Conservative Controversies & Scandals

State Republican Abuse of Power Scandals

  • According to her disclosure forms, Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) accepted tens of thousands of dollars worth of tickets and suites at sporting events over the past two years — much of which came from people with interests before the state. All this comes to light amid Haley saying that South Carolina needs to improve and make their ethic's reform worthy of being bragged about.
  • Federal authorities began questioning people close to the McDonnells as an outgrowth of a securities probe of Virginia-based Star Scientific Inc. They said FBI agents have asked questions about gifts the McDonnells have received from company CEO Jonnie Williams and whether the Republican governor or his administration aided the company in return.
  • Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has resigned and authorities have announced that nearly 60 people have been charged in a scandal that involves Internet cafes. Authorities say the cafes are really illegal casinos, and those involved have been using a purported veterans charity (Allied Veterans of the World) to siphon off millions of dollars the cafes generate. Authorities say the charity was a front for a $300 million gambling operation. The public relations firm Carroll co-owned (3N & JC) did work for the charity. She has not been charged with a crime and has denied doing anything wrong. She resigned a day after being questioned about the case.
  • Republican Pennsylvania State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister were recently found guilty of campaign corruption charges and now look to join their sister, former State Senator Jane Orie--who was recently convicted of corruption herself--in state Prison. Many state lawmakers have called on Justice Melvin to resign her seat on the court or face articles of impeachment.
  • In February 2013, a watchdog group filed a complaint with the state attorney general alleging that Speaker Bobby Harrell (R) had improperly paid himself $325,000 in campaign funds for flights he piloted. The group also accused him of pressuring regulators on behalf of his business. Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) convened a grand jury to look into the complaint in January, after a 10-month investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division.
  • In January 2013, conservative commentator Joshua Treviño filed a report under the Foreign Agent Registration Act disclosing that, from May 2008 until April 2011, he was paid $389,000 by the "Government of Malaysia, its ruling party, or interests closely aligned with either". His work was to organize an opinion campaign against former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. Treviño in turn made payments of up to $36,000 to several conservative American opinion writers who went on to write pro-government pieces on behalf of Malaysia, including Ben Domenech, Rachel Ehrenfeld, Seth Mandel, and Brad Jackson. Outlets in which their work appeared included the Huffington Post, the San Francisco Examiner, the Washington Times, National Review, and RedState.com.
  • State Republican officials have fired the vendor it had hired to register voters, and took the additional step of filing an election fraud complaint against the company, Strategic Allied Consulting, with state officials. That complaint was handed over Friday to state law-enforcement authorities. A call to temporarily halt registration has been issued while an investigation is under way. It is a 3rd-degree felony to knowingly submit false voter registration information.
  • U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk was a leading sponsor of congressional legislation that has meant $5.3 million for two clients of his onetime girlfriend, and he is backing another bill that could bring millions of dollars to a third group she represented.
  • The National Labor Relations Board announced that one of its five members, Terence F. Flynn, had resigned after the board’s inspector general found that Mr. Flynn leaked documents to G.O.P. allies. In one instance, Mr. Berry found that Mr. Flynn had secretly helped Mr. Schaumber write an opinion column that denounced an N.L.R.B. decision that favored labor unions. Mr. Berry called that action by Mr. Flynn “an abuse of his discretion.”
  • South Carolina's Lieutenant Gov. Ken Ard, who announced his resignation 3/09/12, was charged by a state grand jury with seven violations of state ethics laws. He used thousands of dollars of campaign money for personal expenditures, including $800 at a boutique shop, $3000 at Best Buy, $2000 for travel and several other personal expenses. In addition to purchasing a number of personal items using campaign funds, Ard was charged with donating his own money to his campaign — which is allowed under South Carolina law — but making it look like it came from others to create the impression he had strong support in the state.
  • On February 4, 2012, a jury found White guilty of six of seven felony charges, including false registration, voting in another precinct, submitting a false ballot, theft, and two counts of perjury. He was acquitted on one fraud charge. The felony convictions automatically removed White from office. Hamilton County Superior Court Judge Steven Nation sentenced White to one year of house arrest, 30 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine. Nation refused to downgrade White's charges to misdemeanors, saying that his actions in the 2010 election were deliberate and therefore "violated the trust of the people." The conviction ends any chance of White regaining office even if his appeal of Rosenberg's ruling is successful.
  • In alleging the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office committed federal and constitutional violations, a 22-page Justice Department letter described "a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos at MCSO that reaches the highest levels of the agency." The investigation began in 2008 has uncovered evidence of racial slurs, racial profiling, and other discriminatory actions against Hispanics. As a result of the report, Arpaio lost its authority to identify and detain illegal immigrants.
  • Federal investigators have opened a second criminal probe of U.S. Rep. David Rivera, examining undisclosed payments from a Miami gambling enterprise to a company tied to the Republican congressman. The investigation is focusing on a $1 million consulting contract.
  • Scott Walker appointed Brian Deschane to an $81,500 per year job overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Deschane's father, Jerry Deschane, is executive vice president and a longtime lobbyist for the Wisconsin Builders' Association, which donated $121,652 to Walker over the past two years. 2 days later, after a great public outcry, Walker demotes Deschane.
  • Much like two years earlier, jails in Maricopa county were again found to be operating under unconstitutional conditions. Severe overcrowding along with detainees not receiving proper medical attention and being denied necessary prescription medications forced the courts hand once again. The courts once again issued a ruling that Arpaio must end the conditions and provide adequate medical treatment, sanitary food, and access to necessary medication for all inmates.
  • Over the two years prior to September, 2010, feuding between Arpaio and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas on one side, and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on the other side cost at least $5.6 million, most of which was paid to private attorneys. Arpaio and Thomas filed several lawsuits against the Board of Supervisors, including a federal civil-racketeering suit against the supervisors, four judges and attorneys who work with the county. Arpaio and Thomas lost every case, either by ruling of the courts, or by dropping the case.
  • A 63 page memo, written by Arpaio's deputy chief Frank Munnell, was made public. The memo described years of misconduct and corruption by Maricopa County Sheriff's Office under Arpaio's supervision. The memo describes how top MCSO officials "willfully and intentionally committed criminal acts by attempting to obstruct justice, tamper with witnesses, and destroy evidence." The FBI began conducting an investigation.
  • Driver admitted on August 16, 2010, to taking taxpayer money from the Texas House of Representatives for expenses that had already been reimbursed to him by his own campaign. Essential he was being reimbursed twice for expenses during his campaign, one of those reimbursements coming from the tax-payers. Driver has plead guilty to 3rd degree felony charges and has been fined $5,000 and sentenced to 5 years probation.
  • Arpaio violated Arizona election laws by making in-kind donations with his direct-mailer that he funded in a year that he was not up for reelection. His 2012 campaign has been fined over $150,000 for the transgression.
  • Joe Arpaio used his political power to open criminal investigations against Maricopa County Board members. The investigations have been found to be bogus and politically motivated. All of the investigations, save for one, Sandra Dowling's, had to be dropped. None of the original counts that Arpaio brought against Dowling held up and she plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of patronage for hiring her daughter for a summer job.