by Chris McDonald
Hello WHW family! I hope everyone’s getting their year started off right so far.
This week I wanted to tackle an entirely different beast: My Top 10 Sex Scandals In American Politics. There were so many to choose from, which is not something to brag about. Here we go:
10. Barney Frank
In the late 1980′s, Frank was brought up on ethics charges after his lover Stephen Gobie (an escort, who also was hired as his personal driver), was found to be running a prostitution ring out of his apartment. The House Democrat fired Gobie, who proceeded to leak the entire story to the press. This scandal did not derail Frank’s career however, as he currently is one of the most prominent gay politicians in the country.
9. Mark Sanford
Sanford shocked the country when it was found that he lied about taking a hike for nearly a week in the Appalachian mountains. Where was he? Hiking up the skirt of a woman in Argentina with a woman who he had been having an affair with. The former South Carolina Governor claimed he went there to break off the affiar, then proceeded to make a serious of bizarre statements about the experience, including he would die “knowing that I met my soulmate”. Sanford finished out his term, but any chances of a 2012 Presidential bid were left in Argentina.
8. Larry Craig
Craig was arrested June 11th, 2007 for for lewd conduct in a mens restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The Idaho senator was accused of putting the moves on an undercover cop who happened to be in the stall next to him. More men later came forward to claim sexual encounters with Craig, who held on to his Idaho Senate seat but did not seek reelection in 2008.
7. Gary Hart
Hart was the darling of the Democratic party in 1987, who made him the front runner to become President until evidence surfaced of him cheating on his wife with a woman named Donna Rice. The scandal forced Hart to quit his campaign, ultimately giving Michael Dukakis the party nomination. Dukakis was beaten by George H.W. Bush, thus giving the Republicans the White House, and altering the political landscape for years to come.
6. Mark Foley
The Foley scandal broke in late September 2006, when he was accused of sending sexually explicit emails and instant messages to teenage boys who had formerly served as Congressional pages. Foley was forced to resign, and this scandal helped tip the scales in the November 2006 Congressional elections, which resulted in handing over power to the Democrats.
5. Gary Condit
Condit is best known for his relationship with intern, Chandra Levy, who was two years younger than his daughter. This sounded like a typical Washington sex scandal, until Levy turned up missing. Condit initially denied any involvement. eventually, after several rounds of questioning, Condit confessed his infidelity with his young missing lover. Chandra Levy was later found dead, a victim of homicide. The murder would not be solved for several years, and Condit was not involved, but his political career never recovered.
4. Ted Kennedy
The late Massachusetts Democrat remained a major national political figure despite the Chappaquiddick incident, where his late brother’s 29-year-old ex-staffer, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned when a car Kennedy was driving went off a bridge. Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, received a two month suspended sentence, and continued his political career until his death from brain cancer in 2009.
3. Clarence Thomas
During his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, he was accused of sexual harassment by law professor Anita Hill. Hill was the only person to testify against Thomas at his confirmation hearings, but the result was not what she hoped: Thomas came through the entire scandal unscathed, The vote was then sent to the Senate where Thomas was confirmed 52-48, one of the narrowest margins for approval in the history of the court.
2. Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson had a relationship with Sally Hemings, the African-American slave who was his wife’s half-sister (they had the same father) and with whom he had six children. Sally Hemings’ son, Madison he referred to his mother as “Jefferson’s concubine.” Four of the children that Hemings had with Jefferson survived to adulthood, two females and two males, and Jefferson set them all free.
1. Bill Clinton
I was too young to understand the significance of this scandal when it happened, but this scandal is the biggest of my generation. Bill Clinton, former President of the United States, was accused in 1998 of having sexual relations with white house intern Monica Lewinsky. Both kept their secret concealed until Lewinsky’s friend, Linda Tripp, began recording the two’s phone conversations, igniting a firestorm that would capture the country’s attention. The U.S. House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton December, 19th, 1998 due to obstruction of justice and perjury charge, but Clinton remains one of America’s most beloved politicians.