Conservative Controversies & Scandals
Historical Major Republican Sex Scandals (Before 2014)
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.