Conservative Controversies & Scandals

Historical Top\Worst Republican Scandals (Before 2014)

  • Palin abused her power by pressuring official to fire an Alaskan state trooper
  • The Republican National Committee (RNC) spent $150,000 of campaign contributions on clothing, hair styling, and makeup for Sarah Palin and her family in September 2008. Multiple shopping sprees at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and other high end stores were reported. Campaign spokespersons stated the clothing would be going to charity after the election. Palin and some media outlets blamed gender bias for the controversy. At the end of the campaign, Palin returned the clothes to the RNC.
  • 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.
  • On November 6, 2007, United States Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa announced an investigation of Hinn's ministry by the United States Senate Committee on Finance. In a letter to BHM, Grassley asked for the ministry to divulge financial information to the Senate Committee on Finance to determine if Hinn made any personal profit from financial donations, and requested that Hinn's ministry make the information available by December 6, 2007. Hinn refused to respond until 2008. After that he was commended for cooperating above and beyond what was required.
  • In early July 2007, Vitter's phone number was included in a published list of phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates, a company owned and run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, also known as the "D.C. Madam", convicted by the U.S. government for running a prostitution service. Hustler identified the phone number and contacted Vitter's office to ask about his connection to Palfrey. The following day, Vitter issued a written statement in which he took responsibility for his sin and asked for forgiveness. On July 16, 2007, after a week of self-imposed seclusion, Vitter emerged and called a news conference. Standing next to his wife, Vitter asked the public for forgiveness. Following Vitter's remarks, Wendy Vitter, his wife, spoke. Both refused to answer any questions.
  • The Larry Craig scandal was an incident that began on June 11, 2007, with the arrest of Larry Craig—who at the time was a Senator from Idaho—for lewd conduct in a men's restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Craig later entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct. As a result of the controversy surrounding his arrest, subsequent guilty plea, and pressure from his fellow Republicans, Senator Craig announced his intention to resign from the Senate at a news conference. After failing to withdraw his guilty plea, on October 4, 2007, Craig released a statement refusing to resign as senator for Idaho.
  • Several high-ranking officials in the George W. Bush administration illegally used taxpayer-funded resources to campaign for Republican candidates during the 2006 midterm elections, an independent government watchdog concludes. Investigators also concluded that administration officials took over 100 politically motivated trips while claiming they were for official business. No disciplinary actions are being taken because none of the involved officials still hold public office.
  • 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.
  • The Mark Foley scandal, which broke in late September 2006, centers on soliciting e-mails and sexually suggestive instant messages sent by Mark Foley, a Republican Congressman from Florida, to teenaged boys who had formerly served as congressional pages. Investigation was closed by the FDLE on September 19, 2008 citing insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges as both "Congress and Mr. Foley denied us access to critical data,” said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. The scandal has grown to encompass the response of Republican congressional leaders to previous complaints about Foley's contacts with the pages and inconsistencies in the leaders' public statements.
  • The Dick Cheney hunting incident occurred on February 11, 2006, when then U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old Texas attorney, while participating in a quail hunt on a ranch in Kenedy County, Texas. Both Cheney and Whittington call the incident an accident.
  • 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 News of the World phone hacking affair is a controversy involving the News of the World, a weekly British tabloid newspaper published by News Group Newspapers of News International, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. The controversy began in 2006, when the Metropolitan Police laid charges against Clive Goodman, the News of the World's royal editor, and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator, alleging that they intercepted voicemail messages left for members of the royal household. Both men were jailed in 2007.
  • 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.).
  • Bush Administration suspected of raising terror alerts for political gain
  • In November 2004, a controversy developed over education costs for Santorum's children. Santorum's legal address is in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. But as a Senator, he lives at his home in Leesburg, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. (Leesburg is located about one hour's drive west of Washington, D.C., and about 90 minutes' drive south of the Pennsylvania border). Santorum's five older children received education through the Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School with 80 percent of tuition costs paid by the Penn Hills School District. At a meeting in November 2004, the Penn Hills School District announced that it did not believe Santorum met the qualifications for residency status since he and his family spend most of the year in Virginia.
  • O'Reilly was accused of making "disgusting" phone calls and remarks to Andrea Mackris an associate producer on the "The O'Reilly Factor." O'Reilly's alleged remarks included telling Mackris she should use a vibrator and regaling her with tales of threesomes with Swedish stewardesses and stories of his "amazing" endowment. Mackris claims he made three lewd phone calls to her since August in which he described fantasies involving her and sex acts he would perform on her. She said he was clearly pleasuring himself as he spoke.