Conservative Controversies & Scandals

2014 Major Republican Scandals

  • Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife were charged in Federal Court for illegally accepting thousands of dollars in gifts, vacations, and loans from businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in exchange for special treatment from the Governor. McDonnell is the first Governor to face federal charges in Virginia's long history. Update: Governor McDonnell was convicted on 11 counts. He will be sentenced on January 6th, 2015.
  • A former aide to Representative Frank Farenthold has sued the congressman and his office staff for creating a hostile work environment and gender discrimination. The former aide accused the congressman of making sexual comments about her and claimed he is regularly drunk on the job, which caused him to say a plethora of inappropriate things. She is seeking an unspecified amount of money for lost pay and emotional distress.
  • The National Republican Congressional Committee and outside Republican groups set up fake Twitter accounts to share internal polling data throughout the 2014 midterm elections. The fake Twitter accounts would share what would look like gibberish to most people, but was in fact internal polling data meant to help the Super PAC's determine where to spend their dollars. This collusion may violate election laws preventing coordination between Super PAC's and the campaigns they are supporting.
  • In Terri Lynn Land's finacial disclosure forms, she claimed that she was worth $1.5 million dollars. She has since donated $3 million of her own money to her campaign. Her staff has claimed that she inadvertently omitted a joint banking account in her disclosures. The amount of money in this account has yet to be disclosed but the sudden appearance of $3 million to a campaign raises many questions.
  • A state judge in Florida ruled the states newly drawn Congressional map unconstitutional after the state conducted a “secret, organized campaign” to draw the new Congressional boundaries in the decennial redistricting process. The judge ruled that two districts, District 5 and 10, were invalid and had to be redrawn, along with any other districts that would be affected by their redrawing. The judge agreed that the Republican legislature collaborated with conservative and other right-leaning groups to draw the districts in a way that would be beneficial to the Republican party and detrimental to the Democratic party.
  • 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.
  • An investigation has been launched to find out why a top aid to Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel's campaign and two others were locked inside of a courthouse where primary ballots were being counted hours after the building was closed on the night of Mississippi's primary election. The three individuals gave conflicting accounts to officials once they were found to be inside of the courthouse at 2:00 in the morning, which raised a 'red flag' for the Sheriff's department. State Senator McDaniel's campaign released a statement saying that the individuals were let in by uniformed personnel, but the Sheriff's department has refuted that claim.
  • A major political donor under indictment in Utah has admitted to laundering thousands of dollars in donations to now Senator Mike Lee's 2010 campaign for the United States Senate. Businessman Jeremy Johnson informed investigators that John Swallow, Lee's friend and now disgraced former Attorney General of Utah, requested he give thousands of dollars to various individuals who then donated that money to Mike Lee. Senator Lee's office released a statement claiming "at no time during or since the 2010 campaign was Sen. Lee or anyone associated with the Lee campaign aware of any unlawful contributions to the Lee campaign."
  • On May 12, 2014, it was reported that Jarrett had taken time off from Fox for personal reasons. On May 21, 2014, Jarrett was arrested at a bar at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, where he appeared to be intoxicated. He was charged with interfering with a peace officer, which is a misdemeanor.
  • The state of Oklahoma has been ordered to pay $303,333 for the attorney fees of the plaintiffs after a court fight found the states anti-Sharia law unconstitutional. The law was passed overwhelmingly by state voters in 2010, but was immediately challenged in court on the grounds it violated the First Amendment. A federal judge prevented the measure from going into effect and the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. The state has agreed to pay the legal fees over a period of three years.
  • 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."
  • Just before 2 a.m. on April 21, Dane Eagle was arrested in Tallahassee on suspicion of DUI. Police first spotted him pulling out of a Taco Bell in his black SUV before he narrowly avoided hitting a median, then stopped in an intersection, veered into a curb and ran a traffic light, according to arrest documents. Eagle was booked and released.
  • 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.
  • Louisiana U.S. Representative Vance McAllister, who ran on a platform of Christian conservatism and family values, was caught passionately kissing a Congressional aide on videotape. McAllister admitted that it was him on the tape and asked for forgiveness from God, his family, staff, and constituents.
  • Prosecutors charged former Wisconsin Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer on Friday with sexually assaulting a political aide three years ago following a Republican mixer. Kramer is charged with two counts of second-degree felony sexual assault. He faces up to $200,000 in fines and 80 years in prison if convicted on both charges. He is due to make an initial court appearance on April 14.
  • Republicans in Wisconsin unanimously voted to remove Bill Kramer as Assembly Majority Leader after he was accused of sexual harassment at a recent fundraiser and another woman accused him of harassment on a recent flight back to Wisconsin.
  • 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.
  • Conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe and his company have been sued by Daniel Francisco, a former employee of Project Veritas, for wrongful termination and breach of contract. Francisco alleges he was wrongfully terminated and 'defamed' by O'Keefe. He is also claiming that Project Veritas breached his contract by not paying him for his final week of employment.
  • 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.