Conservative Controversies & Scandals

State Republican Corruption Scandals

  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy privately claimed that he believed Donald Trump was being paid by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with his fellow GOP House leaders. The recorded conversation caught McCarthy saying “There’s two people I think Putin pays: [Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump.” Speaker Paul Ryan immediately interjected and stopped the conversation from proceeding.
  • Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump along with two other investors created a charity called Opening Day Foundation that is selling access to Donald Trump on and around inauguration day. The "charity" is accepting donations in exchange for a private reception with Donald Trump and potentially a private hunting event with the new President if the price is right.
  • The Kuwaiti government cancelled a major gala they planned to hold at the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C. after their ambassador received pressure from the Trump Organization to hold it at Trump's new hotel in the old Post Office building.
  • Business developers representing Trump Towers Pune, a luxury apartment complex that is currently being constructed in western India, met privately with Donald Trump just days after he was elected to be the 45th President. They met with Trump and other future administration officials at Trump Tower in New York City and raises a multitude of legal and ethical questions about how the future President will be able to separate the duties of the Presidency with his personal business dealings.
  • Donald Trump offered gifts to Megyn Kelly during the Presidential primary season in an attempt to get positive coverage from her on Fox News. Kelly accused Trump of offering her free nights at his hotels and other unspecified gifts and also accused Trump of doing the same to many other unnamed journalists. She said that "Trump tried to work the refs and some of the refs responded.”
  • In the state of Indiana, Kosciusko County Sheriff C. Aaron Rovenstine has been indicted by a grand jury on 10 separate criminal counts. The outspoken and lifelong Republican sheriff has been indicted on five official misconduct charges, three bribery charges, one intimidation charge and one assisting a criminal charge, ranging from 2011 to 2015. If convicted, Rovenstine could face anywhere from 8.5 years to 37 years behind bars.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Alaskan Republican State Senator John Cowdery was indicted on conspiracy and bribery charges stemming from FBI wiretaps. Cowdery is accused of scheming with Veco Corp. executives to buy the vote of another senator in the battle for an oil tax favored by North Slope oil producers. Cowdery pleaded guilty and sentenced to 6 months of home confinement and a fine of $25,000.
  • In 2007 it was revealed that Stevens had remodeled his house which was paid for by the oil-field service company VECO. The FBI and IRS opened an investigation. By July of 2008, Stevens was indicted on seven counts of failure to report gifts and found guilty at a trial 3 months later. The conviction was later voided for misconduct on the part of the prosecutors and the indictments against Stevens were dismissed
  • Jim Gibbons earmarked several millions of dollars to a company owned by Warren Trepp. Trepp had reportedly purchased cruises and other gifts including $100,000, gambling chips and cash, for Gibbons and his wife that Gibbons failed to report in his ethics filings. An investigation has been launched into the bribery allegations.
  • In 2006, Ney and his aides were implemented in the Abramoff Indian scandal. Neil Volz, one of Ney's top aides plead guilty to conspiring to corrupt officials by violating lobbying laws. Volz claimed that Ney had been accepting gifts from Abramoff including tickets to sporting events and numerous meals at Abramoff's restaurant. In return Ney would try and write language into bills to promote Abramoff's agenda. Ney resigned from the House of Representatives on November 3, 2006. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison. He was released on August 15, 2008 after serving 17 months
  • After a decade long investigation, George Ryan was charged with 22-counts of federal indictment. The charges included racketeering, bribery, extortion, money laundering and tax fraud. The indictment alleged that Ryan steered several state contracts to Warner and other friends; disbursed campaign funds to relatives and to pay personal expenses; and obstructed justice by attempting to end the state investigation of the license-for-bribes scandal. He was charged with lying to investigators and accepting cash, gifts and loans in return for his official actions as governor. On April 17th, 2006, after months of a trial, Ryan was found guilty on all counts. Ultimately, he was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in minimum security prison.