Conservative Controversies & Scandals

Republican Corruption Scandals

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fernandez was arrested on corruption charges in April 2010. Charges range from receipt of unlawful compensation for official behavior, six counts involved acceptance of illegal campaign contributions and one count involved certifying a false campaign-finance report. Fernandez plead no contest to the charges and in February was sentenced to 22 months in prison.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.