Oct 122010

Brian Wolly on PBS NewsHour in February 2006 reported previous corruption scandals:

  • Credit Mobilier
    • President Ulysses S. Grant coined the term “lobbying”
    • In the 1860’s and 1870’s, Massachusetts Republican Rep. Oakland Ames sold shares of Credit Mobilier, a railroad firm, to “to his fellow congressmen at prices significantly below market value” in “exchange for support of giving contracts and subsidies to Credit Mobilier”.
    • The “House of Representatives censured Ames and Whig James Brooks of New York. Other implicated politicians included outgoing Vice President Schuyler Colfax, incoming Vice President Henry Wilson, and then-congressman and future President James Garfield.”
  • Teapot Dome
    • In 1923, the Public Lands Committee of the Senate discovered that emergency oil reserves for the Navy had been illegally leased to oil companies by Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall.
    • One of the oil companies’ executives also “implicated several [President Woodrow] Wilson administration officials in his appearance before Congress.
  • Abscam
    • “Six congressmen, Democrats John Jenrette of South Carolina, Raymond Lederer of Pennsylvania, Michael Myers of Pennsylvania, John Murphy of New York and Frank Thompson of New Jersey, and Republican Richard Kelly of Florida, and one senator, Democrat Harrison Williams of New Jersey, were convicted of bribery and conspiracy charges in 1981.”
    • “Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania also was indicted but not prosecuted because he gave evidence against Murphy and Thompson.”
  • Keating Five
    • “The Keating Five scandal from 1989 implicated five senators in another corruption probe. Democrats Dennis DeConcini of Arizona, Donald Riegle of Michigan, John Glenn of Ohio and Alan Cranston of California, and Republican John McCain of Arizona, were accused of strong-arming federal officials to back off their investigation of Charles Keating, former chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan association. In exchange, the senators reportedly received close to $1.3 million in campaign contributions.”
    • In August 1991, the Senate Ethics Committee concluded that Glenn and McCain’s three of the senators, DeConcini, Riegle, and Cranston, “acted improperly in interfering with the Federal Home Loan Banking Board’s investigation.”
  • House Banking Scandal
    • “In 1992, many House members were suspected of bouncing checks from accounts they held at the so-called ‘House Bank'”.
    • “Of the 296 sitting representatives and 59 former members who had overdrafted their personal accounts in the preceding 39 months, the House Ethics Committee released a list of the 24 worst abusers. Twenty were Democrats, although Republican Rep. Tommy Robinson of Arkansas was the worse offender, with 996 overdrafts.”

To read the entire article, click on History of Washington Scandals.

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