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Sex and Politics In America

A Guide To Political Sex Scandals


When sex is involved, Americans and the media respond to political entanglements with a Puritanical bent. This article provides an overview of US political sex scandals.

2008: New York Governor Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer
State Dept.
On 10 March 2008, NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) acknowledged that he was a customer of a prostitution ring which charged as much as $3,100 to $5,500 a hour. On 12 March, he resigned. Spitzer Background, Timeline.

2007: Idaho Sen. Larry Craig

Sen. Larry Craig
US Senate
In August 2007, Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) pled guilty to a misdemeanor related to solicitation in a men's restroom in Minnesota. He resisted Republican efforts to get him to resign; instead, he is not running for re-election in November 2008. Blog post.

2007: Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias

In April 2007, Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias (R), like Sen. Vitter, was fingered by the investigation into the D.C. Madam. Before his appointment to State, Tobias was CEO of Eli Lilly & Co.

2007: Louisiana Sen. David Vitter

In July 2007, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) was linked to the "D.C. Beltway Madam" who was charged with running a prostitution service. Vitter admitted to being a client (1999-2001), apologized, and said he'd asked God and family for forgiveness. Ironically, Vitter was elected to the House of Representatives because of an adultery scandal; also Vitter called for President Clinton to resign. Blog post.

2006: California Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham

Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) pleaded guilty to corruption charges in 2006. Included in the corruption, prostitutes in Hawaii.

2006: Florida Rep. Mark Foley

In September 2006, Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned after news reports that he "sent sexually explicit Internet messages to at least one underage male former page."

2005: Spokane Mayor James E. West

In 2005, Spokane Mayor James E. West (R) was the center of a gay Internet sex scandal; he resigned in December.

2004: New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
NJ Gov. James E. McGreevey (D) resigned in August 2004 after admitting to an illicit homosexual affair.

1998: President Bill Clinton

In January 1998, President Bill Clinton (D) media reported that he had had an affair with a 22-year-old intern, Monica Lewinsky. In August, he admitted that he had had an "improper physical relationship" with Lewinsky. On 12 February 1999, the Senate failed to impeach.

1995: Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood

Sen. Bob Packwood (R-OR) was accused of sexual harassment by at least 29 women in May 1995. He resigned in September. The DOJ did not press charges although the "Senate Ethics Committee unanimously recommended expelling him." He was succeeded in the Senate by Ron Wyden. More from the National Review.
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