Conservative Controversies & Scandals

Historical Republican Scandals (Before 2014)

  • 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.
  • Jack Abramoff was hired by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to lobby to maintain the CMNI's exemption from federal minimum wage and immigration laws. In testimony before the Senate, it was described that 91% of the private-sector workforce were immigrants, and were being paid barely half the U.S. minimum hourly wage. Stories also emerged of workers forced to live behind barbed wire in squalid shacks without plumbing. A Department of the Interior report found that "Chinese women were subject to forced abortions and that women and children were subject to forced prostitution in the local sex-tourism industry." Abramoff flew congressmen to CMNI, sometimes as an illegal gift in an effort to conceal the harsh conditions.
  • The Supreme Court decision Bush v. Gore may have been judicial activism. Additionally, the justices have been accused of being partisan and hearing a case that can be considered a conflict of interest. Some critics of the decision argue that the majority seemed to seek refuge from their own logic in the following sentence in the majority opinion: "Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities."
  • Gingrich is was charged with 87 ethics violations in from alleged tax evasion to intentional and/or "reckless" disregard for House rules. Following an investigation, he was sanctioned $300,000 and was caught lying to House investigators in order to get them to dismiss the case against him.
  • 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.
  • Two men filed a sex discrimination case against Trump Plaza after being fired for refusing to comply with a new grooming policy. Both dealers wore ponytails. In their case, they alleged that sex differentiated hair policies were discriminatory. The courts ruled on behalf of Trump Plaza.
  • NPR's Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg received a leaked Judiciary Committee/FBI report that a former colleague of Thomas, University of Oklahoma law school professor Anita Hill, accused him of making unwelcome sexual comments to her when the two worked together at the Department of Education and EEOC. On October 11, 1991, Hill was called to testify during the hearing. She sought to emphasize the inappropriate nature of the alleged behavior, rather than focusing on whether it was illegal or not, but said that in her view it was indeed illegal, adding that it might not "rise to the level" of illegal sexual harassment.
  • A marketing analyst predicted the bankruptcy of Trump Taj Mahal casino. The prediction was quoted in the Wall Street Journal 2 weeks before the casino opened, resulting in Trump threatening to sue and demanding an apology. The analyst was fired for rescinding his apology, and in-turn sued Trump, later settling for an undisclosed amount.
  • Brewer was suspected being under the influence of alcohol when she was involved in a car accident in 1988. Brewer was suppose to be taken to the police station to undergo a blood alcohol test. Instead she was driven home by two officers. The DPS, after learning that Brewer was a state senator, told her that she had immunity from arrest. No charges were filed in the case.
  • Scott Walker never attained a degree from Marquette, but his presidential campaign for Associated Student President left an imprint. On the eve of the election, he and his allies distributed copies of a brochure that contrasted Scott’s style of leadership with the rabble-rousing, protest-leading, vague idealism of his opponent.
  • McCain became enmeshed in a scandal during the 1980s as one of five United States Senators comprising the so-called Keating Five. Between 1982 and 1987, McCain had received $112,000 in lawful political contributions from Charles Keating Jr. and his associates at Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, along with trips on Keating's jets that McCain belatedly repaid in 1989. In 1987, McCain was one of the five senators whom Keating contacted in order to prevent the government's seizure of Lincoln, and McCain met twice with federal regulators to discuss the government's investigation of Lincoln.
  • While on vacation Romney prepared to put his boat into the water, an officer told Romney not to launch because his license appeared to have been painted over and if he launched there would be a $50 dollar fine. Romney felt that his license was still visible and decided to ignore the order from the officer and pay the fine. After Romney put the family boat into the water, the officer reappeared visibly angry and arrested Romney for disorderly conduct. Romney was handcuffed on the scene, taken to the local police station, and booked. Charges were later dropped.
  • 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.
  • Representative Steve Stockman was arrested and charged with a felony possession of three 10 milligram tablets of Valium after a search revealed he was in possession of the drug. Stockman wound up pleading no contest to a lesser count of “use of a controlled substance,” which is a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to two days in jail.
  • The DOJ brought a lawsuit against Trump and his father's company, for alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act in connection with 39 buildings it operated. The DOJ alleged that building administrators racially coded apartment applications to secretly ensure that black applicants would be denied.
  • The Watergate scandal was a political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 1970s as a result of the June 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement. The scandal eventually led to the resignation of Richard Nixon on August 9, 1974, the only resignation of a U.S. President. The scandal also resulted in the indictment, trial, conviction and incarceration of 43 people, including dozens of Nixon's top administration officials.
  • 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.
  • U.S Senator Marco Rubio wrote a letter to the Florida Real Estate Commission on behalf of his brother-in-law who was convicted of trafficking millions of dollars worth in cocaine.
  • Senator Ted Cruz failed to disclose to the FEC a loan from Goldman Sachs for as much as $500,000 that was used to help finance his 2012 U.S. Senate campaign. In reports filed with the FEC candidates are required to disclose the source of money they borrow. The Goldman Sachs loan was not reported.