Conservative Controversies & Scandals

Republican Abuse of Power Scandals

  • Tennessee Senator Bob Corker failed to disclose two million dollars worth of hedge fund profits and millions more of income from his commercial real estate business. The total of profits from his commercial real estate business is unknown. Senator Corker blamed his failure to disclose the assets on a "filing error."
  • Maine Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves has filed a lawsuit against Governor Paul LePage accusing the governor of using the power of his office to threaten a private school from hiring him as the schools President. It is illegal in the state of Maine, or anywhere else in America, to use the power of your office to blackmail a private entity into doing what you want.
  • Alan Gocha Jr received a pardon from Michigan governor Rick Snyder. Gocha plead guilty to driving while intoxicated in 2008. Gocha's connections within the Michigan Republican Party run deep. He's a member of Michigan's economic board, as well as an adviser to the founder of 5 - Hour Energy, a company that has given millions to supporting Michigan Republicans.
  • Representative Aaron Schock is under investigation for improper use of taxpayer funds on a host of expenditures ranging from a lavish office themed after the PBS series Downton Abbey to billing the taxpayer for multiple vacations and other events. The Office of Congressional Ethics has opened an investigation into Mr. Schock and will report it's finding tot he House Ethics Committee. Representative Schock is already being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly soliciting contributions for an independent expenditure-only political committee in excess of $5,000 per donor. Update: Aaron Schock announced that he will be resigning from office on 3/31/2015
  • Thomas Libous has been indicted on a charge of lying to the FBI during an investigation into a business deal involving his son. Libous, the deputy majority leader in the New York Senate, was under investigation for allegedly telling an unnamed law firm that it would have to “build a new wing” to handle all the extra business he would bring the firm in exchange for hiring his son Matthew Libous, said the indictment secured by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Libous was indicted on a charge of giving a false statement to the FBI.
  • Representative Don Young has been ordered to repay $60,000 in illegally spent campaign donations he received over a period of twelve years. Young was found to have violated House ethics rules by illegally using campaign funds to go on fifteen trips to hunting lodges during that time. The Ethics Committee found that Young used more than $30,000 of his own campaigns funds and $28,000 in gifts he failed to disclose in his annual financial disclosures.
  • Federal investigators are looking into whether Governor Chris Christie's administration committed securities law violations by spending nearly $2 billion of Port Authority funds on a state owned bridge. It is illegal to spend Port Authority funds on state owned infrastructure, but the Christie administration lobbied heavily to classify the bridge as an access road to the Lincoln Tunnel even though they are not connected. Investigators are attempting to determine if Governor Christie violated the Martin Act, which enables the state of New York to file suit if they feel Christie intentionally misled bond holders.
  • Bobby Harrell is trying to shut down the Grand Jury investigating him for corruption by trying to get the case moved to the House Ethics Committee. Ethics advocates say "The House Ethics Committee is nothing but a fraud," said John Crangle, who leads Common Cause South Carolina, in an interview with The Huffington Post. "It's never done anything. To send it to the House Ethics Committee is basically to deep-six it, which is exactly what Harrell would like to do."
  • A judge seated a grand jury in Austin last week to consider whether Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is weighing another run for the White House, abused his power when he carried out a threat to veto $7.5 million in state funding for public corruption prosecutors last summer. Aides to Perry say he legally exercised his veto power. Others say Perry was abusing his state office and is finally getting his comeuppance. The grand jury is impaneled for three months. In the original complaint, McDonald accused Perry of breaking laws related to coercion of a public servant and abuse of official capacity.
  • Shortly after his election, Governor Christie appointed two of his friends and political donors, John and Mary Kay Strangfeld, to the typically ceremonial positions of chairman and vice chairman at the Drumthwacket Foundation, a nonprofit that has restored and maintains the New Jersey Governors mansion. John Strangfeld is also the chairman of the insurance agency Prudential, a company that received a record-setting $250 million dollar tax incentive to move its Newark headquarters only a few blocks down the street. The number averages out to the taxpayers spending $527,000 per job that was created in the handout.
  • Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the number four Republican in House leadership, is facing a House Ethics Committee investigation over allegations that she illegally combined campaign and Congressional funds to help her win her 2012 House leadership race. The Office Of Congressional Ethics recommended that the House Ethics Committee conduct a full investigation into the allegations and the committee reported that they will begin their preliminary investigation into the matter.
  • The state Ethics Commission has approved Governor Chris Christie's recommendation of Susana Espasa Guerrero, a longtime loyalist and former employee of the Governor, to head the ethics panel that will investigate the bridge closure scandal the Governor finds himself in. Ms. Guerrero has also worked with every single individual who has been subpoenaed in the case.
  • A former prosecutor in New Jersey has come forward to claim that he was fired after refusing to drop a criminal case against a friend of Governor Chris Christie. Ben Barlyn, the former prosecutor in question, claimed that he was fired shortly after filing multiple charges against Republican Sheriff Deborah Trout. He was replaced with a Christie ally that quickly dropped the charges. Mr. Barlyn has petitioned the state Attorney General's office to release grand jury testimony that he says will back up his accusations.
  • The Administration of Chris Christie has been accused of withholding millions of Sandy emergency relief funds for a New Jersey town that refused to approve a massive redevelopment plan that the governor favored. The mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, claimed that Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, who is Governor Christie’s community affairs commissioner spoke on behalf of the Governor in making the demand. While the two officials in question have denied the allegations, recently released documents seem to say otherwise. Dawn Zimmer, who is the mayor, also said that she will be happy to speak under oath and take a lie detector in order to prove her claims.
  • Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett campaigned on a promise to bring ethics and integrity to the governorship, but his actions have spoken louder than his words after recent ethics disclosures show that he has accepted thousands of dollars in gifts and other expenditures from a variety of executives who then received lucrative state contracts. His actions as governor has earned him the distinction of being called one of the "Worst Governors in America" by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.
  • 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.
  • Rick Renzi, a former US Congressman from Arizona, was found guilty of 17 felony charges in his federal corruption trial. Mr. Renzi was accused of embezzling money from his insurance brokerage firm and funneling the cash to his election campaign, and of extortion in connection with a proposed federal land exchange in an ore-rich area of Arizona. Mr. Renzi is free on bail until his sentencing hearing on August 19th.
  • 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.
  • Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is being investigated by the FBI regarding his connections with a major campaign donor that is also under investigation for questionable securities transactions. The FBI is looking into a $15,000 catering bill that campaign donor Jonnie R. Williams Sr. paid at Mr. McDonnell's daughters wedding, as well as various undisclosed gifts that Mr. McDonnell's wife received from Mr. Williams.
  • 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.