Conservative Controversies & Scandals

Historical State Republican Scandals (Before 2014)

  • Joe Arpaio used his political power to open criminal investigations against Maricopa County Board members. The investigations have been found to be bogus and politically motivated. All of the investigations, save for one, Sandra Dowling's, had to be dropped. None of the original counts that Arpaio brought against Dowling held up and she plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of patronage for hiring her daughter for a summer job.
  • The biggest project that Sarah Palin undertook as mayor of Wasilla was building an indoor sports complex, where locals played hockey, soccer, and basketball. The only catch was that the city began building roads and installing utilities for the project before it had unchallenged title to the land. The misstep led to years of litigation and at least $1.3 million in extra costs for a small municipality with a small budget. What was to be Ms. Palin's legacy has turned into a financial mess that continues to plague Wasilla.
  • 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.
  • On October 30, 2007, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported that Curtis and a 26-year-old man named Cody Castagna, who previously had posed for gay pornography, met at an adult bookstore, and that they later had sex in a local hotel room. Curtis was also alleged to have been seen previously and on that occasion clad in women's clothing, wearing them underneath his own. According to the police statement from Curtis, Castagna attempted to extort $1,000 from Curtis after the encounter, in return for not revealing his "gay lifestyle" to his family.
  • An aide to Mitt Romney has resigned from the campaign after being accused of using fake badges so he and other members of Romney’s campaign staff could enter closed areas and, in one instance, avoid paying a highway toll. Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to use a badge without authorization and is punishable with a $50 fine. No legal actions have been taken.
  • In 2007, Florida House of Representative Bob Allen was arrested for offering $20 for the opportunity to perform fellatio on an undercover male police officer in the restroom of a public park and was released on bail. Since the time of his arrest, Allen has maintained his innocence, stating that he believed the undercover police officer was trying to rob him, and that he only offered to perform oral sex because he felt intimidated by the black and muscular police officer. Allen was convicted on November 9, 2007, and sentenced to six months' probation, and was fined $250. He resigned from the Florida House of Representatives on November 16, 2007.
  • 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
  • In 2006, a male prostitute alleged that Haggard been hiring for him for sex for the past 3 years. He also accused Haggard of purchasing and using crystal meth. Haggard, who openly and often spoke against gay rights and the LGBT community, would first deny all the allegations against him but eventually admitted that almost all of it was true. He resigned from all leadership positions.
  • 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
  • The 2002 New Hampshire Senate election phone jamming scandal involves the use of a telemarketing firm hired by that state's Republican Party (NHGOP) for election tampering. The tampering involved using a call center to jam the phone lines of a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) operation. In the end, 900 calls were made for 45 minutes of disruption to the Democratic-leaning call centers.
  • 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.
  • Maricopa County inmate Scott Norberg died as detention officers held him in a restraint chair. Two officers strapped him into a restraint chair, wrapped his head in a towel and Norberg slowely suffocated. Two years later, Norberg's family accepted an $8.25 million settlement from the county and the sheriff's office.
  • Trump hired a contractor to demolish a building. The contractor hired 200 undocumented Polish laborers, paying them off the books. The local Wreckers Union sued Trump for $4 million in unpaid union pensions. Many workers alleged they weren't paid in full. The court agreed, resulting in Trump settling for an undisclosed amount.
  • Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland is charged with violating campaign finance laws while working as an adviser to congressional campaigns after leaving office.Rowland, 57, pleaded not guilty in April 2014 to charges of conspiracy, falsifying records in a federal investigation, causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission and causing illegal campaign contributions while working as a campaign adviser from 2009 to 2012. Rowland's lawyers have moved to have his case dismissed but were denied by the judge.