10 Capitol Hill Scandals: Who Survived? Who Was Sent Packing?

PHOTO: This photo taken Nov. 21, 2013 shows then-newly-elected Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La. waiting to be sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
This photo taken Nov. 21, 2013 shows then-newly-elected Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La. waiting to be sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington.

No doubt about it, it hasn’t been the best week for Rep. Vance McAllister.

Early this week, an anonymous sourced released surveillance video of the married Republican kissing a female staffer in his district office on December 23.

Months ago he dubbed himself a “good guy” to ABC News, but McAllister has spent this week at home with his family instead of in Washington.

Pundits have suggested McAllister may face a congressional ethics investigation. But does it signal the death knell of the freshman congressman’s career? Or will he escape the controversy, bruised, but able to hold on to his seat in the House of Representatives?

Capitol Hill has been a breeding ground for scandals of all kinds -- some lawmakers have survived, others have not. Here’s a look at how 10 lawmakers have fared in recent years:

RESIGNED

Bob Ney

Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 18th Congressional district (1995-2006)

The Scandal: The six-term congressman pleaded guilty in 2006 to taking bribes in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

The Fallout: Ney was the only Congressman convicted in the scandal and resigned shortly after pleading guilty to the corruption charges. He spent 17 months in prison and soon after wrote a book and started a talk-radio show in West Virginia.

 

PHOTO: NYC Mayoral DebateJames Keivom/New York Daily News/AP Photo
NYC Mayoral Debate

RESIGNED

Anthony Weiner

Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 9th Congressional district (1995-2006)

The Scandal: The famous “Weinergate” scandal erupted in 2011, when the Congressman admitted -- after repeatedly denying -- that he had tweeted and Facebook-messaged sexually suggestive photos of himself to at least six women.

The Fallout: 10 days after admitting to his behavior, Weiner announced his resignation from Congress. But it didn’t stop there. Weiner appeared to be the frontrunner for some time in his surprise-2013 run for New York City mayor. However, his campaign derailed in July 2013 after evidence surfaced he had sent more sexually suggestive pictures and texts to women under the alias "Carlos Danger" months after resigning from Congress.

 

SURVIVED

Michael Grimm

Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 11th Congressional district (2013-present)

The Scandal: In a post-State of the Union interview this past January, NY1-TV reporter Michael Scotto asked Grimm about some recent controversies tying the lawmaker to alleged campaign finance violations. Grimm walked away from the interview -- and after the reporter appeared to sign off, Grimm confronted Scotto with the camera still rolling. Grimm threatened to throw Scotto off of the balcony and told him “I’ll break you in half, like a boy."

The Fallout: Grimm first issued a statement, which seemed to defend the threats. But as the sound bite gained national attention on TV and the Internet, Grimm called Scotto to apologize, and then issued another statement apologizing for the incident.

 

PHOTO: Former Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., attends a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on the Obama administrations response to Syrias alleged use of chemical weapons.Tom Williams/Getty Images
Former Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., attends a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on the Obama administration's response to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons.

RESIGNED

David Wu

Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Oregon’s 1st Congressional district (1999-2011)

The Scandal: Wu was serving his seventh term in Congress when reports surfaced in July of 2011 that he engaged in an “unwanted sexual encounter” with a young California woman in November 2010.

The Fallout: Wu resigned from Congress just three days after the story broke in the Portland Oregonian. It was the second time in a year that he was caught in controversy, after several of his staff members resigned in 2010 during his reelection campaign. Wu reportedly sent a picture of himself in a tiger costume to his congressional staff, and several who resigned said Wu should seek psychiatric help.

 

SURVIVED

Sen. Mike Crapo

Republican Senator from Idaho (1999-present).

The Scandal: Though he purported to abstain from alcohol, the Mormon senator was arrested for a DUI in 2012. He later pleaded guilty to a drunk driving charge and was ordered to surrender his license for 12 months and pay a $250 fine.

The Fallout: Despite the incident, Crapo continues to serve in the Senate.

 

PHOTO: Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., listens during a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, March 11, 2010, on Capitol Hill in Washington.Alex Wong/Getty Images
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., listens during a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, March 11, 2010, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

RESIGNED

John Ensign

Republican member of the U.S. Senate from Nevada (2001-2011)

The Scandal: Ensign admitted in 2009 to having an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his former top aides. It was later found that Ensign’s parents had paid the aide and the woman $96,000 and that Ensign had helped the aide find a job as a lobbyist.

The Fallout: A Senate Ethics Committee investigation into the matter released a scathing report on Ensign’s activities and the senator resigned in May 2011.

 

SURVIVED -- THEN WENT TO PRISON

William J. Jefferson

Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional district (1991-2009)

The Scandal: The corruption investigation into Jefferson began in 2005, when the nine-term congressman was suspected of using his position to solicit bribes from American companies who were looking to do business in Africa. The FBI then reportedly found $90,000 stashed in one of Jefferson’s freezers.

The Fallout: Despite his congressional offices being raided by the FBI in May 2006, Jefferson was able to win reelection later that year. He was later indicted on 16 felony charges by a federal grand jury in 2007, and lost his bid for reelection in 2008. He was found guilty in 2009 on 11 counts of corruption and is currently serving out a 13-year sentence in a Louisiana prison.

 

PHOTO: This Sept. 3, 2013 file photo shows Rep. Trey Radel on Capitol Hill in Washington. Radel has been charged with misdemeanor drug possession. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
This Sept. 3, 2013 file photo shows Rep. Trey Radel on Capitol Hill in Washington. Radel has been charged with misdemeanor drug possession.

RESIGNED

Trey Radel

Republican Congressman from Florida’s 19th Congressional district (2013-2014).

The Scandal: Just nine months into his tenure, Radel was arrested after he attempted to buy cocaine from an undercover police officer. He pleaded guilty, was sentenced to one year of supervised probation and checked himself into a rehab clinic.

The Fallout: Pressured by House Speaker John Boehner and others to step down, Radel resigned from the House in January, immediately after he returned from rehab.

 

SURVIVED

Cynthia McKinney

Democratic Congresswoman from Georgia’s 11th Congressional district (1997-2003; 2005-2007).

The Scandal: McKinney allegedly punched a Capitol Police officer after he failed to recognize her as a House member and tried to make her walk through a metal detector. The congresswoman later apologized for her part in the altercation -- but claimed the officer had touched her “inappropriately” and suggested he may have been racial profiling.  A grand jury failed to indict her.

The Fallout: McKinney received little support from her fellow congresspeople. She served out the remainder of her term but lost the next election.

 

PHOTO: Former Calif. Rep. Randall Cunningham is seen in this portrait from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
Former Calif. Rep. Randall Cunningham is seen in this portrait from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

RESIGNED

Randall Cunningham

Republican Congressman from California’s 50th Congressional district (2003-2005).

The Scandal: Cunningham’s 16-year congressional career was abruptly cut short when federal agents accused him of accepting $2.4 million in bribes from federal defense contractors. He later pleaded guilty and served seven years behind bars.

The Fallout: Immediately after entering his guilty plea, Cunningham resigned from the House. He continues to collect his congressional pension.