Conservative Controversies & Scandals

Top\Worst Republican Corruption Scandals

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • During the Hurricane Sandy clean up process, Governor Christie awarded a no bid, multi-million dollar contract to a company that contributed more than $50,000 to a PAC that invested heavily in electing Christie to the Governor's mansion. In total, at least four companies that donated heavily to New Jersey Republicans received state contracts to help in the clean up process.
  • Cliff Stearns has been accused of using a middleman to bribe his primary opponent, James Jett, to to drop out of the primary race. Jett claims he was told he could head the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or become a U.S. Marshal once an opening came up. Stearns has denied the allegations and an FBI investigation has been opened.
  • On 1/28/2012, four current and former staff members of The Sun, a tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, under allegations of bribery of police and public officials. Two weeks later, five senior staff members of The Sun were also arrested. On 2/27/2012, it was revealed that the police were investigating a "network of corrupt officials" as part of their inquiries into phone hacking and police corruption. Evidence suggests a "culture of illegal payments" at The Sun authorized at a senior level.
  • Citing internal financial documents, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that a Wisconsin tax-exempt charity called Prosperity USA footed the bill for about $40,000 worth of iPads, chartered airplanes and other expenses as Cain’s campaign got off the ground early this year 2011.
  • The Scott Walker Administration has been criticized for alleged favoritism and cronyism. The girlfriend, Valerie Cass, of then State Senator Randy Hopper was hired for a short-term position at a salary higher than that of her predecessor. According to state records, she had never formally applied to the position, while multiple other qualified candidates with high-level recommendations were passed over for the job.
  • David Rivera, after dropping out of the Florida's state Senate race, is now be investigated for spending tens of thousands of dollars in 'thank you' money to his supporters. Those "thank you campaign" dollars to ACH are being scrutinized as part of a criminal investigation of the Republican representative's personal and campaign accounts by the Miami-Dade police and prosecutors.
  • A "John Doe" investigation launched in May 2010 has embroiled former Walker staffers and appointees from his time as Milwaukee County executive, his job before winning the governorship in November 2010. The investigation, led by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, has led to home raids targeting former staffers with close ties to Walker and numerous felony charges for election law violations, embezzlement, and misconduct in office.
  • C Street has been the subject of controversy over its claimed tax status as a church, the ownership of the property and its connection to the Fellowship, and the reportedly subsidized benefits the facility provides to members of Congress. Until 2009, C-Street was exempt from real property taxes. When it was revealed that rooms were being rented out as residencies, the exemption was amended to 34% exempt. Soon it was revealed that the Fellowship had no control over C-Street. Mainstream Christian Pastors filed a petition to revoke C Street's remaining tax exemption due to its secretiveness on the grounds that it is not a religious institute. Further investigations show that C Street charges its Capitol Hill residents rent that is well below market price for more tax breaks.
  • Jerry Lewis is under investigation for his ties to lobbyist and former congressman Bill Lowery. The investigation is reportedly an extension of the Duke Cunningham investigation.
  • Lott's brother-in-law, Richard Scruggs, was indicted on charges of offering a $40,000 bribe to a Mississippi state judge. Scruggs represented Lott and Representative Gene Taylor in settlements with State Farm after the insurer refused to pay claims for the loss of their Mississippi homes in Hurricane Katrina. Lott and Taylor had pushed through federal legislation to investigate claims with State Farm and other insurers, a conflict of interest. On July 30, 2008, during a deposition related to the Katrina claims, Zach Scruggs was asked by State Farm Fire & Casualty Cos. attorney Jim Robie, "Has it been your custom and habit in prosecuting litigation to have Senator Lott contact and encourage witnesses to give false information?" Zach Scruggs invoked the fifth.
  • Grover Norquist has been implemented Indian casino lobbying scandal where an estimated $85 million in fees were overcharged and used for illegal gifts. Abramoff and Scanlon grossly overbilled their clients, secretly splitting the multimillion-dollar profits. In one case, they were secretly orchestrating lobbying against their own clients in order to force them to pay for lobbying services. Norquist has denied any wrong doing and has yet to be charged with any crime.
  • On December 23, 2004, Rowland pleaded guilty to depriving the public of honest service. Rowland was sentenced on March 18, 2005, in New Haven, Connecticut, to one year and one day in prison, four months house arrest, three years probation and community service. On April 1, 2005, he entered Federal Correctional Institution, Loretto, in Pennsylvania. His federal inmate number was 15623-014.
  • The Jerry Lewis – Lowery lobbying firm controversy stems from the relationship between Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and a lobbying firm, known as Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White, where good friend and former U.S. Congressman Bill Lowery was a partner from 1993 to 2006. The basic allegations are that Lewis, by virtue of his chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee (since January 2005), and his prior chairmanship of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, was able, through earmarks and other methods, to steer hundreds of millions of dollars to clients of Lowery's firm. Lowery and his firm have earned millions of dollars in fees from these clients.
  • Abramoff and his partner, conspired to overcharge Indian Casinos $85 million in fees. Lobbyists also worked to lobby against their own clients in order to inflate hours. On January 3, 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty to three felony counts: conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion. He now owes $1.7 million in back taxes as part of the guilty plea. He must also pay $25 million is restitution to the people and entities that he defrauded.
  • Tom DeLay, a Republican U.S. Representative from Texas from 1979 to 1983 and from 1985 to 2006 and the House Majority Leader from 2003 to 2005, was convicted in 2010 of money laundering and conspiracy charges related to illegal campaign finance activities aimed at helping Republican candidates for Texas state office in the 2002 elections.
  • The Cunningham scandal is a U.S. political scandal in which defense contractors paid bribes to members of Congress and officials in the U.S. Defense Department, in return for political favors in the form of federal contracts. Most notable amongst the recipients of the bribes was California Congressman Duke Cunningham who pled guilty to receiving over $2.3 million in bribes. The primary defense contractors were Mitchell Wade (owner of MZM) and Brent R. Wilkes (owner of ADCS Inc.).