Conservative Controversies & Scandals

Historical Republican Scandals (Before 2014)

  • Gibbons set up a legal defense fund just before the November, 2006 gubernatorial election to help pay for legal expenses incurred after a woman accused him of attempted sexual assault. Gibbons neither reported the legal defense fund to the appropriate U.S. House of Representatives committee (even though he was a sitting congressman at the time and was required by House rules to do so), nor did he report donations to his legal defense fund as contributions to his gubernatorial campaign, citing the money was for "personal use" and not for "political purposes".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.).
  • Noe was accused of illegally funneling $45,400 to President Bush’s re-election campaign, using "two dozen people as “conduits” to make illegal campaign contributions at a $2,000-a-seat fund-raiser in Columbus. Noe skirted federal campaign finance funding limits while meeting a pledge to raise $50,000 for the October 30, 2003, fund-raiser. The Bush campaign later named Noe a "Pioneer" for raising at least $100,000 overall.... In addition to “conduits” who received between $1,750 and $4,000 from Noe to make either one or two contributions, prosecutors claim that the former rare-coin dealer used two people as “super-conduits,” giving them $6,000 and $14,300 that they then split with others who attended the fund-raiser." Noe now is serving a jail term of at least 10 years.
  • 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.
  • Paul Crouch is the founder and president of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, or TBN, the world's largest evangelical Christian television network, as well as the former host of TBN's flagship variety show, Praise the Lord. In September 2004, the Los Angeles Times published a series of articles raising questions about the fundraising practices and financial transparency of TBN, as well as the allegations of a former ministry employee, Enoch Lonnie Ford, that he had a homosexual affair with Crouch during the 1990s. TBN denied the allegations, claiming that Ford's claims were part of an extortion scheme and that the Times was a "left-wing and anti-Christian newspaper." In 2005, Ford appeared at the taping of the ION Television show Lie Detector.
  • While serving in Taji, Iraq, West received information from an intelligence specialist about a reported plot to ambush him and his men. Yahya Jhodri Hamoodi, a civilian Iraqi police officer, was implemented in the plot. Hamoodi was detain and beaten when he allegedly reached for his weapon. West then fired his pistol near Hamoodi's head, after which Hamoodi provided West with names and information, which Hamoodi later described as "meaningless information induced by fear and pain." One of these suspects was arrested as a result, but no plans for attacks or weapons were found. West was charged with violating articles 128 (assault) and 134 (general article) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
  • Bush administration leaked CIA Agent Valerie Plame Wilson's covert status
  • 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.
  • Former Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, reached a deal with prosecutors in 2002 to reduce a rape charge to attempted rape of his 17 year-old step daughter and her friend. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison for the lesser crime and two counts of giving alcohol to minors.
  • Alfonso Costa, Ben Carson's best friend was convicted of defrauding insurance companies from 1996 to 2001. Carson sent a letter to a federal judge, pleading for leniency of his friend. A significant portion of Carson's wealth comes from companies tied to Costa real estate firm.