Top 10 US Political Scandals

List of US Political Scandals

Though America has evolved as a powerful nation in the current era, the country’s political history is blotted with a number of scandals and gossips making headlines in the leading newspapers of the times. From Watergate scandal to Whiskey Ring, many US presidents through the generations have involved themselves in dishonesty. This article discusses the Top 10 US Political Scandals with all minute details related to the incidents.

Top Ten US Political Scandals

Get into the details of the Top Ten US Political Scandals record to know about some of the most scandalous scandals in the history of United States.

1. Watergate Scandal

No.1 US Political Scandal - Watergate Scandal

Watergate Scandal was the result of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. in June 1972. It was reported that Nixon had had a tape-recording system in the offices and that he had recorded many conversations. The scandal leads to the resignation of the then President of United States, Richard Nixon on 9th August, 1974. This incident also resulted in the indictment, trial, conviction and incarceration of 43 people; including dozens of Nixon’s top administration officials.

2. Monica Lewinsky Scandal

No.2 US Political Scandal - Monica Lewinsky

The year 1998 was not a favorable year for the highest office holder of US, President Bill Clinton as he was blamed of being in a physical relation with the 22 years old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. In 1995, Monica Lewinsky was hired to work as a secretary for the White House and soon began a close personal relationship with him. The news of this extra-marital affair and the resulting investigation eventually led to the impeachment of Clinton in 1998 by the U.S. House of Representatives.

3. Iran Contra Affair

No.3 US Political Scandal Iran Contra Affair

Also popular as Irangate, Contragate or the Iran-Contra scandal, the Iran Contra Affair was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. The gossip made many headlines at the time and is still considered as one of the top 10 US political scandals. The dishonesty took place during Ronald Reagan administration where senior Reagan officials secretly assisted the sale of arms to Iraq. The scandal began as an operation to free seven American hostages being held by a group with Iranian ties connected to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.

4. Teapot Dome Scandal

No.4 US Political Scandal - Teapot Dome Scandal

The famous Teapot Dome scandal was a bribery incident that was carried out in US from 1922 to 1923 during the term of President Warren G. Harding. Albert Fall, the Secretary of the Interior under Warren G. Harding, leased navy petroleum reserves to several oil companies for nonsensically low prices. Despite Albert’s efforts to hide the dishonesty, news about his murky dealings was leaked out by the Wall Street Journal rocking the whole administration. Immediately detailed investigations were made and it was found out that Albert received a total of $404,000 as bribery. Later he was sentenced to lockup.

5. Abu Ghraib Torture Scandal

No.5 US Political Scandal - Abu Ghraib Torture

Abu Ghraib Torture Scandal is all about the human rights violation that took place in 2004 at the Abu Ghraib lockup in Iraq. The tortures inflicted upon the culprits of the Abu Ghraib included urinating on culprits, jumping on a wounded culprit’s leg, pouring phosphoric acid on culpits, rape and sodomy using a baton. The scandal made Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s resign and many of the involved military personals were convicted in courts martial and dishonorably discharged from service.

6. The Keating Five

No.6 US Political Scandal - The Keating Five

The Keating Five engaged five United States Senators who were accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The senators were Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, John Glenn, John McCain and Donald W. Riegle who were accused of improperly intervening in 1987 on behalf of Charles H. Keating which was the target of a regulatory investigation by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

7. Pentagon Papers

No.7 US Political Scandal - Pentagon Papers

Pentagon Papers involved the unauthorized release of a 7000 page document to the press in the year 1971. These papers were the highly secret US Department of Defense documents pertaining to the US involvement in the Vietnam War spanning a period of 1945 to 1971, commissioned by the Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. The crime was committed by Daniel Ellsberg, a worker with the department, by leaking it to New York Times when he became disappointed with the role played by the US in the war.

8. Woodrow Wilson Engagement

No.8 US Political Scandal - Woodrow Wilson

Wilson met Edith Galt just a few short months after his wife Ellen Louise Axson had passed, and by May they were engaged. Way back in 1914, this was very scandalous. Rumors even started that Wilson claimed down Axson life so that he could marry Galt. Though they were engaged they got married only after his first wife passed away.

9. The Petticoat Affair

No.9 US Political Scandal - The Petticoat Affair

Also known as Eaton affair or the Eaton malaria the Petticoat Affair is one of the top ten US political scandals that involved members of President Andrew Jackson’s Cabinet and their wives during 1830 – 1831. It began with the marriage of Jackson’s secretary of war, John Henry Eaton, to recently widowed Margaret Timberlake. The marriage proved a great scandal in American high society; with rumors that Eaton had been having an affair with Timberlake which led to end of her first husband’s life. Most of Jackson’s cabinet turned against Eaton but Jackson supported him, and the controversy led to such a conflict that almost Jackson’s entire cabinet resigned over the issue.

10. Whiskey Ring

No.10 US Political Scandal - Whiskey Ring

In the United States, the Whiskey Ring was a scandal, exposed in 1875, involving diversion of tax revenues in a conspiracy among government agents, politicians, whiskey distillers, and distributors. Though it happened in St. Louis, it was organised in Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Peoria. According to report, a group of Republican politicians drained off millions of dollars in federal taxes on liquor involving a far-reaching millions of dollars in federal taxes on liquor from distillers, rectifiers, gougers, storekeepers, and internal revenue agents.

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