Conservative Controversies & Scandals

Historical Major Republican Scandals & Controversies (Before 2014)

  • In November 2002, KBR was tasked to plan oil well firefighting in Iraq, and in February 2003 was issued a contract to conduct the work. Critics contend that it was a no-bid contract, awarded due to Dick Cheney's position as vice president. Concern was also expressed that the contract could allow KBR to pump and distribute Iraqi oil. Others contend, however, that this was not strictly a no-bid contract, and was invoked under a contract that KBR won "in a competitive bid process." The contract, referred to as LOGCAP, is a contingency-based contract that is invoked at the convenience of the Army. Because the contract is essentially a retainer, specific orders are not competitively bid.
  • Bush administration leaked CIA Agent Valerie Plame Wilson's covert status
  • The Santorum controversy arose over Republican former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum's statements about homosexuality and the right to privacy. In an interview with the Associated Press taped on April 7, 2003,and published April 20, 2003, Santorum stated that he believed mutually consenting adults do not have a constitutional right to privacy with respect to sexual acts. Santorum described the ability to regulate consensual homosexual acts as comparable to the states' ability to regulate other consensual and non-consensual sexual behavior, such as adultery, polygamy, child molestation, incest, sodomy, and bestiality, whose decriminalization he believed would threaten society and the family, as they are not monogamous and heterosexual.
  • During the Salt Lake City Olympics, Romney lost his temper on a volunteer security worker. Romney had been stuck in a traffic jam and tried to start directing traffic over the objections of the local sheriff. Romney then allegedly started swearing at an 18 year-old security volunteer. Romney denies using the f-word.
  • Trent Lott said we would have avoided problems if segregationist Strom Thurmond was elected. "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
  • 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.
  • Rivera was involved in a traffic collision with a truck carrying thousands of fliers, produced by Rivera's campaign opponent in 2002, that included a last-minute attack on Rivera's character and detailed past domestic violence accusations against him. According to reports filed by the Florida Highway Patrol, a car driven by Rivera hit the truck and forced it to the shoulder of the Palmetto Expressway, ten minutes before the truck's 6 p.m. deadline to deliver the fliers to the post office, preventing the fliers from being delivered in time to be mailed. Rivera has said that he had planned to meet up with the truck on an exit ramp off the Expressway so he could retrieve a batch of his own campaign fliers.
  • Congress was up in arms Thursday over the discovery that the U.S. team's uniforms for the opening ceremony of this year's Olympic games were manufactured in China -- snubbing the nation's textile industry at a time when it has yet to recover from the economic downturn. For the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who has repeatedly promised on the trail to "get tough" on China, opposing the manufacturing seemed a likely stance, except that while at the helm of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Romney outsourced the production of torchbearer uniforms to Burma.
  • Upon being elected, Roy Moore had a nearly 3-ton monument of the Ten Commandments displayed outside of the courthouse. He was supported by various religious groups.A judged ruled that, the monument, clearly Judeo-Christian, being displayed is a clear violation of the First Amendment that prohibits the government from endorsing a religion and must be removed. On August 14, Moore announced his intention to disobey Judge Thompson's order to have the monument removed. Moore had to be forcibly removed from office.
  • 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.
  • On March 19, 1997, investigators from the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services served search warrants at Columbia/HCA facilities in El Paso and on dozens of doctors with suspected ties to the company. The Columbia/HCA board of directors pressured Scott to resign as Chairman and CEO following the inquiry. He was paid $9.88 million in a settlement. He also left owning 10 million shares of stock worth over $350 million. Columbia/HCA eventually ended up paying over $2 billion in settlements and fine do to resulting fraud cases
  • At the end of 2007, both the New York Sun and The New York Times Magazine reprinted passages from early 1990s publications of Paul's newsletters, attacking them for content deemed racist. These were the same newsletters that had been used against Paul during his 1996 congressional campaign.
  • On October 13, 1994 a domestic abuse charge was filed in Miami-Dade County against one David M. Rivera. Rivera denies that he was the defendant in the 1994 domestic violence case, and the victim of the attack has maintained that David Rivera, the politician, was not the defendant in her case. The case file has been destroyed by the court (case files are retained for only 5 years,). The Miami Herald reported that according to a woman who is friendly with the victim's brother, Rivera and the victim came to her home as a couple to attend a dinner party about 10 years ago. The victim's mother also once worked on one of Rivera's political campaigns, records show.
  • 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.
  • 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.