instances or accusations of sexism or homophobia that do not include or seek that sort of physical activity are not covered by this list.

Scandal is defined as "loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual, accused, or apparent violation of morality or propriety".[8] Scandal is not the same as controversy, which implies two differing points of view, and is also not the same as unpopularity. Misunderstandings, breaches of ethics, or cover-ups may or may not result in scandals depending on the amount of publicity generated, and the seriousness of the alleged behavior.[9]

List

1776–1899

  • Alexander Hamilton (Federalist Party), Secretary of the Treasury, had an affair with Maria Reynolds while both were married to other people (see Hamilton-Reynolds sex scandal). Reynolds' husband blackmailed Hamilton who paid to maintain secrecy. In 1797, when Hamilton no longer held the post of Treasury Secretary, the affair was publicized by journalist James Callender, after which Hamilton publicly apologized. Said Hamilton: "This confession is not made without a blush....I can never cease to condemn myself for the pang which it may inflict in a bosom eminently entitled to all my gratitude, fidelity, and love." (1796)[10][11]
  • Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican-Virginia), President, was publicly accused of fathering the children of his slave Sally Hemings, by journalist James Callender (who had also publicized Alexander Hamilton's affair) in the Jefferson–Hemings controversy.[12] Hemings was the half-sister of Jefferson's late wife Martha, and based partly upon DNA evidence there is now a scholarly consensus that either a relative of Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Jefferson himself fathered several of Sally Hemings' children.[13][14] In January 2000, a Thomas Jefferson Foundation research committee concluded that all the known evidence indicated with high probability that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Eston Hemings, and that he was also likely the father of all six of Sally Hemings's children listed in Monticello records. A later report from a Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society committee differed and came to the conclusion that "Randolph" (presumably Thomas Jefferson Randolph, Jefferson's grandson; he was known to have been invited to visit Monticello around the time of Estons' conception, but no record of an actual visit has been found) is more likely the father, or possibly that one of Jefferson's Carr nephews is the father.[15](1802)
  • Andrew Jackson (Democrat-Tennessee), U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator, territorial (or military) governor (appointed) of Florida, and later President of the United States, had married Rachel Donelson Jackson in 1791. Both of them believed her divorce from her abusive, alcoholic first husband, Lewis Robards, was final. However, Robards had never completed his paperwork, rendering Jackson and Rachel's 1791 marriage void; and the couple married again in 1794. Throughout his later career, opponents of Jackson portrayed Rachel as a bigamist. Shortly after he was elected president in 1828 (but before the inauguration) Rachel suffered a nervous collapse and died. Jackson blamed this on the bigamy charges during the campaign, and he was bereft at the loss of his wife. (1828)[16][17]
  • Richard Mentor Johnson, Senator (Democrat-Kentucky), did not attempt to hide his relationship with a slave named Julia Chinn, which caused his own party to distance themselves from him and contributed to his failed Senate re-election bid in 1828.[18] Though they were prohibited from marrying, Johnson treated her as his common-law wife, and they had children. She died in 1833, before he became Vice-President under Martin Van Buren.
  • John Henry Eaton (Democrat), Secretary of War, allegedly had an affair with Margaret O'Neill Timberlake, the wife of John B. Timberlake, which allegedly drove Timberlake to suicide (see Petticoat Affair). Eaton then married the widow, Peggy, which led to social and political difficulties during the administration of President Andrew Jackson.
  • James Henry Hammond (Nullifier Party-South Carolina) U.S. Representative and later Senator,[19] engaged in a homosexual relationship with a college friend, pursued what he called "a little dalliance" with his teenage nieces, and had sexual relationships with female slaves including a girl aged 12.[20] The affair with his nieces became public in 1843, and forced Hammond to withdraw from his Senate bid in 1846, but he later became a U.S. Senator again in 1857.[21]
  • Daniel Webster, U.S. Senator (Whig-Massachusetts), was the subject of accusations by a reporter, Jane Grey Swisshelm, in May 1850 while he was married and still serving in Congress: "His mistresses are generally, if not always, colored women — some of them big black wenches as ugly and vulgar as himself". The national press widely copied the charges of infidelity, which are at least partly corroborated by other sources. (1850)[22]
  • James Buchanan (Democrat), U.S. Senator, diplomat, later President of the United States, and William Rufus King (Democrat-North Carolina) who served as Vice-President under Franklin Pierce and who died in 1853 before Buchanan became president, were the subject of scandalous gossip alleging a homosexual affair in Washington, D.C., for many years. Andrew Jackson referred to King as "Miss Nancy".[23] (1850s)
  • Grover Cleveland, President (Democrat-New York): During the 1884 presidential race,[24] the news broke that Cleveland had paid child support to the widowed Maria Crofts Halpin for her son Oscar Folsom Cleveland, born in 1874.[25] Halpin accused Cleveland of raping her, leading to her pregnancy, and she also accused him of later institutionalizing her against her will to gain control of their child.[26][27] Cleveland's acknowledgement of Oscar's paternity ameliorated the political situation[25] but the controversy prompted Cleveland's opponents to adopt the chant, "Ma, ma, where's my pa?" After Cleveland won the election, the chant was answered by, "Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha!" (1884)[28]
  • William Campbell Preston Breckinridge, Representative (Democrat-Kentucky). Former mistress Madeleine Pollard sued Breckinridge for breach of promise after his wife died and he failed to marry Pollard as promised. The congressman was not reelected. (1894)[citation needed]
  • George Q. Cannon (Republican) Utah Territorial Delegate, was refused his seat in the Congress due to his arrest for Unlawful Cohabitation (polygamy). He served nearly six months in penitentiary. (1888)[29][30]

1900–1969

  • Arthur Brown (U.S. senator) (Republican-Utah) US Senator, and founder of the Utah State Republican Party, was shot dead by his longtime mistress, Anne Maddison Bradley for having a second mistress. Bradley, who had two children by Brown, was tried, but acquitted on a defense of temporary insanity. (1906)[31][32][33]
  • Woodrow Wilson President (Democrat) allegedly had an affair with Mary Allen Hulbert, whom he met in 1907 when he was president of Princeton University.[34]
  • Warren Harding President (Republican), reportedly had affairs with Carrie Phillips and Nan Britton during the 1910s and early 1920s prior to his death in 1923. Britton claimed in a best-selling 1927 book, The President's Daughter, that her daughter had been fathered by Harding while he was a U.S. senator. Her assertion was finally established as factual in August 2015, when genetic tests confirmed Harding as the father of Elizabeth.[35]
  • David I. Walsh Senator (Democrat-Massachusetts), was accused of visiting a male brothel frequented by Nazi spies in Brooklyn in 1942.[36]
  • Styles Bridges (Republican-New Hampshire) US Senator, during the Lavender Scare of the 1950s, threatened to expose the son of US Senator Lester Hunt (Democrat-Wyoming) as a homosexual unless Hunt resigned from the senate, thus giving Republicans the majority. Hunt refused, but did not seek re-election and then shot himself (1954).[37][38]
  • John F. Kennedy President (Democrat), has been linked to a number of extramarital affairs, including allegations of involvement with Marilyn Monroe, with Judith Campbell Exner[39] and with intern Mimi Alford during 1962–1963.[40][41][42]
  • Lyndon B. Johnson President (Democrat), had extramarital affairs with multiple women over the years, in particular with Alice Marsh (née Glass) who assisted him politically.[43]
  • William O. Douglas U.S. Supreme Court Justice, allegedly pursued other women while married to his third wife, which, combined with his three divorces and remarriages, was considered scandalous. He also reportedly tried to molest a flight attendant in his judicial chambers. Attempted impeachment based upon his moral character failed, when the House Judiciary Committee found insufficient grounds for impeachment.[44][45][self-published source] (1960s)[self-published source]

1970–1979

  • Wilbur Mills, Representative (Democrat-Arkansas), was found intoxicated with stripper Fanne Foxe. He was re-elected anyway, but resigned after giving an intoxicated press conference from Foxe's burlesque house dressing room. (1974)[46]
  • Allan Howe, Representative (Democrat-Utah), was arrested for soliciting two police officers posing as prostitutes. (1976)[47]
  • John Young, Representative (Democrat-Texas): A former female staffer said she received a pay raise after giving in to Young's sexual advances. (1976)[48]
  • Wayne Hays, Representative (Democrat-Ohio): The Elizabeth Ray sex scandal ended his career in 1976. The Washington Post reported that Ray had been on the payroll of a committee run by Hays for two years as a clerk-secretary. During that time, she admitted, her actual job duties were providing Congressman Hays sexual favors: "I can't type, I can't file, I can't even answer the phone." (1976)[49][50][51]
  • Fred Richmond, Representative (Democrat-New York): Charges that he solicited sex from a 16-year-old boy were dropped after he submitted to counseling. (1978)[52]
  • Robert L. Leggett, Representative (Democrat-California), acknowledged that he fathered two illegitimate children by a Congressional secretary, whom he supported financially. He then had an affair with another woman, who was an aide to Speaker Carl Albert. (1976)[53]
  • Joseph P. Wyatt, Jr., Representative (Democrat-Texas) was arrested on homosexual charges in 1979.[54]
  • John Andrew Young (Democrat-Texas) US Representative, a female staffer alleged she was forced to have sex in order to keep her job. Young referred to the charge as ‘poppycock’ though his wife committed suicide the next year. Though he ran again, he lost his next primary election.(1976)[55][56][57]

1980–1989

  • Donald "Buz" Lukens Representative (Republican-Ohio) 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)[58]
  • Robert Bauman, Representative (Republican-Maryland), was charged with attempting to solicit sex from a 16-year-old male prostitute.[59] Upon completing an alcoholism rehabilitation program, the charges were dropped. Bauman apologized to voters for his indiscretions but was defeated for re-election.[59] (1980)
  • Jon Hinson, Representative (Republican-Mississippi), resigned after being charged with attempted sodomy for performing oral sex on a male employee of the Library of Congress.[60] (1981)
  • Thomas Evans, Representative (Republican-Delaware), went golfing in Florida with nude model and lobbyist Paula Parkinson, who later suggested her lobbying techniques had been "unusually tactile".[61] Though Evans apologized for any appearance of impropriety, he was voted out of office in 1982. Future Vice-President Dan Quayle and Congressman Tom Railsback went on the golf trip too but were not implicated in the sex.[62] Marilyn Quayle said it was common knowledge that her husband would "rather play golf than have sex any day."[63] (1981)
  • John Schmitz, Representative (Republican-California), leader of the ultra-conservative John Birch Society,[64] admitted to having a second family, but refused to accept or support the two children he produced who became wards of the state. (1982)[65]
  • Dan Crane, Representative, (Republican-Illinois), was censured July 20, 1983, in the Congressional Page sex scandal for having sex with a 17-year-old congressional page. (1983)[66]
  • Gerry Studds, Representative (Democrat-Massachusetts), was censured July 20, 1983, in the Congressional Page sex scandal for having sex with a 17-year-old congressional page. (1983)[66]
  • Gary Hart, Senator (Democrat-Colorado), was the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in the 1988 presidential elections. He was photographed with model Donna Rice on a boat named 'Monkey Business' during a trip to the Bahamas, raising questions of infidelity. His popularity plummeted and he soon dropped out. (1987).[67] Thirty years later it was alleged that the photo had been staged in a set-up, orchestrated by the rival campaign of then-Vice President George H. W. Bush.[68]
  • Ernie Konnyu, Representative (Republican-California), Konnyu was accused of sexual harassment. He had asked a female aide to move a name tag she was wearing because it was drawing attention to her breasts, about which he later said: "She is not exactly heavily stacked, OK?" In another instance, he reportedly touched the knee of lobbyist Polly Minor during lunch, which caused a scene. GOP leaders were unhappy with Konnyu's temperament anyway, so they found Stanford professor Tom Campbell who ousted Konnyu the following June.[69][70] (1987)
  • Barney Frank, Representative (Democrat-Massachusetts), was reprimanded by the House for fixing 33 parking tickets for Steve Gobie, a male escort who lived with Frank and claimed to have conducted an escort service from Frank's apartment without his knowledge. (1989)[71]
  • Gus Savage, Representative (Democrat-Illinois), was accused of trying to force himself on a female Peace Corps worker while in Zaire.[72] No action was taken by the House Ethics Committee after he apologized to her. (1989)[73]

1990–1999

  • Arlan Stangeland (Republican-Minnesota) U.S. House of Representatives (1977 – 1991). He lost his campaign for re-election in 1990, largely because of a scandal, having made several hundred long-distance phone calls on his House credit card to a female lobbyist from Virginia. He admitted that he had made the calls, but denied having a romantic relationship with the woman. After his loss he subsequently retired from politics.(1990)[74][75]
  • Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court justice, was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill and several other women prior to his Senate confirmation hearings. He later wrote an autobiography addressing Anita Hill's allegations, and she also wrote an autobiography addressing her experience in the hearings. (1991) [76]
  • Austin J. Murphy, Representative (Democrat-Pennsylvania), acknowledged fathering a child out of wedlock after a political opponent came forward with video of Murphy leaving the home of his mistress.[77] (1990)
  • Charles S. Robb Senator (Democrat-Virginia) while married to Lynda Bird Johnson, Robb acknowledged drinking champagne and having a nude massage with Miss Virginia Tai Collins denying an affair, though he admitted an "indiscreet friendship." Collins claimed it was an 18-month affair. Soon after, Collins appeared nude in Playboy.[78] (1991)
  • Brock Adams, Senator (Democrat-Washington), was accused by eight women of committing various acts of sexual misconduct, ranging from sexual harassment to rape.[79] Adams denied the accusations, there was no criminal prosecution, and he did not run for re-election.[80] (1992)
  • Robert Packwood, Senator (Republican-Oregon), resigned his office after 29 women came forward with claims of sexual harassment, abuse, and assaults. His denials of any wrongdoing were eventually contradicted by his own diaries boasting of his sexual conquests. (1995)[81]
  • Ken Calvert, Representative (Republican-California), was involved with a prostitute, but claimed that no money was involved, and he was not arrested.[82] Calvert apologized: "My conduct that evening was inappropriate.... it violated the values of the person I strive to be."[82] (1993)
  • Helen Chenoweth-Hage, Representative (Republican-Idaho), called for the resignation of Bill Clinton, and then admitted in 1998 to having had a six-year affair with a married rancher before she entered government.[83] Chenoweth said: "Fourteen years ago, when I was a private citizen and a single woman, I was involved in a relationship that I came to regret, that I'm not proud of....I only wish I could have learned the lessons sooner."[84] (1998)
  • Bob Barr, Representative (Republican-Georgia), had an affair while married to his second wife. Barr was the first lawmaker in either chamber to call for Clinton's resignation due to the Lewinsky scandal. Barr lost a primary challenge less than three years after the impeachment proceedings. (1999)[85]
  • Dan Burton, Representative (Republican-Indiana): In 1995 speaking of the then-recent affairs of Republican Robert Packwood and the unfolding affair of Democrat Bill Clinton Burton stated "No one, regardless of what party they serve, no one, regardless of what branch of government they serve, should be allowed to get away with these alleged sexual improprieties...." In 1998 Vanity Fair printed an article detailing an affair which Burton himself had in 1983 which produced a child. Before publication Burton admitted to fathering a son with a former state employee.[86][87]
  • Robert Livingston, Representative (Republican-Louisiana), called for the resignation of Bill Clinton and when his own extramarital affairs were leaked, his wife urged him to resign and urge Clinton to do likewise. (1998)[88][89]
  • Newt Gingrich, Representative (Republican-Georgia) and leader of the Republican Revolution of 1994,[90] resigned from the House after admitting in 1998 to having had an affair with a staffer while he was married to his second wife, and at the same time he was leading the impeachment of Bill Clinton for perjury regarding an affair with his intern Monica Lewinsky. (1998)[91][92]
  • Henry Hyde, Representative (Republican-Illinois): in 1998, Salon.com stated that from 1965 to 1969 (before Hyde won federal office), he conducted an extramarital sexual affair with a married woman who had three children from her marriage. Hyde, who was 41 years old and married when the affair occurred, admitted to the affair in 1998, describing the relationship as a "youthful indiscretion".The revelation of this affair took place as Hyde was spearheading the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.[93]
  • Pete Domenici Senator (Republican-New Mexico) voted for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998 after his affair with Monica Lewinsky. In 2013 he confessed that in 1978 he fathered a son, Adam Laxalt, outside of his marriage; Adam Laxalt's mother is Michelle Laxalt, the daughter of Senator Paul Laxalt and a prominent Republican lobbyist.[94][95]
  • Bill Clinton, President (Democrat) Revelations that White House intern Monica Lewinsky had oral sex with Clinton in the Oval Office leading him to famously declare on TV on January 26, 1998, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." The scandal led to impeachment by the House for perjury, for lying about the affair under oath. He was acquitted in the Senate with 55 senators voting Not Guilty to 45 senators voting Guilty (falling 22 votes short of the two-thirds necessary to convict). (1998)[96][97] In a plea bargain to avoid another trial alleging charges of impeding the initial investigation, Clinton's law license was suspended by the state of Arkansas for five years.[98] Additionally, Clinton was accused by Juanita Broaddrick for sexual assault.[99]
  • Mel Reynolds, Representative (Democrat-Illinois), resigned from Congress in 1995 after a conviction for statutory rape. In August 1994, he was indicted for sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse for engaging in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old campaign volunteer that began during the 1992 campaign.[100] Despite the charges, he continued his campaign and was re-elected that November; he had no opposition.[100] Reynolds initially denied the charges, which he claimed were racially motivated. On August 22, 1995, he was convicted on 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography. He resigned his seat on October 1 of that year.[101]

2000–2009

Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Melania Trump and Donald Trump's alleged mistress Karen McDougal
Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Melania Trump and Donald Trump's alleged mistress Karen McDougal
  • Gary Condit, Representative (Democrat-California): his affair with 23-year-old intern Chandra Levy was exposed after Levy disappeared. Her body was found a year later and in 2008, an illegal immigrant with no relation to Condit was charged with her murder but years later all charges against the suspect were dropped. The murder of Chandra Levy remains unsolved.[102] Condit had often demanded that Bill Clinton "come clean" about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. (2001)[103]
  • Ed Schrock, Representative (Republican-Virginia), announced he would abort his 2004 attempt for a third term in Congress after allegedly being caught on tape soliciting sex with men after having aggressively opposed various gay-rights issues in Congress, such as same-sex marriage and gays in the military.[104]
  • Strom Thurmond, Senator before 1964 (Democrat-South Carolina), after 1964 (Republican-South Carolina), noted segregationist, fathered a child, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, with a 16-year-old African American in 1925 who was employed by the Thurmond family. (2003)[105]
  • Steven C. LaTourette, Representative (Republican-Ohio), was elected in 1994 and had voted to impeach Bill Clinton for the Lewinsky scandal. He himself had a long-term affair with his chief of staff, Jennifer Laptook, while he was married. He married Laptook after his divorce. (2003)[106]
  • Don Sherwood, Representative (Republican-Pennsylvania), failed to win re-election following revelations of a five-year extramarital affair with Cynthia Ore, who accused him of physically abusing her. (2004)[107]
  • Mark Foley, Representative (Republican-Florida), resigned his House seat when accused of sending sexually explicit e-mails to teenage male congressional pages. He was replaced by Tim Mahoney. (2006)[108]
  • Jim Gibbons (Republican-Nevada) US House of Representatives from the 2nd District was campaigning for Governor when he walked waitress Chrissy Mazzeo to her car. She claimed he threw her against a wall and threatened to sexually assault her. He claimed she tripped and he caught her. The civil lawsuit was settled by the payment of $50,000 to Mazzeo. Six weeks later he was elected governor.[109][110][111]
  • David Vitter, Senator (Republican-Louisiana), took over the House seat of former Congressman Robert Livingston, who resigned in 1999 following revelations of an extramarital affair. At the time, Vitter stated, "I think Livingston's stepping down makes a very powerful argument that (Bill) Clinton should resign as well...."[112] Vitter's name was then discovered in the address book of Deborah Jeane Palfrey (the "D.C. Madam"). (2007)[113]
  • Randall L. Tobias (Republican), Deputy Secretary of State and former "AIDS Czar" appointed by George W. Bush, stated that U.S. funds should be denied to countries that permitted prostitution.[114] He resigned on April 27, 2007, after confirming that he had been a customer of Deborah Jeane Palfrey (the "D.C. Madam").[115]
  • Larry Craig (Republican-Idaho), a U.S. Senator for 18 years, was arrested on June 11, 2007 and charged with lewd conduct arising from his behavior in a men's restroom at the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport.[116][117][118] Craig pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct; he later unsuccessfully sought to withdraw his guilty plea.[119][120][121] He announced his resignation three months later on September 1, 2007, but changed his mind again, although he did not seek re-election in 2008. (2007)[122][123][124][125][126][127][128]
  • Tim Mahoney, Representative (Democrat-Florida), was elected to the seat of Mark Foley, who had resigned following sexual harassment charges from his congressional interns. Mahoney ran on a campaign promise to make "a world that is safer, more moral". In October 2008, he admitted he placed his mistress on his staff and then fired her, saying, "You work at my pleasure." He then admitted to multiple other affairs.[129]
  • Vito Fossella, Representative (Republican-New York), was arrested for drunken driving. Under questioning, the married Congressman and father of three admitted to an affair with Laura Fay that produced a daughter. (2008)[130]
  • John Edwards, Senator (Democrat-North Carolina), admitted to an extramarital affair with actress and film producer Rielle Hunter, which produced a child, seriously undercutting his 2008 presidential campaign.[131] (see federal political scandals)
  • John Ensign, Senator (Republican-Nevada), resigned his position as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee on June 16, 2009, after admitting he had an affair with the wife of a close friend, both of whom were working on his campaign.[132] Under investigation, he then resigned his Senate seat 20 months early in 2011.[133] In 1998, Senator Ensign had called for President Bill Clinton (Democrat) to resign after admitting to sexual acts with Monica Lewinsky. (2009)[134]
  • Chip Pickering, Representative (Republican-Mississippi): on July 16, 2009, it was announced that his wife had filed an alienation of affection lawsuit against a woman with whom Chip allegedly had an affair.[135] The lawsuit claimed the adulterous relationship ruined the Pickerings' marriage and his political career. (2009)[136]

2010–2019

  • Eric Massa, Representative (Democrat-New York), resigned to avoid an ethics investigation into his admitted groping and tickling of multiple male staffers. He later stated on Fox News, "not only did I grope [a staffer], I tickled him until he couldn't breathe," (2010)[137][138]
  • Mark Souder, Representative (Republican-Indiana), a staunch advocate of abstinence and family values,[139][140] resigned to avoid an ethics investigation into his admitted extramarital affair with a female staffer. (2010)[141][142][143]
  • Chris Lee, Representative (Republican-New York), resigned hours after a news report that he had sent a shirtless picture of himself flexing his muscles to a woman via Craigslist, along with flirtatious e-mails.[144] He did not rely on a pseudonym or a false e-mail address but used his official Congressional e-mail for all communication. Lee said: "I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents.... I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness."[145] (2011)
  • Anthony Weiner, Representative (Democrat-New York), admitted to sending sexually explicit photos of himself to several women through his Twitter account.[146] He resigned from Congress on June 16, 2011,[147] but kept sexting after his resignation.[148] (2011) On Nov 6, 2017, Weiner began serving a 21-month sentence for sexting a 15-year-old girl.[149]
  • Scott DesJarlais, Representative (Republican-Tennessee), admitted under oath to at least six affairs, including two affairs with his patients and staffers while he was a physician at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, TN. Additionally, while running on a pro-life platform, DesJarlais made his ex-wife have two abortions, and tried to persuade a mistress who was his patient, into an abortion as well.[150][151][152]
  • David Wu, Representative (Democrat-Oregon), resigned from the House of Representatives after being accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward a fundraiser's daughter. July 26, 2011.[153][154]
  • Vance McAllister, Representative (Republican-Louisiana), who is married and the father of five, was caught on surveillance camera deeply kissing a married staffer. Several prominent Republicans asked McAllister to resign. In response, he stated he would not seek re-election in 2016.[155] McCallister said: "There's no doubt I've fallen short and I'm asking for forgiveness. I'm asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve". (2014)[156]
  • Blake Farenthold, US Representative (Republican-Texas) was reported to have paid $84,000 of taxpayer money, via the House of Representatives Office of Compliance, to settle a sexual harassment complaint from a former staffer. Farenthold's former communications director Lauren Greene sued the congressman in December 2014,[157] and a settlement was reached in 2015. The identity of Farenthold with respect to taxpayer involvement was made public in 2017. This was the first documented case of taxpayer funds being used to settle sexual harassment complaints against a member of Congress. (2014)[158]
  • Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (Republican-Illinois), pled guilty to structuring bank withdrawals in order to conceal deliberately-unspecified misconduct by Hastert against an unnamed individual years earlier.[159] At a sentencing hearing in October 2015, Hastert admitted that he had sexually abused boys while he worked as a high school wrestling coach decades earlier. (2015)[160][161]
  • Donald Trump (Republican), the 45th President of the United States, was accused of sexual assault by 13 women during the 2016 election and he denied the allegations.[162] The allegations arose after The Washington Post released a 2005 video of Trump, recorded on a hot microphone by Access Hollywood, in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women.[163][164][165] Trump himself renewed the controversy a year later by alleging that the video was fake,[166] to which Access Hollywood replied, "Let us make this perfectly clear — the tape is very real. Remember his excuse at the time was 'locker-room talk.' He said every one of those words."[167][168] The first reports of an alleged 2006 affair between Donald Trump and adult film star Stormy Daniels were published in October 2011 by the blog The Dirty and the magazine Life & Style.[169][170]
  • Tim Murphy, Representative (Republican-Pennsylvania), had an extramarital affair with Shannon Edwards, a 32-year-old forensic psychologist. The pro-life Murphy asked Edwards to have an abortion after she became pregnant. The information was revealed as part of Murphy's divorce proceedings and published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after it fought in Pennsylvania state court to have the documents unsealed. Murphy resigned his seat in Congress.
  • Al Franken Senator (Democrat-Minnesota), was accused by radio newscaster Leeann Tweeden of forcibly kissing her as part of a skit and later being in a photo pretending to grope her without consent (there was no actual physical contact) during a U.S.O. tour in 2006. Tweeden produced photo evidence of the pretend grope, taken of Franken when Tweeden was asleep. Franken admitted to the allegations and apologized for his actions and then resigned.[171]
  • Joe Barton (Republican-Texas) US Representative, acknowledged he took and emailed nude photos of himself in 2015, following their leak in November 2017.[172][173][174] He decided not to seek re-election in 2018.[175]
  • John Conyers Jr. US Congressman (Democrat-Michigan), A former staffer for Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan accused the Detroit Democrat of unwanted sexual advances. A woman who had settled a sexual harassment claim against him stated that the lawmaker had "violated" her body, repeatedly propositioned her for sex and asked her to touch his genitals. He then resigned.(2017)[176][177]
  • Trent Franks (Republican-Arizona) US Representative, was investigated by the House Ethics Commission about allegations of improper conduct. Before the study concluded, Franks abruptly resigned. (2017)[178][179][180]
  • Pat Meehan (Republican-Pennsylvania) In January, 2018, it was revealed that US Representative Pat Meehan used tax payer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim by a female staffer. He was removed from the House Ethics Committee, but remained in office until he resigned on April 27, 2018, stating that he would repay the taxpayer money used to settle the suit. (2018)[181][182][183]
  • Jim Jordan (Republican-Ohio) was accused of covering up sexual abuse of covering up and failing to report sexual abuse of minors by former members of the Ohio State University wrestling team by the team physician. There were multiple victims during the period when Jordan was Assistant Coach of the team from 1987-1995. On February 12, 2020, allegations surfaced from one of those former members that Jordan (was) ”repeatedly crying and begging him not to corroborate accounts of sexual abuse against the university’s wrestling team doctor that occurred when Jordan was a coach.”[184]
  • Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, was accused of sexual assault and misconduct by Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and three other women, in alleged incidents that occurred during his high school and college years.[185] Some Senators demanded an F.B.I. investigation into the allegations as part of his background check. The ensuing investigation by the F.B.I. included additional interviews with alleged witnesses pursuant especially to the Ford accusation, but was criticized by some for the decision to not pursue the testimony of some college classmates and to rely on Ford's senate testimony instead of obtaining a new interview with her.[186][187]. The FBI concluded that there was no corroboration of the accusations. One of his accusers falsely claimed credit for a "Jane Doe" letter, but later recanted authorship, admitting that an unknown person actually wrote and submitted it. [188] [189] Kavanaugh vehemently denied all of the allegations. He was confirmed by the Senate in a party line vote and was sworn in as a justice of the Supreme Court.
  • Katie Hill, U.S. Representative (Democrat-California), In October 2019, news reports indicated that she was being investigated by the House Ethics Commission about allegations of sexual relationships with a subordinate. [190][191][192][193] Hill announced her resignation later that week, becoming the first congresswoman in US history to resign due to a sex scandal.

See also

Federal politicians:

State and local politics:

Notes

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