Democratic Scandals


The scandals and investigations go on and on.

When this was originally posted, the miscreants seem to include mostly Republicans. But Indian money, one of the newer corrupting influences to arrive on the scene, has been sprinkled out to members of both parties and I think we should expect to see some Democrats caught up in the current wave of corruption. Note that Senator Barbra Boxer’s son represents some Indian gambling interests up here North of the Bridge.

Courtesy of, and with a few additions and changes, here’s a listing of Democrats who’ve gotten their hands caught in the cookie jar over the years.

Why would a curmudgeonly supporter of liberal causes post such a list? I believe it’s important to present a complete picture of the situation, and the fact is that over the years, both Republicans and Democrats have violated the public trust. We need to be up front about that and create a
atmosphere that eliminates this kind of behavior no matter who’s doing this sort of stuff.

We could start by a truly independent, well funded ethics watchdog with teeth and tenacity.

So here’s a list of Democrats that have managed to disgrace themselves. It’s not a matter of who wins with the longest or shorter list of corrupt politicians, I’m tying to add some perspective and humility to show that nobody is perfect here.

The common wisdom is that Republicans are into abuse of power and Democrats get into personal scandals. Notice that not all of these Democratic lapses are over sex or personal issues, some I think, arise from being involved with corrupt Democratic machine politics, some are silly, and others are just crooks.

Please let me know of any errors or omissions on this list.

Lee Alexander — Mayor of Syracuse, N.Y. from 1970 to 1985. Was indicted over a $1.5 million kickback scandal. Pleaded guilty to racketeering and tax evasion charges. Served six years in prison.

Frank Ballance — Congressman North Carolina. Pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering related to mishandling of money by his charitable foundation.

Marion Barry — mayor of Washington, D.C., from 1979 to 1991 and again from 1995 to 1999. Convicted of cocaine possession after being caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine. Sentenced to six months in prison.

Sandy Berger — National Security Adviser during the Clinton Administration. On September 8, 2005, Berger was sentenced to two years probation, 100 hours of community service, and a fine of $50,000 for unlawfully stuffing classified documents from the National Archives into his pants and intentionally destroying some of them.

Mario Biaggi (1917-2005) — U.S. Representative from New York from 1969 to 1988. Indicted on federal charges that he had accepted bribes in return for influence on federal contracts. Convicted of obstructing justice and accepting illegal gratuities. Tried in 1988 on federal racketeering charges and convicted on 15 felony counts.

James “Jim” Boyce Black (b. 1935) — Long time Speaker of the North Carolina House. Black pleaded guilty to a federal charge of public corruption on February 15, 2007, a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He admitted to accepting funds from chiropractors while their professional group had legislation pending in the North Carolina General Assembly. As a result, he resigned from the General Assembly on February 14, 2007.

William Campbell Preston Breckinridge — (1837-1904) Elected from Kentucky to the United States House of Representatives in 1885. A $50,000 paternity suit filed in 1893 by his teenage mistress, Madeline Pollard, scuttled his reelection to the House.

Daniel Baugh Brewster — U.S. Senator from Maryland. Indicted on charges of accepting illegal gratuity while in Senate.

Corrine Brown (b. 1946) — In July, 2017 a federal jury in Jacksonville convicted the former 12-term Florida congresswoman on 18 of 22 corruption counts ranging from mail fraud to filing a false federal tax return.

Aaron Burr (1756-1836) — Democrat of New York, New York County, Colonel in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War; lawyer; member of New York state assembly from New York County, 1784-85; New York state attorney general, 1789-91; appointed 1789; U.S. Senator from New York, 1791-97; Vice President of the United States, 1801-05. Presbyterian. Killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, July 11, 1804. Tried for treason in 1807 and acquitted.

Albert G. Bustamante — U.S. Representative from Texas from 1985 to 1993. Convicted in 1993 on racketeering and bribery charges and sentenced to prison.

Bill Campbell — Mayor of Atlanta. Indicted and charged with fraud over claims he accepted improper payments from contractors seeking city contracts.

John A. Celona — A former state senator was charged with the three counts of mail fraud. Federal prosecutors accused him of defrauding the state and collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from CVS Corp. and others while serving in the legislature. Celona has agreed to plead guilty to taking money from the CVS pharmacy chain and other companies that had interest in legislation. Under the deal, Celona agreed to cooperate with investigators. He faces up to five years in federal prison on each of the three counts and a $250,000 fine.

Henry J. Cianfrani (1923-2002) — Pennsylvania State Senate from 1967 to 1976. Convicted on federal charges of racketeering and mail fraud for padding his Senate payroll. Sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Henry Cisneros — U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1993 to 1997.
Pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of lying to the FBI. I believe this was about $250,000 in alleged “hush money” he paid to a former mistress. This investigation cost the taxpayers about $9 million dollars.

William Lacy Clay, Sr. (b. 1931) — Representative from Missouri. Clay faced ethic charges in the 1970’s for billing the government for auto trips while flying on airlines. He was discovered to have had 328 overdrafts during the investigation of the House banking scandal.

William J. Clinton (b. 1946) — Impeached by the House of Representatives over allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice, but acquitted by the Senate.

Gary Condit — US Democratic Congressman from California. Condit had an affair with an intern. Condit, covered up the affair and lied to police after she went missing. No charges were ever filed against Condit. Her remains were discovered in a Washington DC park. Her killer was eventually found.

Jerry Cosentino — Illinois State Treasurer. Pleaded guilty to bank fraud – fined $5,000 and sentenced to nine months home confinement.

George Crockett, Jr.— U.S. Representative from Michigan. Served four months in federal prison for contempt of court following his defense of a Communist leader on trial for advocating the overthrow of the government.

Gloria Davis — Bronx assemblywoman. Pleaded guilty to second-degree bribe-taking

Charles Coles Diggs, Jr.— U.S. Representative from Michigan from 1955 to 1980. Convicted on eleven counts of mail fraud and filing false payroll forms- sentenced to three years in prison.

DNC — The Federal Election Commission imposed $719,000 in fines against participants in the 1996 Democratic Party fund raising scandals involving contributions from China, Korea and other foreign sources. The Federal Election Commission said it decided to drop cases
against contributors of more than $3 million in illegal DNC contributions because the respondents left the country or the corporations are defunct.

Thomas Joseph Dodd (1907 – 1971) — U.S. Senator from Connecticut. Censured by the Senate for financial improprieties, having diverted $116,000 in campaign and testimonial funds to his own use. He is the father of U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd.

Angelo Errichetti — New Jersey State Senator was sentenced to six years in prison and fined $40,000 for his involvement in Abscam.

Chaka Fattah (b. 1956) — Pennsylvania Representative (1995-2016) began a 10 year federal prison sentence for 29 counts of misappropriating campaign funds.
Walter Fauntroy — Delegate to U.S. Congress from the District of Columbia from 1971 to 1991. Charged in federal court with making false statements on financial disclosure forms. Pleaded guilty to one felony count and sentenced to probation.

Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein (b. 1933) — Between 2001 and 2006, Diane Feinstein served as the ranking member of the United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, also known as the “MILCON” subcommittee. Feinstein also served as chair of the MILCON subcommittee when the Democrats controlled the Senate in 2001 and 2002.

While on the MILCON subcommitte, Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions of dollars some of which went to firms owned by her husband, Richard C. Blum. This included millions of dollars in contracts awarded to Blum’s Perini Corporation to provide goods and services in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As the ranking Democratic, Feinstein would have again become chair of the MILCON subcommittee when the Democratically controlled Senate of the 110th Congress was sworn in on January 4, 2007. However, Feinstein resigned from the subcommittee prior to the new congressional term, forfeiting chairmanship of the MILCON subcommittee to Tim Johnson. Metro Newspapers reported that Feinstein’s resignation was attributable to a series of articles, partially funded by the progressive Nation Institute, exposing the potential conflict of interest posed by Feinstein’s voting to award contracts to her husband’s firms.

In April 2007, Feinstein’s office denied any ethical conflict, however, the director of the Project on Government Oversight who has examined evidence assembled by investigative reporter Peter Byrne stated that “the paper trail showing Senator Feinstein’s conflict of interest is irrefutable.”

Additional scandal arose when it was revealed that members of Feinstein’s Senate staff attempted to purge references to these alleged conflicts of interest from the Wikipedia articles on herself and her husband.

Additionally, in 1990, Senator Feinstein failed to disclose that her husband had guaranteed her 1990 campaign loans, which resulted in a $190,000 fine. This information was also initially deleted from Wikipedia by a Feinstein staffer in 2006.

Robert” Bob” Filner (b.1942) — U.S. Representative from the San Diego, California area.

On August 19, 2007 Filner was involved in an altercation with a United Airlines employee at Dulles International Airport after he tried to gain access to an area of Dulles Airport that is only for authorized personnel. Witnesses recount seeing Filner push an employee of United Airlines after allegedly being angry by the amount of time it was taking to receive his checked baggage; he also refused to leave the area. The employee pressed charges and Filner is scheduled to appear in General District Court on October 2, 2007.

On November 26, 2007, Filner entered a plea in Virginia to a lesser charge and was fined $100.00 He entered into an “Alford plea”.

Filner was involved in an earlier incident with security in February 2003 at the El Centra, California immigration detention facility. Filner arrived at the facility and requested to see a Pakistani detainee. When he was denied access pending approval, Filner became argumentative, trespassed onto a secure area, and attempted to shove his way past security to get farther into the facility. According to the supervisor who filed the report, Filner stated that “[He is] a congressman and can do whatever [he] want[s].”

Daniel Flood — U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania from 1945 to 1947, 1949 to 1953 and 1955 to 1980. Pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge involving payoffs and sentenced to probation.

Barney Frank — U.S. Representative from Massachusetts from 1981 to present. Admitted to having paid Stephen L. Gobie, a male prostitute, for sex and subsequently hiring Gobie as his personal assistant. Gobie used the congressman’s Washington apartment for prostitution. A move to expel Frank from the House of Representatives failed and a motion to censure him failed.

Cornelius Edward Gallagher — U.S. Representative from New Jersey from 1959 to 1973. Indicted in on federal charges of income tax evasion, conspiracy, and perjury.

Robert Garcia (1933-2017) — U.S. Representative from New York from 1978-1990. Was convicted on seven counts of extortion and bribery. He served three months in jail.

David Giles — candidate for U.S. Representative from Washington in 1986 and 1990. Convicted in June 2000 of child rape.

Neil Goldschmidt — Oregon governor. Admitted to having an illegal sexual relationship with a 14-year-old teenager while he was serving as Mayor of Portland.

James C. Green — North Carolina State House of Representatives from 1961 to 1977. Charged with accepting a bribe from an undercover FBI agent, but was acquitted. Convicted of tax evasion in 1997.

Roger L. Green (b. 1949) — Brooklyn Assemblyman. Pleaded guilty in 2004 to a misdemeanor for accepting travel reimbursement for trips he did not pay for and was sentenced to fines and probation

David Hall — Governor of Oklahoma from 1971 to 1975. Indicted on extortion and conspiracy charges. Convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.

Richard Hanna — U.S. Representative from California from 1963 to 1974. Received payments of about $200,000 from a Korean businessman in what became known as the “Koreagate” influence buying scandal. Pleaded guilty and sentenced to federal prison.

Alcee Lamar Hastings (b. 1936) — U.S. Representative from Florida. Impeached and removed from office as federal judge in 1989 over bribery charges. Hastings accepted a $150,000 bribe in 1981 in exchange for a lenient sentence and a return of seized assets for 21 counts of racketeering by Frank and Thomas Romano, and of perjury in his testimony about the case.

11-15-06: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi considers Hastings for the post of Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in “a decision pregnant with personal animus,” according to the Washington Times.

Wayne Levere Hays (1911–1989) — Hays was the chairman of the House Administration Committee. In 1976, Elizabeth Ray revealed that Hays had hired her as a secretary but she said she couldn’t type, couldn’t file and couldn’t even answer the telephone. Hays was paying Ray $14,000 a year to be his mistress. Hays eventually resigned from Congress.

Alan G, Hevesi (b. 1940) — New York State Comptroller who had a state employee chauffeur his ailing wife around. Hevesi claimed she required security, but a state police threat assessment found no grounds for providing security for Hevesi’s wife. No records were apparently kept for the state employee who drove Nevesi’s wife around. Nevesi and the driver came up with a reimbursement figure of over $82,000 which Nevesi paid back to the state. In November 2006, the New York State Attorney General’s Office ordered Nevesi to pay an additional $90,000 to cover the unauthorized use of a state driver. In November 2006 a former U.S. Attorney appointed by the New York Governor reported (.pdf) there was a “preponderance of evidence” that Nevesi knowingly violated the law when he had a staffer drive his wife from 2003 to 2006. (Added 11-5-06)

Abraham J. Hirschfeld — candidate in Democratic primary for U.S. Senator from New York in 1974 and 1976. Offered Paula Jones $1 million to drop her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton. Convicted in 2000 of trying to hire a hit man to kill his business partner.

Allan Turner Howe — U.S. Representative from Utah from 1975 to 1977. Arrested for soliciting a policewoman posing as a prostitute.

Maria Hsia (b. 1951) — California Democratic fund raiser. On March 2, 2000, Hsia was convicted of violating campaign financing laws for her part in what became known as the “Chinagate” scandal.

Carroll Hubbard, Jr.— Kentucky State Senate from 1968 to 1975 and U.S. Representative from Kentucky from 1975 to 1993. Pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the Federal Elections Commission and to theft of government property; sentenced to three years in prison.

Webster Hubbell — Chief Justice of Arkansas State Supreme Court in 1983. Pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud and tax evasion charges – sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Harold M. Ickes (b. 1939) — Son of FDR’s Secretary of Interior Harold L. Ickes. Former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton. In 1977, Ickes joined the Long Island law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, sometimes known as, “The Firm.” Ickes was in charge of their labor practice. Ickes represented unions controlled by the Colombo and Gambino crime families. He later became involved in the “Teamstergate” funding scandal. (added 10-1-06)

Jesse Jackson — Democratic candidate for President Admitted to having an extramarital affair and fathering a illegitimate child.

William Jefferson — U.S. Representative from Louisiana is under investigation for bribery in 2006. A search of Jefferson’s house turned up $90,000 stashed in various frozen food containers in his freezer. FBI agents told a judge that the money was part of a $100,000 payment that had been delivered by an informant in the bribery case. (Added 9-14-06)

John Wilson Jenrette, Jr. — U.S. Representative from South Carolina from 1975 to 1980. Implicated in the Abscam sting. Convicted on bribery and conspiracy charges and sentenced to prison.

Mark B. Jimenez — Democrat fund raiser – sentenced to 27 months in prison on charges of tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the United States and commit election financing offenses.

Abdul Rehman Jinnah (b. 1951) — Indicted in for violation of campaign finance laws. Jinnah appears to have attempted to circumvent election laws by reimbursing friends, business contacts and their family members for contributions made to numerous California Democrats in their names, according to court records. Sources believe he has fled to Pakistan. (Source)

Linda Ruta Kelly (b. 1954) — Sebastopol City Councilwoman. Arrested in May 2007 for DUI and again arrested in September 2007 for vandalism of a car parked at her neighbor’s house. Her neighbor is the Mayor of Sebastopol.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963) — President 1961-1963. According to the US Senate Church Committee, Kennedy carried on an affair with Judith Campbell Exner, who was simultaneously having an affair with Sam Giancana, the boss of the Chicago Mafia, while Giancana was conspiring with the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro. In June, 1963, Kennedy also was present at a Los Angeles fund-raiser that was attended by Sidney Korshak, Al Hart, and Eugene Wyman, all organized crime figures. His Democratic presidential campaign collected millions from “The Boys” on the Las Vegas strip. Often hung with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack in the steam room at the Sands Hotel. His “Pack” nickname was “Chicky Baby.” Used the presidential helicopter to fly in and out of Hollywood to date Marilyn Monroe.

Otto Kerner, Jr. — Governor of Illinois from 1961 to 1968. While serving as Governor, he and another official made a gain of over $300,000 in a stock deal. Convicted on 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury, and related charges. Sentenced to three years in federal prison and fined

Kwame Malik Kilpatrick (b. 1970) — Kilpatrick is a former Michigan state representative and Democratic mayor of Detroit. He resigned as mayor after being convicted on felony counts, including perjury and obstruction of justice. Kilpatrick was sentenced to four months in jail after pleading guilty, and was released on probation after serving 99 days. On May 25, 2010, he was sentenced to 18 months to 5 years in prison for violating his probation.

John Kithaber (b. 1947) — Four term Governor of Oregon, resigned in February 2015 amid allegations that his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes collected hundreds of thousands of consulting fees from an out-of-state green energy company at the same time she was advising the governor on clean energy policy.

Joseph Kolter — Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from 1969 to 1982 and U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania from 1983 to 1993. Indicted by a Federal grand jury on five felony charges of embezzlement at the U.S. House post office. Pleaded guilty.

Raymond Lederer — U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania from 1977 to 1981. Implicated in the Abscam sting – convicted of bribery and sentenced to three years in prison and fined $20,000.

Roland V. Libonati (1900-1991) — Representative from Chicago 1957-1965. Chicago attorney who was considered to the “mob’s congressman.” Quoted as saying that Al Capone henchmen such as Tony Accardo and Paul “The Waiter” Ricca are really “charitable” and “patriotic” fellows. Opposed legislation urged by the Chicago Crime Commission and backed bills that the gamblers liked.

Nicholas Mavroules — U.S. Representative from Massachusetts from 1979 to 1993. Pleaded guilty to charges of tax fraud and accepting gratuities while in office. Sentenced to 15 months in prision.

William McCuen — Secretary of State of Arkansas from1985 to 1995. Admitted accepting kickbacks from two supporters he gave jobs, and not paying taxes on the money. Admitted to conspiring with a political consultant to split $53,560 embezzled from the state in a sham transaction. He was indicted on corruption charges. Pleaded guilty to felony counts tax evasion and accepting a kickback. Sentenced to 17 years in prison.

James McGreevey — New Jersey Governor . Admitted to having a gay affair. Resigned after allegations of sexual harassment, rumors of being blackmailed on top of fund raising investigations and indictments.
Edward Mezvinsky — U.S. Representative from Iowa from 1973 to 1977. Indicted on 56 federal fraud charges. In 2001, he was convicted of 31 charges of fraud, and served five years in federal prison. (Added 3-6-2015)

Alan Bowlby Mollohan (b. 1943) — U.S. Representative from West Virginia from 1983 to the present. In April 2006, Mollohan stepped down temporarily from his post as ranking Democrat on the House ethics committee, amid accusations that he used his congressional position to funnel money to his own home-state foundations, possibly enriching himself in the process. (Added 10-3-2006)

Joseph Dee Morrissey (b. 1957) — Formerly as a Democrat, he served as Commonwealth’s Attorney of Richmond, Virginia 1989–93 and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in November 2007. As an attorney, Morrissey was cited for contempt of court ten times and was jailed or arrested five times. On December 21, 2001, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Morrissey was disbarred and on April 25, 2003, his license to practice law was revoked by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board. “Frequent episodes of unethical, contumacious, or otherwise inappropriate conduct mar Joseph D. Morrissey’s career as prosecutor and private defense attorney,”

On June 30, 2014, Morrissey was indicted on felony charges of indecent liberties with a minor, possession and distribution of child pornography, and electronic solicitation of a minor, in addition to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. According to statements from the prosecutor in court documents, Morrissey had sex with the girl multiple times in his law office in August 2013, and possessed a nude photograph of the girl, which he also sent to a friend. Morrissey allegedly continued the relationship with the girl after she left his law office in August 2013, and the two allegedly shared a hotel room overnight in October 2013. Morrissey has denied the charges, saying the girl came to him for advice about family problems and was being abused by her father, and that the special prosecutor was out to get him because of a personal vendetta. Morrissey said he rejected a plea bargain for a single misdemeanor in December 2013. Morrissey initially vowed to fight the charges in court, declaring that he would be vindicated, and rejected calls to resign his House seat.

Morrissey’s case made national headlines in July 2014 when he used an obscenity on live television while reading a text message he claimed was planted on his phone by hackers. Morrissey has since entered into a plea agreement in which he will make an Alford plea to one misdemeanor charge and receive an active jail sentence. News reports indicated that Morrissey would be eligible to attend sessions of the legislature on work release. Leading members of the Virginia Democratic Party, including Governor Terry McAuliffe called for Morrissey to resign his seat. Morrissey resigned his seat on December 18, 2014,[19] but ran in the special election to fill the vacancy. On January 13, 2015, Morrissey won that election to reclaim his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

William Neely, the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the Morrissey case, secured new felony indictments January 21, 2015 against Morrissey for perjury and for presenting forged documents during his sentencing hearing.

In March 2015 Morrissey was disqualified from the House of Delegates after filing to run for a state Senate seat outside of his district (Source: Wikipedia added 5-30-15)

John Michael Murphy — U.S. Representative from New York from 1963 to 1981. Implicated in the Abscam sting. Convicted of conspiracy, conflict of interest, and accepting an illegal gratuity. Sentenced to three years in prison and fined $20,000.

Michael Joseph Myers — U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania from 1976 to 1980. Implicated in the Abscam sting – convicted of bribery and conspiracy; sentenced to three years in prison and fined $20,000; expelled from the House of Representatives on October 2, 1980.

Ernest E. “Ernie” Newton (b.1956) — Newton served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1988 to 2003 and then served in the Connecticut State Senate from 2003 to 2006. In September 2005 Newton pled guilty to felony corruption charges. Newton was released from federal prison in February 2010, is a convicted felon, and in 2012, was endorsed for State Senate by the Democratic Town Committee under Chairman Mario Testa.

Clarence Norman Jr. (b. 1951) — Former Chairman of the Kings Count, New York Democratic Party, member of the State Assembly from the 43rd District. Between 2005 and 2007, Norman was convicted of several counts of campaign corruption and was sentenced to prison.

Mary Rose Oakar — U.S. Representative from Ohio from 1977 to 1993. Pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of funneling $16,000 through fake donors.

Hazel O’Leary — Secretary of Energy during the Clinton Administration – O’Leary took trips all over the world as Secretary with as many 50 staff members and at times, rented a plane, which was used by Madonna during her concert tours.

Sowande Ajumoke Omokunde – Democrat – the son of newly elected U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, was booked on charges of criminal damage to property for allegedly slashing tires on 20 vans and cars rented by the Republican Party for use in Election Day voter turnout efforts.

Carl Christopher Perkins – Democrat – Kentucky State House of Representatives from 1981 to 1984 and U.S. Representative from Kentucky from 1985 to 1993. Pleaded guilty to bank fraud in connection with the House banking scandal. Perkins wrote overdrafts totaling about $300,000. Pleaded guilty to charges of filing false statements with the Federal Election Commission and false financial disclosure reports. Sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Edward Fretwell Prichard, Jr. – Democrat – Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kentucky. Convicted of vote fraud in federal court in connection with ballot-box stuffing. Served five months in prison.

Harry Mason Reid (b.1939) — Senator from Nevada and Senate Minority Leader. In October, 2006, it was disclosed that Reid has been using campaign donations instead of his personal money to pay Christmas bonuses for the support staff at the Ritz-Carlton where he lives in an upscale condominium.

Federal election law prohibits candidates from using political donations for personal use. Reid has stated that he will amend his ethics report to Congress and pay back $3,300 that he gave to his Ritz-Carlton staff. (Added 10-17-06)

Melvin Jay Reynolds (b. 1952) – U.S. Representative from Illinois from 1993 to 1995. In August 1994, he was indicted for having sex with a 16-year-old campaign volunteer. Despite the charges, he continued his campaign and was re-elected in November 1994. 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.

Reynolds was sentenced to five years in prison and expected to be released in 1998. However, in April 1997, he was convicted on 15 unrelated counts of bank fraud and lying to SEC investigators. These charges resulted in an additional sentence of 78 months in federal prison. Reynolds served all of his first sentence and served forty-two months in prison for the later charges. At that point, U.S. President Bill Clinton commuted the sentence for bank fraud. As a result, Reynolds was released from prison and served the remaining time in a half way house. (Revised: 10-04-06)

Bill Richardson — Governor of New Mexico. For about four decades, Richardson, often mentioned as a possible Democratic presidential candidate, has maintained that he was drafted by the A’s. But an investigation by the Albuquerque Journal found no record of Richardson being drafted by the A’s or any other team. Informed by the newspaper of its findings, the governor acknowledged the error in a story in Thursday’s editions. “After being notified of the situation and after researching the matter … I came to the conclusion that I was not drafted by the A’s,” Richardson said. He said he had believed it was true based on an old program from an amateur team he had played for.

Frederick Richmond —U.S. Representative from New York from 1975 to 1982. Arrested in Washington, D.C., in 1978 for soliciting sex from a minor and from an undercover police officer – pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Also – charged with tax evasion, marijuana possession, and improper payments to a federal employee – pleaded guilty.

Angel Rodriguez (b. ) — In March, 2007, City Council member Angel Rodriguez of Brooklyn, was indicted for extorting $50,000 in cash and $1.5 million in real estate in exchange for his support of a proposed supermarket project on the Red Hook waterfront. The developer for the project was a former New York City detective, who reportedly went to police after being approached about the bribe by the council member’s partner and long-time friend, Jonathan Morales. Rodriguez and Morales have pleaded not guilty.

George Rogers — Massachusetts State House of Representatives from 1965 to 1970. Member of Massachusetts State Senate from 1975 to 1978. Convicted of bribery in 1978 and sentenced to two years in prison

Daniel David Rostenkowski — Democrat – U.S. Representative from Illinois from 1959 to 1995. Indicted on 17 felony charges- pleaded guilty to two counts of misuse of public funds and sentenced to seventeen months in federal prison.

Bobby Lee Rush — Democrat – U.S. Representative from Illinois. As a Black Panther, spent six months in prison on a weapons charge.

Schoenburg, Stuart Milton (b. 7/20/32) — Pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of conspiracy in July 2006 involving Abdul Relman Jennah’s violation of campaign finance laws. Schoenburg found straw donors for Jinnah’s HillPac.. Jinnah subsequently reimbursed the some of the donors. (Source)

Sharpe James (b. 1936 ) — New Jersey State Senator and former Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. On 12 July 2007, a federal grand jury sitting in Newark indicted James on 25 counts that include mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. James appeared before a federal magistrate judge on 12 July 2007 and responded that he understood the charges against him. James was released on bail of $250,000, his passport was confiscated, and he is not permitted to travel outside of New Jersey without permission of the Court. James was arraigned in Federal Court on July 23, 2007 and entered a plea of not guilty. His trial date was tentatively scheduled for February 4, 2008, but his lawyers have asked that it be delayed until the spring

Richard Silberman (b. 1946) — Governor’s Jerry Brown’s Chief of Staff, California Director of Finance, Secretary of Business, Secretary of Transportation and Housing. Silberman was instrumental in getting Jerry Brown elected. In 1991, he was convicted of money laundering after being caught in an FBI sting operation where he thought he was laundering $300,000 of Columbian drug money. Silberman was later indicted for stock fraud in a gold mining scam Sentenced to 46 months in prison. Divorced the Mayor of San Diego when in prison. (Added 11-5-06)

Don Eugene Siegelman (b. 1941) — Governor Alabama – indicted in a bid-rigging scheme involving a maternity-care program. The charges accused Siegelman and his former chief of staff of helping Tuscaloosa physician Phillip Bobo rig bids. Siegelman was accused of moving $550,000 from the state education budget to the State Fire College in Tuscaloosa so Bobo could use the money to pay off a competitor for a state contract for maternity care.
Gary Siplin (b. 1954) — Florida State Senator Siplin was found guilty by a jury in August
2006 of third-degree felony grand theft of $5,000 or more and misdemeanor using services of employees for his candidacy. (Added 10-19-06)

Lawrence Jack Smith (b. 1941) — U.S. Representative from Florida from 1983 to 1993. Sentenced to three months in federal prison for tax evasion.

Jerry Springer ( b. 1944 ) — Springer was elected to the Cincinnati city council in 1971. He was forced to resign in 1974 after admitting to hiring a prostitute. The episode was uncovered when a police raid on a Fort Wright, Kentucky “massage parlor” unearthed a check Jerry Springer had written ( Who writes a check to a prostitute?) for its “services”. Jerry Springer came clean at a press conference. His honesty helped him win back his seat in 1975. In 1977, he was chosen to serve one year as mayor by the City Council. (Revised:10-5-06)

Elliot Spitzer (b. 1959) — Governor of New York. On March 10, 2008, it was reported that Spitzer was a client of Emperors Club VIP, a high end prostitution operation. The scandal prompted him to resign as Governor on March 17, 2008.

Gerry Eastman Studds (1937-2006) — U.S. Representative from Massachusetts from 1973 to 1997. The first openly gay member of Congress. Censured by the House of Representatives for having sexual relations with a teenage House page. (Revised: 10-17-06)

Lena Swanson (b. ) — Member of Washington State Senate in 1997. Pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting unlawful payments from veterans and former prisoners of war.

Lafayette Thomas (b. ) — Candidate for Tennessee State House of Representatives in 1954. Sheriff of Davidson County, from 1972 to 1990. Indicted in federal court on 54 counts of abusing his power as sheriff. Pleaded guilty to theft and mail fraud; sentenced to five years in prison.

Frank Thompson, Jr. (b. ) — U.S. Representative from New Jersey from 1955 to 1980. Implicated in the Abscam sting, convicted on bribery and conspiracy charges. Sentenced to three years in prison.

Robert Torricelli — Withdrew from the 2002 Senate race with less than 30 days before the election because of controversy over personal gifts he took from a major campaign donor and questions about campaign donations from 1996.

James A. Traficant Jr. (1941-2014) — Member of House of Representatives from Ohio. Expelled from Congress after being convicted of corruption charges.. Sentenced to eight years in prison for accepting bribes and kickbacks and wearing a really bad rug.

James Guy Tucker, Jr. (b. ) — Governor of Arkansas from 1992 to 1996. Resigned in July 1996 after conviction on federal fraud charges as part of the Whitewater investigation.

Walter Rayford Tucker (b. ) — Mayor of Compton, California from 1991 to 1992; U.S. Representative from California from 1993 to 1995. Sentenced to 27 months in prison for extortion and tax evasion.

Joseph Waggonner Jr (b. ) — U.S. Representative from Louisiana from 1961 to 1979. Arrested in Washington, D.C. for soliciting a policewoman posing as a prostitute.

David Lee Walters (b. ) — Governor of Oklahoma from 1991 to 1995. Pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor election law violation.

Maxine Waters (b. ) — U.S. Representative from California since 1991. A December 2004 Los Angeles Times investigation disclosed how members of the congresswoman’s family have made more than $1 million in the past eight years by doing business with companies,
candidates and causes that Waters has helped.

Anthony David Weiner (b. 1964) — A former U.S. representative from New York. Weiner resigned from Congress in June 2011, due to a sexting scandal. (Added 5-29-15)

Harrison Arlington Williams, Jr. (b. ) — U.S. Senator from New Jersey from 1959 to 1970. Implicated in the Abscam sting. Allegedly accepted an 18% interest in a titanium mine. Convicted of nine counts of bribery, conspiracy, receiving an unlawful gratuity, conflict of interest, and interstate travel in aid of racketeering. Sentenced to three years in prison and fined $50,000.

Leland Yin Yee (b.1948) — Yee was a San Francisco Supervisor, a member of the California State Assembly, and a state senator. Yee was arrested by the FBI on March 26, 2014 on charges related to public corruption and gun trafficking — specifically buying automatic firearms and shoulder-launched missiles from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an Islamist extremist group located in the southern Philippines and attempting to re-sell those weapons to an undercover FBI agent, as well as accepting a $10,000 bribe from an undercover agent in exchange for placing a call to the California Department of Public Health regarding a contract at the organization.


Paul Ziffren (1913-1991) — Democratic National Committeeman (1953-60). Connected to the Al Capone and other Chicago organized crime figures though partnerships and other business enterprises. Ziffren’s penetration of California’s Democratic Party and the Los Angeles economic community was phenomenal. (See: Supermob by Gus Russo)

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8 Responses to “Democratic Scandals”

  1. criminal record Says:

    facinating information. thanks

  2. Says:

    Power Corrupts

    Coming on the heels of the Tom Delay indictment, the resignation of Rep. Randy Cunningham, and so on, the plea deal by über-lobbyist Jack Abramoff comes as no surprise. Power corrupts. Inevitably. It is the fundamental problem of government, which

  3. Steve Says:

    A grand jury cleared John Murtha of any charges from the ABSCAM investigation. He also was cleared by the House Ethics Committee. The right-wing names Murtha with those convicted in ABSCAM to sully his name because of his opposition to Bush’s policy in Iraq. It is not being fair to include Murtha with those convicted. He didn’t take any money and supposedly only offered to legally help the “sheiks” with their issues.

  4. Debra Barbre Says:

    I’m looking for a list of government scandals, like: HUD, S and Ls, Watergate, Bombing Cambodia, Iran Contra, Falsifying Evidence on Iraq, Outing a CIA agent, Abramoff, …etc…

    I know these are all Republican Administration Scandals, but there must be some Democratic ones right? Right?….hmmmm

  5. Professor Bainbridge's Journal Says:

    Power Corrupts

    Coming on the heels of the Tom Delay indictment, the resignation of Rep. Randy Cunningham, and so on, the plea deal by über-lobbyist Jack Abramoff comes as no surprise. Power corrupts. Inevitably. It is the fundamental problem of government, which

  6. Ken Froeschner Says:

    The difference between Democrat and Republican scandals is that Republicans, who as a party stand for high standards of personal behavior, get rid of those who misbehave. They even have a rule that anyone who is even indicted must step-down (i.e. Tom DeLay.) The Democrats obviously have no such rule, and rather than denounce those who act up the Dems protect them in order to maintain their power. But when a Republican is caught the Dems smear the entire party as hypocrites because of the actions of one. The Dems will excuse ANY behavior so that when they do the same things they can’t be accused of being “hypocrites.” As if being a “hypocrite” is worse than some illegal or unwise behavior. Democrats do not hold their membership to high standards, Republican do—and it shows.

  7. civilan Says:

    How about Wilbur Mills and Gary Hart?

  8. dave Says:

    Get a life guys. Abramoff and his associated contributed over $3 million to democrats. They certainly weren’t clean.

    Murtha was an unindicted co-conspirator of ABSCAM. He didn’t take any money but suggested they should work through thomas and murphy. We can debate for ever whether he would have taken the money, but the fact he didn’t report the others for bribery suggests he might have taken it if it came through them. It was only after the others were charged that Murtha decided to assist the FBI.

    Murtha was not cleared by the Ethics committee. The vote was 6 to 6. Don Baily Dem Rep PA, a friend of Murthas on the committee pushed for aquital. He later publically stated there just wasn’t enough votes to punish Murtha. Latter Baily denounced Murtha as a coward claiming Murtha had told him that he (Murtha) hadn’t earned his medals in Nam.

    I love those blinded by ideology.

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