William Jefferson Scandal

Suspecting Louisiana congressman William Jefferson of bribery, the FBI raided his congressional offices in May 2006, but he was re-elected later that year. On June 4, 2007, however, a federal grand jury indicted Jefferson on sixteen felony charges related to corruption which led to a 13 year prison sentence.

North Dakota Governor William Langer

When North Dakota Governor William Langer took office in 1932, he and five co-conspirators required all state employees to donate part of their annual salaries to his political party. Collecting this money was not prohibited by state law and was a common, traditional practice. However, when donations were made by highway department employees, who were paid through federal relief programs, the US attorney charged that the donations constituted a conspiracy to defraud the federal government. He and his colleagues were eventually brought to court. Although he was convicted of a felony and told to resign as governor he ended up declaring North Dakota independent, instituting martial law, and barricading himself in the governor’s mansion until the Supreme Court would meet with him. Eventually a settlement was reached and a new governor was chosen.

The Plame Affair

On July 14, 2003, Washington Post journalist Robert Novak, from information obtained from Richard Armitage at the US State Department, effectively ended Valerie Plame’s career with the CIA (from which she later resigned in December 2005) by revealing in his column her identity as a CIA operative. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, adviser to then Vice President Dick Cheney, was eventually determined to the be source of the leak and subsequently charged.

The Appalachian Trail Lie

From June 18 until June 24, 2009, the whereabouts of politician Mark Sanford were unknown to the public, as well as to his wife and the State Law Enforcement Division, which provided security for him, garnering nationwide news coverage. He had told his staff that he would be hiking the Appalachian Trial but failed to answer any phone calls. Not long afterwards, however, reporter Gina Smith ran into him at the airport in Atlanta returning from Argentina. Apparently he had a mistress and had decided to go pay her a visit.

The Chappaquiddick Incident

In the Chappaquiddick incident on July 18, 1969, Mary Jo Kopechne, a female passenger of U.S. Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy, was killed when he accidentally drove his car off a bridge and into a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. Kennedy swam free and left the scene, not reporting within nine hours, but Kopechne died in the vehicle. In the early hours of July 19, Kopechne’s body and the car were recovered. Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury and received a two-month suspended jail sentence. The incident became a national scandal, and may have influenced Kennedy’s decision not to campaign for President of the United States in 1972 and 1976.

The Keating Five

The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s. Basically they had prevented Charles Keating, Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association from being audited in return for receiving campaign funding. Unfortunately for everybody else in America the association collapsed under the corruption causing billions of dollars worth of damages and ruining the reputations of the senators.