List of state and local political sex scandals in the United States

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This is a list of sex scandals involving American state and local politicians.

Scandal is defined as "loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety." Scandal is not the same as controversy, which implies two differing points of view.

Wikipedia defines politician as: A politician, political leader, or political figure (from Greek "polis") is someone who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making. This includes people who hold decision-making positions in government, and people who seek those positions, whether by means of election, inheritance, coup d'état, appointment, electoral fraud, conquest, divine right, or other means. Politics is not limited to governance through public office. Political offices may also be held in corporations, and other entities that are governed by self-defined political processes.

2010 - 2019[edit]

  • California, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D), resigned after facing a sexual harassment allegations from 18 of his female employees. (2013)[1]
  • California, Scott Hounsell, Ex. Dir. of Los Angeles County, California Republican Party was arrested for allegedly sexting with a 16-year-old girl. Hounsell resigned June 15, 2013.[2]
  • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) On May 16, 2011, the Los Angeles Times revealed that Schwarzenegger had fathered a son ten years earlier with an employee, Mildred 'Patty' Baena, his housekeeper. His wife Maria Shriver filed for divorce as soon as his term of governor was over. (2011)[3][4] See (2000–2009)
  • California State Senator Roy Ashburn (R) of Bakersfield. The divorced father of four was seen leaving a gay bar and arrested on two counts of DUI. He then admitted he was gay on a local radio station, even though he had voted against several gay rights initiatives. (2010)[5]
  • Delaware Republican Eric Bodenweiser, (R) who had won the Republican primary race for State Senator, was accused 117 counts of child molestation.[6] Shortly before his arrest, Bodenweiser abruptly ended his state Senate campaign as a Republican in District 19. Bodenweiser has pled not guilty.(2013)[7]
  • Florida State Representative Richard Steinberg (D) resigned from office after discovery of sexy messages he sent to a married Assistant US Attorney who instead of reciprocating, notified the Secret Service.(2012)[8]
  • Idaho State Senator John McGee (R) On February 22, 2012, McGee, submitted his resignation amid sexual harassment charges from a senate attachė.[9]
  • Illinois State Representative Keith Farnham (D) abruptly resigned his seat after being charged with possession of child pornography. (2014)[10]
  • Indiana State Representative Phillip Hinkle (R) married with two children was caught propositioning a male prostitute in a hotel room. Several of his fellow GOP lawmakers debated whether Hinkle should resign. (2011)[11][12]
  • Massachusetts State Representative J. James Marzilli, Jr. (D) pleaded guilty to all charges against him, including sexual harassment, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, and was sentenced to three months in prison.(2011)[13][14]
  • Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R) of Buffalo, Minnesota. The married mother of one resigned from her leadership position and announced that she would not be seeking reelection shortly before four fellow Republicans indicated that she had been engaged in an "inappropriate" relationship with a male staffer. (2011)[15]
  • Nebraska Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy. The married Republican politician resigned abruptly February 2, 2013 after using his state issued cellphone to make thousands of calls to four separate women.[16][17]
  • New Hampshire, New London Police Chief David Seastrand "was alleged to have offered to drop charges against a Colby Sawyer College student if she agreed to pose nude for him". Seastrand resigned in April 2013,[18] and at least four other women then came forward with complaints against him.[19] The AG investigation continued and he "permanently relinquish[ed] his police officer certification".[18]
  • New Mexico US Senator Pete Domenici a Republican from New Mexico,[20] acknowledged having a son outside marriage 3 decades ago with Michelle Laxalt, a Republican staffer, lobbyist and activist. In 1998 Domenici had voted to impeach President Bill Clinton, calling his affair with Monica Lewinsky, “tawdry.” [21]
  • Ohio State Representative Robert Mecklenborg (R) The 59-year-old married father of three had a young woman, reportedly a stripper, in his car when he was arrested for DUI on April 23 with traces of Viagra in his system. He resigned on August 2, 2011.[24][25]
  • Oregon State Representative Matt Wingard (R) resigned his post as the Deputy Republican Leader and announced he would not seek re-election after it was revealed he allegedly pressured one of his aides into a sexual relationship.[26] He admitted to the Willamette Week that they did have a sexual relationship, but denied pressuring the young woman.[27] He remained in office until the end of his term.[28]
  • Pennsylvania State Secretary of Environmental Protection Christopher Abruzzo (R) resigned as did Glenn Parno, his Deputy Chief Counsel, for exchanging emails of an explicit sexual nature.(2014)[29]
  • South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) was confronted during her campaign by Will Folks, former Press Secretary for disgraced South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R), who claimed that he had an inappropriate physical relationship with Haley "several years ago".[30] Larry Marchant, a consultant for opponent Andre Bauer's gubernatorial campaign, also alleged he and Haley had a one-time sexual encounter.[31][32][33] Haley, who is supported by the Tea Party movement denied the claim, stating "I have been 100 percent faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage. This claim against me is categorically and totally false."[34]
  • Rhode Island State Representative John Carnevale (D) pled not guilty to charges of first and second-degree sexual assault and one count of assault with the intent to commit sexual assault.[35]
  • Utah State Representative Kevin Garn (R), the Utah House Majority Leader, resigned after admitting that in 1985 he had shared a hot tub with 15 year old Cheryl Maher who was naked at the time. (2010)[36]
  • Wisconsin State Representative Randy Hopper (R) began an affair with Valerie Cass (25) while still married to his wife who has now filed for divorce.[37] Hopper allegedly got his mistress a Wisconsin government job with a 25% wage increase[38] as well as allegedly moving out of his own district. He was recalled and removed from office. (2011)[39]
  • Wisconsin State Representative and Majority Leader Bill Kramer (R) was ousted by Republicans who control the Wisconsin state Assembly who voted Tuesday to strip the majority leader of his leadership post amid allegations that he groped one woman and verbally abused another during a trip to Washington last week. Gov. Scott Walker(R) on Monday endorsed the move to remove Kramer, saying "I don't think there's any place for someone in a position of public trust to be in office if they've done those things." Kramer, of Waukesha, was charged with two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault. He acknowledged to investigators that he might have kissed the woman good night but denies groping her.[40][41]
  • Wisconsin Mayor of Racine Gary Becker (D) was convicted of attempted child seduction, child pornography, and other child sex crimes.[42] (2010)

2000 - 2009[edit]

  • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) Accused of sexual harassment by six women, Schwarzenegger did not confess, but admitted to previous misconduct before he was elected. See 2011.[43]
  • California Assemblyman Michael D. Duvall (R) resigned September 9 after the married champion of family values was inadvertently videotaped bragging about affairs with two different female lobbyists saying of one of them, "I'm getting into spanking her." (2009)[44]
  • California Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa (D) extramarital affair with television reporter Mirthala Salinas.(2009)[45]
  • California State Assemblyman Steven N. Samuelian (R) During his 2002 run for another term, the married Assemblyman revealed that in 1998 he had been cited by the police for loitering for the purpose of solicitation of prostitution. When he did so again[46] Samuelian faced public calls to resign from members of his own party, which he did. (2002)[47]
  • California Superior Judge in Orange County, Ronald C. Kline (R),[48] pled guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer and charged with child molestation and is under house arrest on federal charges of possessing child pornography. (2002)[49]
  • Connecticut Mayor of Waterbury Republican Philip Giordano[50][51] was investigated by the FBI which discovered phone records and pictures of Giordano with a prostitute, as well as with her 10-year-old niece and her eight-year-old daughter.[52] He was arrested on July 26, 2001, and, in March 2003, was convicted of 14 counts of using an interstate device,[53] sexual contact with children.[54] He was sentenced to 37 years in prison.[55]
  • Florida State Representative Bob Allen (R) anti-gay legislator was convicted of soliciting a police officer in a public men's room. (2007)[56]
  • Hawaii State Representative Galen Fox (R) was convicted of sexual misconduct when he unzipped the jeans of the woman flying next to him, saying that the woman was giving him a 'nonverbal clue that she was sexually interested.' He was given the maximum sentence for a first offense.[57]
  • Kansas Attorney General Paul J. Morrison (D) after an extramarital affair with an office administrator, who charged him with sexual harassment. He resigned January 31, 2008.[58]
  • Kentucky Governor Paul Patton (D), went public after a former mistress alleged that he retaliated against her business when she ended their relationship. (2002)[59]
  • Louisiana Senator and gubernatorial candidate David Vitter (R) who took over former Congressman Bob Livingston's seat when he stepped down due to an adultery charge.[60] Vitters' name was then discovered in the address book of DC Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey. He admitted his adultery and withdrew from his race for governor. (2007)[61]
  • Louisiana State Senator Jerry Thomas (R) admitted in 2003 to charges of lewd conduct with another man in an adult video store in New Orleans. The married father of four, completed the final year of his Senate term and did not run again.[62]
  • Maryland State Delegate Robert A. McKee (R) pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on September 5, 2008, and was sentenced to a 37-month term, which will be followed by lifetime supervised probation.[63]
  • Massachusetts State Representative George Rogers (D) lost his 2002 bid for re-election after being accused of showing gay porn to a minor.[64][65]
  • Missouri State Representative Scott Muschany (R) resigned after being indicted for having sex with a 14 year old girl who was the daughter of his mistress of two years. He was found not guilty for lack of evidence. (2008),[66][67]
  • Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons (R) was divorced by his wife, Dawn, on grounds of incompatibility alleging that Jim was unfaithful with Durant, and "has had similar relationships with many other women during the marriage".[68] She also referenced her humiliation at standing beside him when her husband attempted to defend himself from allegations of attempted sexual assault shortly before the 2006 election[69] (see List of state and local political scandals in the United States)
  • Nevada State Representative Richard Gardner (R) District 34, while running for State Assemblyman, admitted to molesting his two underage daughters.(2002)[70][71][72]
  • New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey (D) admitted that he had an extramarital affair with Golan Cipel an Israeli national, who he appointed as Homeland Security Advisor. When threatened with a lawsuit by Cipel, he admitted his homosexuality and resigned. His second wife immediately filed for divorce. (2004)[73]
  • New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (D) used the Emperors Club VIP prostitution service to meet $1,000 per night escorts.[74] Spitzer resigned and no charges were filed. (2008)[75]
  • Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann (D) resigned May 14, 2008, after he admitted he had an affair with a staff member.[76]
  • Puerto Rico Speaker of the House Edison Misla Aldarondo (R) was found guilty of raping his own 17 year old daughter and her friend after giving them drugs. See State and local convictions. (2002)[77]
  • South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) who had voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, admitted during a press conference on June 24, 2009, that he had traveled to Argentina to have an extra-marital affair with an Argentinian reporter. His staff had claimed he was "walking the Appalachian Trail." He then resigned as head of the Republican Governors Association and was censured by the State Legislature.(2009)[78]
  • South Dakota state senate candidate and former state legislator Ted Klaudt (R) was convicted on all four counts of second-degree rape. He was sentenced on January 17, 2008, to 44 years in prison as well as 10 years for witness tampering.[79]
  • Tennessee State Senator Paul Stanley (R) a fervent family values advocate, resigned from his position due to an affair with Mckensie Morrison, 22. "Whatever I stood for and advertised I still believe to be true and just because I fell far short of what God's standard was for me and my wife, doesn't mean that standard is reduced in the least," says Stanley. He resigned August 10, 2009[80]
  • Tennessee State Representative Keith Westmoreland (R) committed suicide after arrest on seven counts of lewd and lascivious behavior (exposing himself) to a crowd in Florida which included minors.[81][82]
  • Utah State Representative Katherine Bryson (R) was caught with a male lover on a surveillance camera her then husband had set up to catch a "burglar." (2004)[83]
  • Utah State Representative Brent Parker (R) Parker abruptly walked off the Utah House of Representatives floor in the middle of the legislative session and submitted his handwritten resignation when it was about to be revealed that the married father of six had been arrested for soliciting gay sex.[84]
  • Washington State Representative Richard Curtis (R) married with two children, voted against several gay rights proposals until blackmailed and outed by a male prostitute. He resigned soon after. (2007)[85]
  • Washington Mayor of Spokane James E. West (R) was married briefly and as a State Senator voted against several gay rights proposals. Faced with charges of past child molestation and being discovered on a gay website, West was recalled from his position and resigned.(2005)[86]
  • West Virginia Governor Bob Wise (D) Admitted to an affair with a female state employee. (2003)[87]
  • Wisconsin Mayor of Racine Gary Becker (D) charged with five child-sex felonies after being arrested by the FBI at a mall trying to meet a 14-year-old girl (January 16, 2009).[88] He was convicted and received a three-year felony prison sentence.[89]
  • Wisconsin: Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn allegedly had affair with Jessica McBride, a married journalist who wrote a story about him.[90][91][92] In response to these allegations, he was quoted as saying "I have done my wife and family a great wrong, and I profoundly regret the hurt I have inflicted on them and others affected by my conduct [...]" (2009).[90][91][92]


  • Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers (R) ran for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, when he admitted he had a decade-long extramarital affair with his secretary, a former Playboy Club waitress. Anne Davis stated the romance had been active as recently as six weeks prior to Bowers' June 5, 1997 announcement. (1998)[93][94]
  • Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Jon Grunseth (R-MN) during the election race it was revealed that Grunseth had invited three then-teenaged friends of his daughter, as well as his daughter herself, to go skinny-dipping in the pool at his home. Facing certain defeat, Grunseth withdrew from the race eight days before election. (1990)[95]
  • New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) During his marriage to second wife Donna Hanover Giuliani began a secret relationship with Judith Nathan[96] On May 10, 2000, Giuliani called a press conference to announce that he intended to separate from Hanover.[97][98] Hanover, however, had not been told about his plans before hand,[99] an omission for which he was widely criticized.[100]
  • Texas while Mayor of San Antonio, Democrat Henry Cisneros pled guilty in 1999 to a misdemeanor charge of lying to the FBI about the amount of money he paid his mistress, Linda Medlar. He was fined $10,000 and resigned his then current position as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.[101]
  • Texas State Representative Drew Nixon (R) was convicted of soliciting oral sex in 1997.[102]


  • California State Senator John G. Schmitz (R) who resigned when his extramarital affair, which resulted in 2 offspring that he refused to accept or care for, became public. (1982)[103]
  • New York State Senator Guy Velella (R) In 1986 Velella's supporters distributed campaign literature that championed him as advocate of family values and criticized liberal Democrats for undermining sexual morality. In 1987, Velella admitted that he had fathered a child out of wedlock with a woman in Albany with whom he had a long-time affair.[104]
  • Washington Thurston County Party Chairman Paul Ingram (R) and Chief Civil Deputy of the Sheriff's department: In 1988, he was accused by his daughters of sexual abuse, and by at least one daughter of satanic ritual abuse. In 1996, his son also accused him of abuse from the ages of 4 to 12.[105][106] He originally pleaded guilty but has since maintained his innocence. After pleading guilty, he attempted to withdraw his plea and requested a trial or clemency but his requests were refused. Ingram was released in 2003 after serving his sentence.[107] The Thurston county ritual abuse case became the basis of the book Remembering Satan by Lawrence Wright, and for the TV-movie Forgotten Sins.[108]

See also[edit]


Grossman, Mark. Political Corruption in America: An Encyclopedia of Scandals, Power, and Greed. (2003).

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