The Political Graveyard: A Database of American History
Politicians in Trouble or Disgrace

Politicians in Trouble or Disgrace: Minnesota

in chronological order

  Samuel Medary (1801-1864) — also known as "The Wheel Horse of Ohio Democracy" — of Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. Born in Montgomery Square, Montgomery County, Pa., February 25, 1801. Democrat. Newspaper editor; member of Ohio state house of representatives, 1834; member of Ohio state senate, 1836; delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1844, 1856, 1864; postmaster at Columbus, Ohio, 1847-49, 1858; Governor of Minnesota Territory, 1857-58; Governor of Kansas Territory, 1858-59, 1859-60, 1860, 1860; candidate for Governor of Kansas, 1859. Originated the slogan "Fifty-four forty or fight," calling for aggressive action on the Oregon boundary dispute with Great Britain in the 1840s; the American claim of all the land up to 54°40' north latitude encompassed most of what is now British Columbia. Indicted by a federal grand jury in 1864 for conspiracy against the government; arrested; released on bond; never tried. Died in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, November 7, 1864 (age 63 years, 256 days). Interment at Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.
  Relatives: Son of Jacob Medary (1770-1839) and Elizabeth (Harris) Medary; married to Elizabeth Scott (1807-1885); great-grandfather of James Gillespie Blaine III (1888-1969).
  Political families: Kellogg-Seymour-Chapin-Adams family of Connecticut and New York; Waterman-Huntington family of Connecticut and New York; Dewey-Blaine-Coit-Huntington family of Connecticut (subsets of the Three Thousand Related Politicians).
  The community of Medary, South Dakota, is named for him.
  See also Wikipedia article — Find-A-Grave memorial
  William Seeger — of St. Peter, Nicollet County, Minn. Republican. Minnesota state treasurer, 1872-73. After disclosure that he had accepted his predecessor's note for $112,000 of missing state funds, and had concealed this fact from investigators, he resigned; in spite of that, he was subsequently impeached and removed from office. The lost money was recovered from Seeger's bondsmen, and no criminal prosecution was made. Burial location unknown.
  Theodore P. Rich (c.1848-1886) — of New York, New York County, N.Y.; Cobleskill, Schoharie County, N.Y. Born in New York, about 1848. Democrat. Candidate for New York state assembly from New York County 13th District, 1876. Pursued his estranged wife to Minnesota; killed her, and then, perhaps to avoid prosecution, killed himself, by gunshot, in the Astoria House hotel, St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minn., February 27, 1886 (age about 38 years). Burial location unknown.
  Relatives: Married 1876 to Fannie (Smith) Trimble (daughter of Henry Smith (1827?-?)).
  Albert Alonzo Ames (1842-1911) — also known as Albert A. Ames; "Doc" — of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minn.; California. Born in Garden Prairie, Boone County, Ill., January 18, 1842. Served in the Union Army during the Civil War; physician; member of Minnesota state house of representatives District 5, 1867; mayor of Minneapolis, Minn., 1876-77, 1882-84, 1886-89, 1901-02; resigned 1902; candidate for Governor of Minnesota, 1886 (Democratic), 1896 (Independent); delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1888; indicted in 1902 on bribery charges, over a scheme to induce county commissioners to appoint his secretary, Thomas R. Brown, Jr., as Sheriff. Member, Freemasons; Odd Fellows; Knights of Pythias. Died, in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minn., November 16, 1911 (age 69 years, 302 days). His body was reportedly donated to science. Cremated; ashes interred at Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minn.
  Relatives: Son of Alfred Elisha Ames and Martha Asenath (Pratt) Ames (1819-1901); married, April 21, 1862, to Sarah S. Strout (1843-1892); fourth cousin once removed of Oakes Ames (1804-1873) and Oliver Ames, Jr..
  Political families: Kellogg-Seymour-Chapin-Adams family of Connecticut and New York; Ames family of North Easton, Massachusetts (subsets of the Three Thousand Related Politicians).
  See also Find-A-Grave memorial — Minnesota Legislator record
  John Goodnow (born c.1858) — of Minnesota. Born about 1858. Republican. Minnesota's most prominent advocate of William McKinley for president in 1896; U.S. Consul General in Shanghai, 1897-1905; charges of malfeasance against him were made by Americans in China to the State Department in 1902, and to President Theodore Roosevelt in December 1904; two months later, his resignation was announced; became an advisor to the Chinese government in 1906. Burial location unknown.
  Robert Page Walter Morris (1853-1924) — also known as R. Page W. Morris — of Duluth, St. Louis County, Minn. Born in Lynchburg, Va., June 30, 1853. Republican. College professor; lawyer; candidate for U.S. Representative from Virginia, 1884; district judge in Minnesota 11th District, 1895-96; U.S. Representative from Minnesota 6th District, 1897-1903; U.S. District Judge for Minnesota, 1903-23; took senior status 1923. Arrested in Salt Lake City, 1921, following an accident in which his car struck a pedestrian, Mrs. Elizabeth Holmes. Died in Rochester, Olmsted County, Minn., December 16, 1924 (age 71 years, 169 days). Interment at Forest Hill Cemetery, Duluth, Minn.
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page — federal judicial profile
Harold Knutson Harold Knutson (1880-1953) — of St. Cloud, Stearns County, Minn. Born in Skein, Norway, October 20, 1880. Republican. Newspaper editor and publisher; U.S. Representative from Minnesota, 1917-49 (6th District 1917-33, at-large 1933-35, 6th District 1935-49); delegate to Republican National Convention from Minnesota, 1940. Lutheran. Norwegian ancestry. Member, Freemasons; Odd Fellows; Elks. On March 9, 1924, he and Leroy M. Hull, a 29-year-old clerk for the Labor Department, sitting in his parked car alongside a rural road near Arlington National Cemetery, were arrested by officers of the Arlington County vice squad; he vainly offered a $100 bribe, but was charged, apparently with sodomy (press reports avoided mentioning the specific crime, only that it was a "grave moral offense"), and jailed overnight; tried before a jury, and found not guilty. Died, following a series of heart attacks, in Wesley Memorial Hospital, Wadena, Wadena County, Minn., August 21, 1953 (age 72 years, 305 days). Interment at North Star Cemetery, St. Cloud, Minn.
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page — Wikipedia article
  Image source: Minnesota Legislative Manual 1917
Farrell Dobbs Farrell Dobbs (1907-1983) — of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minn.; New York. Born in Queen City, Schuyler County, Mo., July 25, 1907. Socialist. Truck driver; became involved with a militant Teamsters Union local in Minneapolis in the 1930s, and helped lead a general strike; joined the Socialist Workers Party in 1939; convicted in 1941 of treason under the anti-Communist Smith Act, and served one year in prison; Socialist Workers candidate for President of the United States, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960; national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, 1953-72; historian. Member, Teamsters Union. Died in Pinole, Contra Costa County, Calif., October 31, 1983 (age 76 years, 98 days). Burial location unknown.
  Relatives: Son of Isaac T. Dobbs (1883-1956).
  See also Wikipedia article
  Image source: The Militant, July 2, 1956
  Carl Winter (1906-1991) — of Manhattan, New York County, N.Y.; Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minn.; Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Calif.; Michigan. Born in 1906. Communist. Candidate for New York state senate 13th District, 1932; candidate for U.S. Senator from Minnesota, 1940; convicted in 1949 under the Smith Act, for conspiring to advocate the overthrow of the government; served five years in prison. Died in 1991 (age about 85 years). Interment at Forest Home Cemetery, Forest Park, Ill.
  Relatives: Married to Helen Allison Winter (1908-2001) (daughter of Alfred Wagenknecht and Hortense Allison Wagenknecht; niece of Elmer T. Allison).
  Political family: Winter-Wagenknecht family.
  Daniel W. West (b. 1909) — of Nashville, Davidson County, Tenn.; Detroit, Wayne County, Mich. Born in Algood, Putnam County, Tenn., September 5, 1909. Democrat. Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Michigan, 1960, 1964 (alternate); member of Michigan state house of representatives, 1963-65 (Wayne County 6th District 1963-64, 24th District 1965); defeated in primary, 1954 (Wayne County 6th District), 1956 (Wayne County 6th District), 1958 (Wayne County 6th District), 1960 (Wayne County 6th District), 1965 (24th District). Convicted of various crimes, including burglary, larceny, and forgery, in Minnesota, Iowa, and Washington, D.C., and was sentenced to prison in those places; came to Michigan and assumed the identity of a deceased New York attorney of the same name; indicted in late 1964 on state charges of voter registration fraud and federal charges of income tax fraud and forgery; in January 1965, his seat in the Michigan House was declared vacant. Burial location unknown.
  Marvin Lewis Kline (1903-1974) — also known as Marvin L. Kline — of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minn.; Excelsior, Hennepin County, Minn. Born in Brunswick, Antelope County, Neb., August 9, 1903. Republican. Architectural engineer; alternate delegate to Republican National Convention from Minnesota, 1940; mayor of Minneapolis, Minn., 1941-45; convicted in 1964 of grand larceny for illegally boosting his salary as director of a rehabilitation institute, and for diverting fundraising proceeds; sentenced to 10 years in prison; released after three years. Baptist. Member, Freemasons; Scottish Rite Masons; Shriners; Moose; Optimist Club. Died in Ventura, Ventura County, Calif., April 9, 1974 (age 70 years, 243 days). Interment at Cuming City Cemetery, Blair, Neb.
  Relatives: Son of Frank R. Kline and Anna (Gunthorpe) Kline; married, November 23, 1929, to Lucille Knight.
  See also Wikipedia article — Find-A-Grave memorial
  Brian J. Coyle (1944-1991) — of Moorhead, Clay County, Minn.; Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minn. Born in Great Falls, Cascade County, Mont., June 25, 1944. College instructor; in 1968, he was indicted and tried for his refusal to comply with the military draft, but was acquitted as a conscientious objector; Independent candidate for U.S. Senator from Minnesota, 1978; candidate for mayor of Minneapolis, Minn., 1979; president, Minneapolis city council. Gay. One of Minnesota's first openly-gay politicians. Died, from AIDS-related complications, August 23, 1991 (age 47 years, 59 days). Burial location unknown.
  Paul David Wellstone (1944-2002) — also known as Paul Wellstone; "Senator Welfare" — of Minnesota. Born in Washington, D.C., July 21, 1944. Democrat. College professor; arrested during a Vietnam War protest at the federal building in Minneapolis, 1970; arrested again during a protest of farm foreclosures at a bank in Paynesville, Minn., 1984; candidate for Minnesota state auditor, 1982; member of Democratic National Committee from Minnesota, 1984-91; U.S. Senator from Minnesota, 1991-2002; died in office 2002; delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1996, 2000. Jewish. Member, Phi Beta Kappa. Killed in a plane crash, along with his wife and daughter, near Eveleth, St. Louis County, Minn., October 25, 2002 (age 58 years, 96 days). Interment at Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minn.
  Relatives: Son of Leon Wexelstein and Minnie (Danishevsky) Wexelstein; married 1963 to Sheila Ison (1944-2002).
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page — votes in Congress from the Washington Post — Wikipedia article — NNDB dossier — Find-A-Grave memorial
  Books by Paul Wellstone: The Conscience of a Liberal: Reclaiming the Compassionate Agenda (2001) — How the Rural Poor Got Power: Narrative of a Grass-Roots Organizer (1978) — Powerline: The First Battle of America's Energy War, with Barry M. Casper (1981)
  Books about Paul Wellstone: Terry Gydesen, Twelve Years and Thirteen Days: Remembering Paul and Sheila Wellstone — Dennis J. McGrath & Dane Smith, Professor Wellstone Goes to Washington: The Inside Story of a Grassroots U.S. Senate Campaign — Don Jacobs & James Fetzer, American Assassination: The Strange Death Of Senator Paul Wellstone
  David Ferdinand Durenberger (b. 1934) — also known as David F. Durenberger — of South St. Paul, Dakota County, Minn.; Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minn. Born in St. Cloud, Stearns County, Minn., August 19, 1934. Republican. Lawyer; executive secretary to Gov. Harold LeVander, 1967; U.S. Senator from Minnesota, 1978-95. Catholic. Member, Jaycees; Knights of Columbus; Elks; Lions. Investigated in 1990 by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics over allegations that he had broken rules restricting Senators' outside income, in particular by laundering about $100,000 in speaking fees into book royalties. Denounced by unanimous vote of the Senate in July 1990 for bringing "dishonor and disrepute" to the body. Subsequently he was disbarred; in 1995 he pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of misusing his congressional expense account. Still living as of 2014.
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page — votes in Congress from the Washington Post — Wikipedia article — NNDB dossier — OurCampaigns candidate detail
  Arlan Ingehart Stangeland (1930-2013) — also known as Arlan Stangeland — of Barnesville, Clay County, Minn. Born in Fargo, Cass County, N.Dak., February 8, 1930. Republican. Member of Minnesota state house of representatives, 1966-74 (District 56-B 1966-72, District 9-B 1973-74); U.S. Representative from Minnesota 7th District, 1977-91; defeated (Independent Republican), 1990; news media reported in January 1990 that he had made hundreds of phone calls on his House phone credit card, to or from the home of a female lobbyist; he denied having an extramarital affair, but the scandal contributed to his defeat in November 1990. Lutheran. Member, Delta Sigma Phi. Died in Otter Tail County, Minn., July 2, 2013 (age 83 years, 144 days). Burial location unknown.
  Relatives: Son of Ingehart Stangeland and Pearle (Olson) Stangeland; married, June 24, 1950, to Virginia Grace Trowbridge.
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page — NNDB dossier
  Sam Solon (1931-2001) — also known as "Senator Sam" — of Duluth, St. Louis County, Minn. Born in Duluth, St. Louis County, Minn., June 25, 1931. Democrat. School teacher; member of Minnesota state house of representatives, 1971-72; member of Minnesota state senate, 1973-2001; died in office 2001. Eastern Orthodox. Greek ancestry. Pleaded guilty in 1995 to telecommunications fraud for letting his ex-wife make $2,430 in calls on his State Senate telephone line; reprimanded by the Senate in 1996. Died, of liver cancer, in St. Mary's Medical Center, Duluth, St. Louis County, Minn., December 28, 2001 (age 70 years, 186 days). Burial location unknown.
  The Solon Campus Center (built 1995, named 2001), at the University of Minnesota Duluth, is named for him.
  Larry Edwin Craig (b. 1945) — also known as Larry Craig — of Midvale, Washington County, Idaho; Payette, Payette County, Idaho. Born in Council, Adams County, Idaho, July 20, 1945. Republican. Member of Idaho state senate, 1975-81; U.S. Representative from Idaho 1st District, 1981-91; U.S. Senator from Idaho, 1991-2009. Methodist. Member, National Rifle Association. Arrested for soliciting sex in a men's bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, June 11, 2007; charged with disorderly conduct; pleaded guilty, and was fined. Still living as of 2014.
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page — votes in Congress from the Washington Post — Wikipedia article — NNDB dossier — Internet Movie Database profile
  Alan Stuart Franken (b. 1951) — also known as Al Franken; "Stuart Smalley" — of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minn. Born in Manhattan, New York County, N.Y., May 21, 1951. Democrat. Comedian; author; U.S. Senator from Minnesota, 2009-18; resigned 2018; in November 2017, Leeann Tweeden alleged that Franken had forcibly kissed her on a 2006 USO tour; Franken was also photographed appearing to place his hands on or near her breasts; other women made similar allegations; resigned from the Senate in January. Jewish. Still living as of 2018.
  Relatives: Son of Joseph P. Franken and Phoebe (Kunst) Franken; married, October 2, 1975, to Franni Bryson.
  See also congressional biography — Wikipedia article — NNDB dossier — Internet Movie Database profile
"Enjoy the hospitable entertainment of a political graveyard."
Henry L. Clinton, Apollo Hall, New York City, February 3, 1872
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