13 Political Scandals in History That Have Had Worst Impact on the People

Take a look at the political scandals that were considered to be a dirty business for fame and money.

3 years ago
13 Political Scandals in History That Have Had Worst Impact on the People

History is full of interesting matters, hyped subjects, infamous people, and more. Right from political scandals to bizarre things about different countries, history has got you covered. 

Politics is infamous for several reasons. Because of fame and power, several people or politicians couldn’t control themselves and engage in corruption. With nearly 250 years of history, it is no surprise to read about political scandals. 

Some of the political scandals mentioned in the media are associated with improper utilization of taxes, extramarital affairs, and more. Let us read about the political blunders that involve governments from different countries and famous people. 

1. The Eaton Affair

Source = Diak46rl5chc7

The Eaton Affair or petticoat affair was a popular political scandal that involved the members of President Andrew Jackson’s Cabinet and their wives. It began as a disagreement among women in Washington DC and led to the disbanding of Jackson’s cabinet. In the first two years of Andrew Jackson’s term, his good friend John Henry Eaton married Margaret “Peggy” O’Neale, the daughter of the boarding house that Eaton owned. 

Soon she became controversial because of her reputation for promiscuity, and this led Jackson to leave his cabinet. Vice President John C. Calhoun joined the anti-Eaten forces because he opposed Eaton’s support of protective tariffs. 

The author of Affairs of Honors: National Politics in the New Republic explains, 

“Unable to resolve the problem through personal persuasion, Jackson ultimately forced pro-Calhoun, anti-Eaton cabinet members to resign in 1831. (Van Buren and Eaton also resigned to allow Jackson to appoint an entirely new cabinet.) In the end, the scandal caused a permanent rift between Jackson and Calhoun and boosted Van Buren’s power and influence. Though very much of its time, the Eaton Affair shows how seemingly minor personal matters can have major political implications amidst the volatile blend of politics and society in the nation’s capital.”

2. The Keating Five

Source = Gannett-cdn

The Keating Five were United States Senators accused of bad events in 1989. They had saved chairman of the Lincoln Savings and loan association, Charles Keating, from being audited in return for receiving campaign funding. 

The association collapsed and caused billions of dollars worth of damages. The Keating Five alleges that Keating had made contributions of nearly $1.3 million to several U.S. Venators, and he called them to resist US federal regulators. 

He served 42 months in prison. The media focused on the relationships of senators to Keating. De Concini received nearly $48,000 from Keating and his associates for his 1986 Senate re-election campaign. 

Glenn received $34,000, and Cranston received $39,000 from Keating and associates for the re-election campaign. Riegle received $76,000 from Keating and announced in April 1988 that he would be returning the money. The scandal was followed by several attempts to adopt campaign finance reform, but attempts died in committee. 

3. The Wilbur Mills Scandal

Source = Abcnews

Wilbur Daigh Mills was an American Democratic politician who represented Arkansas' 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. As a chairman, he was sometimes called the most powerful man in Washington. 

He was involved in a traffic incident that happened in October 1974. His car was stopped by the police late at night, as he didn’t activate the vehicle's headlights. He was drunk, and his face was injured after a fight with Fanne Foxe. 

When police approached the car, he jumped into the nearby basin to escape. Fannie was taken to the hospital for treatment. After two incidents with Fannie Fox, he declined to seek election in 1976. He then practiced law at the Prestigious Shea and Gould Law Firm of New York’s Washington office until he retired in 1991. 

4. The Crédit Mobilier Scandal

Source = Wikimedia

It was in 1872 when the Crédit Mobilier scandal gained the attention of the media. It was a two-part fraud that happened from 1864 to 1867 by the Union Pacific Railroad and the Credit Mobilier of an American construction company in the eastern portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad. 

The fraud company greatly inflated construction costs. The railroad cost $50 million, but the company charged $94 million, and Union Pacific executives pocketed the extra $44 million. The scandal affected the careers of many politicians and bankrupted Union Pacific.  

Furthermore, this scandal caused public distrust of Congress and the federal government during the Gilded Age. The directors of Union Pacific were also involved in the stock fraud. 

In the construction contract that was drawn between the Union Pacific and Credit Mobilier, the terms and conditions were accepted through the same corporate officers and directors, working on the same sides of the contract. The fraud of these companies was not revealed for years. 

5. Watergate Scandal

Source = Vice

It was a political scandal in the United States and involved the administration of US President Richard Nixon. After five men were caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarter in Washington DC’s Watergate complex, the trail led to Nixon’s Republican administration. Rather than sentencing them to prison, the investigation broke-in, and the Nixon Administration's involvement grew broader. 

Late March, he revealed that not only he knew he needed to remove Haldeman and Dean to make the distance from them. But he had to do this to incriminate him and his presidency. He made a plan and became fully formed in May and June 1973. In 1974, Nixon stepped down. Several of Nixon’s advisors received prison terms, and he was pardoned by his successor, Pres Gerald Ford.

6. Whiskey Ring Scandal

Source = History

The Whiskey Ring was another political scandal exposed in 1875. It involved the diversion of tax revenues among politicians, whiskey distillers, and government agents. 

The scheme involved the network of bribes, gaugers, and internal revenue agents. At that time, there was an increase in liquor taxes, and whiskey was taxed at 70 per gallon. But distillers would pay 35% per gallon, and the whiskey was stamped as having the tax paid. Due to the ties with the government, the whiskey was thought to be safe. 

In 1875, the Treasury Secretary Benjamin Bristow broke the ring, and Grant appointed a prosecutor John. B Henderson. He began closing in on Grant’s Personal Secretary, Babcock, and intimated that Grant might be involved and replaced Henderson. After it was revealed that Babcock was innocent, Grant was tested.

7. Jacob Zuma Scandals

Source = Ca-times

Jacob Zuma is a South African politician who served as the fourth president of South Africa from the general election. He was considered to be anti-apartheid her but became infamous after multiple scandals. His relationship with the Gupta business family made him responsible for firing finance ministers, leading to declining in South Africa’s credit rankings. 

It was in 2017 when South Africa’s court voted to reinstate 783 charges of corruption and fraud against the president. He resigned in February 2018. He was also involved in the corruption controversy after his financial advisory was charged with corruption and fraud. 

8. Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky Scandal

Source = Bbci

Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky Scandal was a political sex scandal that happened between the US President and White House intern Monica. Their sexual relationship happened between 1995 to 1997 and gained the attention of the media in 1998. Clinton admitted his relationship with Lewinsky but ended his speech in 1998 with the statement that he didn’t have any sexual relations with that woman. 

After investigation, he was led to charges of Perjury and the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998 by the US House of representatives. She was a graduate of Lewis and Clark College and was hired during the first term in 1995. People believe that Clinton began a relationship with her when she worked at the White House. Last year, she tweeted about her worst career choice, throwing light on her relationship with Clinton. 

9. Iran-Contra Affair

Source = Britannica

The Iran-Contra Affair, or referred to as Irangate, was a political scandal that occurred during the second term of the Reagan Administration. This secret affair unfolded the secret sale of weapons to Iran to win freedom for the US and to use the profits from the sales to provide military support for the counterrevolutionary efforts of the Contras in Nicaragua. 

Ronald Reagan was unable to persuade Congress to authorize funding, which was prohibited under the Boland Amendments. As soon as the scandal news spread in the media, it was revealed that US Marine corps Lieut, Col. had played an important role in a covert program to support the Contras. Regan said that he had no clue of the diversion of the funds. 

George H.W. Bush was found to have no role in the undertaking. Some freedom was granted to several participants for their testimony, and later presidential pardons meant that a few of the wrongdoers spent time in prison. 

10. Profumo Affair

Source = Clivedenhouse

A British political scandal happened with a sexual relationship between the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, and 19-year model Christine Keeler. In 1963, Profumo denied the impropriety in a personal statement but was forced to agree to the truth after a few weeks. 

After he was in a relationship with Christine, he lied in the house of commons when he was questioned about it. This forced his resignation and affected the reputation of PM Harold Macmillian’s government. He then resigned himself due to his illness. 

11. The Chappaquiddick Incident


The Chappaquiddick incident was a single-vehicle car accident that occurred on  Chappaquiddick Island in 1969. The accident happened by Senator Edward Kennedy’s negligence and resulted in the death of a passenger Mary, who was trapped inside the vehicle. 

Kennedy left the place and didn't tell anyone about this. She died in the vehicle. Kennedy was found guilty to a charge of leaving the place and was sentenced to jail for two months. This accident became a national scandal. He later decided to enter the 1980 Democratic Party presidential primaries but lost the nominations to President Jimmy Carter. 

12. The Moshe Katsav Rape Scandal

Source = Guim

The former president of Israel, Moshe Katsav, was found guilty of raping and sexually harassing ten women. When he was in the office, the police raided his house and seized documents. He was asked to resign or suspend from the presidency, but he refused to do so. Later, he lost his presidential immunity and was convicted of the crimes. 

In 2006, he complained to the Attorney General of Israel that some female employees were blackmailing him. But the investigation turned against him, and he was found guilty of sexual offenses. 

In September, the police received several complaints from women. The police determined that they must be having evidence against the incident. These women complained against Moshe, and the allegations included involvement in illegal wiretapping and fraud. 

13. The Gary Condit Affair

Source = Washingtonpost

A former representative from California, Gary Condit, was found to have an affair with the intern at his Washington DC office, Chandra Levy. After she disappeared, he admitted to having a relationship with her but denied her disappearance. 

He gained attention for an extramarital affair, which opened after Levy’s disappearance in 2001. When Chandra’s body was found, the police claimed Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant, was responsible for the incident. Later, the charges for Guandique were dismissed due to a lack of evidence. 

Final Words

While some people like politics because of the fame and money it gives, others hate it for the same reasons. Do you know other political scandals that have marked an impact in history? Please share them below. 


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