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Politicians in Trouble or Disgrace

Politicians in Trouble or Disgrace: Abuse of Authority
Improper Use of Power

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in chronological order

  Theophilus Washington Smith (1784-1845) — also known as Theophilus W. Smith — of Edwardsville, Madison County, Ill. Born in New York, New York County, N.Y., September 28, 1784. Studied law in the office of Aaron Burr; lawyer; newspaper editor; candidate for Illinois state attorney general, 1820; member of Illinois state senate, 1823-26; advocated the legalization of slavery in Illinois; justice of Illinois state supreme court, 1825-42; impeached by the Illinois Legislature in 1833, on charges of oppressive conduct and corruption; the Senate acquitted him on a vote of 12-10 (two-thirds required). Died in Chicago, Cook County, Ill., May 6, 1845 (age 60 years, 220 days). Original interment in unknown location; reinterment at Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, Ill.
  Relatives: Son of Thomas Rodney Smith (1750-1791) and Mary (Thurston) Smith (1754-1820); father of Adeline Clarissa Smith (1812-1866; who married Jesse Burgess Thomas (1777-1853)) and Louise M. Smith (who married Levi Day Boone); uncle of Frances Everallyn Rose (1809-1836; who married William Wallace Irwin).
  Political family: Thomas-Smith-Irwin family of Pennsylvania (subset of the Three Thousand Related Politicians).
  See also Wikipedia article — Find-A-Grave memorial
  Tunis George Campbell (1812-1891) — also known as Tunis G. Campbell — of McIntosh County, Ga. Born in Middlebrook (unknown county), N.J., April 1, 1812. Minister; abolitionist; delegate to Georgia state constitutional convention, 1867; member of Georgia state senate, 1868, 1869-72; expelled 1868; defeated, 1872; expelled from the Georgia State Senate in 1868 based on the claim that only whites could serve; charged with falsely imprisoning white men as Justice of of the Peace, and served a year of hard labor in Georgia's brutal leased labor system. Methodist. African ancestry. Died in Boston, Suffolk County, Mass., December 4, 1891 (age 79 years, 247 days). Burial location unknown.
  Albert Cardozo (1828-1885) — of New York, New York County, N.Y. Born in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pa., December 21, 1828. Lawyer; a close ally of corrupt New York City political boss William M. Tweed; Justice of New York Supreme Court 1st District, 1868-72; resigned 1872; in 1872, an effort was made to impeach him, along with Justice George G. Barnard, on charges that they abused judicial power in various ways to serve Boss Tweed, as well as "robber barons" Jay Gould and Jim Fisk; rather than go through an impeachment trial, Cardozo resigned from the bench; meanwhile, Barnard's impeachment went forward, and he was unanimously convicted. Jewish. Portugese ancestry. Died, from Bright's disease, in New York, New York County, N.Y., November 8, 1885 (age 56 years, 322 days). Interment at Cypress Hills Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  Relatives: Son of Michael H. Cardozo and Ellen (Hart) Cardozo; married to Rebecca Washington Nathan; father of Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870-1938).
  See also Wikipedia article
  George Gardner Barnard (c.1829-1879) — also known as George G. Barnard — of New York, New York County, N.Y. Born in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, N.Y., about 1829. Democrat. Lawyer; a close ally of corrupt New York City political boss William M. Tweed; Recorder, New York City, 1858-60; Justice of New York Supreme Court 1st District, 1861-72; removed 1872; impeached by the New York legislature in 1872, on charges that he abused his judicial power through the takeover of several railroads, putting them under the control of receivers who were allied with "robber barons" Jay Gould and Jim Fisk; the Union Pacific and other railroads had to relocate their headquarters away from New York City to evade the jurisdiction of Barnard and Justice Albert Cardozo; Barnard was unanimously convicted by the Court of Impeachment, and also barred from holding office of any kind. Died, from Bright's disease, in New York, New York County, N.Y., April 27, 1879 (age about 50 years). Entombed at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  Relatives: Son of Frederic Barnard (1780-1866) and Margaret (Allen) Barnard (1792-1869); brother of Joseph Folger Barnard (1823-1904); married, June 29, 1859, to Frances Anderson (1840-1874).
  See also Wikipedia article — Find-A-Grave memorial
Herman Methfessel Herman Methfessel (1900-1963) — of Staten Island, Richmond County, N.Y.; Miami, Dade County (now Miami-Dade County), Fla. Born in Manhattan, New York County, N.Y., November 23, 1900. Democrat. Newspaper reporter; lawyer; member of New York state assembly from Richmond County 2nd District, 1935-38; Richmond County District Attorney, 1948-51. In September 1951, the New York State Crime Commission, investigating rackets on the Staten Island waterfront, heard testimony from Mrs. Anna Wentworth that she had seen District Attorney Methfessel in a gambling house, which implied that he was protecting vice; in response, he ordered her arrest and charged her with perjury. At the request of the Crime Commission, citing abuse of power, Gov. Thomas E. Dewey superseded him from all cases related to the investigation; in the meantime, he was defeated for re-election. In 1952, he and a subordinate were charged with official misconduct, but found not guilty. Injured in a one-car accident, and died the next day, in North Shore Hospital, Miami, Dade County (now Miami-Dade County), Fla., July 7, 1963 (age 62 years, 226 days). Burial location unknown.
  Cross-reference: Ellsworth B. Buck
  Image source: New York Red Book 1936
  Joseph Raymond McCarthy (1908-1957) — also known as Joseph R. McCarthy; Joe McCarthy; "Tail-Gunner Joe" — of Appleton, Outagamie County, Wis. Born in Grand Chute, Outagamie County, Wis., November 14, 1908. Republican. Lawyer; circuit judge in Wisconsin 10th Circuit, 1940-46; served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II; U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, 1947-57; died in office 1957; delegate to Republican National Convention from Wisconsin, 1948; speaker, 1952. Catholic. Claimed in a 1950 speech that he had a list of 205 Communists employed in the U.S. State Department; went on to conduct hearings and investigations into alleged subersive activities and Communist influence on society; with his sensationalist tactics and disregard for fairness and due process, he dominated the American political scene for a period of time, now called the McCarthy Era; public opinion turned against him when he tried to investigate the Army; in December 1953, the Senate voted 67-22 to censure him for "contemptuous conduct" and abuse of select committee privilege. Died of a liver ailment at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Montgomery County, Md., May 2, 1957 (age 48 years, 169 days). Interment at St. Mary's Cemetery, Appleton, Wis.
  Relatives: Son of Timothy McCarthy (1867-1946) and Bridget (Tierney) McCarthy (1870-1941); married, September 29, 1953, to Jean Fraser Kerr (1924-1979).
  Cross-reference: L. Brent Bozell — Norman Armour — Joseph C. Grew — Robert Woods Bliss — William Phillips — Albert Cohn — Corliss Lamont — Merwin K. Hart — Charles W. Thayer — John S. Service
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page — Wikipedia article — NNDB dossier — Internet Movie Database profile — Find-A-Grave memorial
  Books about Joseph R. McCarthy: Richard H. Rovere, Senator Joe McCarthy — Arthur Herman, Joseph McCarthy : Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator — Ellen Schrecker, The Age of McCarthyism — Thomas C. Reeves, The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy : A Biography
  Fiction about Joseph R. McCarthy: William F. Buckley, Jr., The Redhunter : a novel based on the life of Senator Joe McCarthy
  Terry Doyle Schrunk (b. 1913) — also known as Terry D. Schrunk — of Portland, Multnomah County, Ore. Born in Stayton, Marion County, Ore., March 10, 1913. Democrat. Fire fighter; served in the U.S. Navy during World War II; Multnomah County Sheriff, 1949-56; delegate to Democratic National Convention from Oregon, 1952; mayor of Portland, Ore., 1957-72; indicted in March, 1957 on bribery and perjury charges; tried and found not guilty; another indictment, for conspiracy to obtain wiretaps and other related charges, was dismissed in September, 1957. Presbyterian. Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars; American Legion; Purple Heart; Elks; Eagles; Freemasons. Presumed deceased. Burial location unknown.
  Relatives: Son of James Schrunk and Pearl Margaret (Doyle) Schrunk; married, May 17, 1936, to Virginia Dorothy Price.
  Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994) — also known as Richard M. Nixon; "Tricky Dick"; "Searchlight" — of Whittier, Los Angeles County, Calif. Born in Yorba Linda, Orange County, Calif., January 9, 1913. Republican. Lawyer; served in the U.S. Navy during World War II; U.S. Representative from California 12th District, 1947-50; U.S. Senator from California, 1950-53; appointed 1950; resigned 1953; delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1952 (member, Resolutions Committee), 1956; Vice President of the United States, 1953-61; President of the United States, 1969-74; defeated, 1960; candidate for Governor of California, 1962; candidate for Republican nomination for President, 1964. Quaker. Member, American Legion. Discredited by the Watergate scandal, as many of his subordinates were charged with crimes; in July 1974, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted three articles of impeachment against him, over obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress; soon after, a tape recording emerged which directly implicated him in the Watergate break-in; with impeachment certain, he resigned; pardoned in 1974 by President Gerald R. Ford. Died, from a stroke, at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center, Manhattan, New York County, N.Y., April 22, 1994 (age 81 years, 103 days). Interment at Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace, Yorba Linda, Calif.
  Relatives: Son of Francis Anthony 'Frank' Nixon (1878-1956) and Hannah (Milhous) Nixon (1885-1967); married, June 21, 1940, to Thelma Catherine Ryan; father of Julie Nixon (daughter-in-law of John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower; granddaughter-in-law of Dwight David Eisenhower); second cousin of John Duffy Alderson (1896-1975).
  Political families: Lee-Randolph family of Maryland and Virginia; Carroll-Hanson family of Maryland; Eisenhower-Nixon family (subsets of the Three Thousand Related Politicians).
  Cross-reference: Maurice H. Stans — John H. Holdridge — Clark MacGregor — Harry L. Sears — Harry S. Dent — Christian A. Herter, Jr. — John N. Mitchell — G. Bradford Cook — Raymond Moley — Patrick J. Buchanan — Nils A. Boe — Murray M. Chotiner — Richard Blumenthal — G. Gordon Liddy — Robert D. Sack — Edward G. Latch — William O. Mills
  Campaign slogan (1968): "Nixon's the One!"
  Epitaph: "The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker."
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page — Wikipedia article — NNDB dossier — Internet Movie Database profile — Find-A-Grave memorial — OurCampaigns candidate detail
  Books by Richard M. Nixon: RN : The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1978) — Beyond Peace (1994) — 1999: Victory Without War (1988) — Leaders (1982) — Memoirs — Six Crises (1962) — The Challenges We Face (1960) — In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat and Renewal (1990) — No More Vietnams (1985) — The Poetry of Richard Milhous Nixon (1974) — Real Peace (1984) — The Real War (1980) — Seize The Moment: America's Challenge in a One-Superpower World (1992)
  Books about Richard M. Nixon: Melvin Small, The Presidency of Richard Nixon — Joan Hoff, Nixon Reconsidered — Jonathan Aitken, Nixon : A Life — Garry Wills, Nixon Agonistes : The Crisis of the Self-Made Man — Thomas Monsell, Nixon on Stage and Screen : The Thirty-Seventh President As Depicted in Films, Television, Plays and Opera — Stephen E. Ambrose, Nixon : Education of a Politician, 1913-1962 — Richard Reeves, President Nixon: Alone in the White House — Roger Morris, Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician — Robert Mason, Richard Nixon and the Quest for a New Majority — Jules Witcover, Very Strange Bedfellows : The Short and Unhappy Marriage of Richard Nixon & Spiro Agnew
  Critical books about Richard M. Nixon: Nathan Miller, Star-Spangled Men : America's Ten Worst Presidents — Lance Morrow, The Best Year of Their Lives: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon in 1948: Learning the Secrets of Power — Don Fulsom, Nixon's Darkest Secrets: The Inside Story of America's Most Troubled President
  Lafayette Christopher Thomas (1926-2000) — also known as Fate C. Thomas — of Nashville, Davidson County, Tenn. Born in Nashville, Davidson County, Tenn., September 23, 1926. Democrat. Candidate for Tennessee state house of representatives, 1954; Davidson County Sheriff, 1972-90. Catholic. Indicted in federal court in 1990 on 54 counts of abusing his power as sheriff; pleaded guilty to theft and mail fraud; sentenced to five years in prison; released in 1994. Died, following heart bypass surgery, in Nashville, Davidson County, Tenn., July 25, 2000 (age 73 years, 306 days). Interment at Calvary Cemetery, Nashville, Tenn.
  Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua (1923-2012) — also known as Anthony Bevilacqua — of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pa.; Wynnewood, Montgomery County, Pa. Born in Brooklyn, Kings County, N.Y., June 17, 1923. Republican. Catholic priest; bishop of Pittsburgh, 1983-88; archbishop of Philadelphia, 1988-2003; cardinal from 1991; offered prayer, Republican National Convention, 2000 ; accused in 2003-04 of protecting priests who were suspected of sexually abusing children; later, it was found that he had ordered a subordinate to destroy a list of 35 abusive priests, and that he had punished a priest who had raised concerns about possible abuse. Catholic. Italian ancestry. Died in Wynnewood, Montgomery County, Pa., January 31, 2012 (age 88 years, 228 days). Entombed at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, Pa.
  Relatives: Son of Luigi Bevilacqua and Maria (Codella) Bevilacqua.
  See also Wikipedia article — Find-A-Grave memorial
  James Elton West (1951-2006) — also known as James E. West; Jim West — of Spokane, Spokane County, Wash. Born in Salem, Marion County, Ore., March 28, 1951. Republican. Deputy sheriff; member of Washington state house of representatives, 1982-86; member of Washington state senate 6th District, 1986-2003; mayor of Spokane, Wash., 2004-05. Member, Rotary; Gay. Following a scandal involving use of his position to obtain sex with young men, and an FBI investigation, he was recalled from office as mayor in 2005. Died, from complications of colon cancer, in the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, King County, Wash., July 22, 2006 (age 55 years, 116 days). Burial location unknown.
  Relatives: Son of Jack West; married 1990 to Ginger Marshall (divorced 1995).
  See also Wikipedia article — NNDB dossier
  Rod R. Blagojevich (b. 1956) — also known as Rod Blagojevich; "Blago" — of Chicago, Cook County, Ill. Born in Chicago, Cook County, Ill., December 10, 1956. Democrat. Lawyer; member of Illinois state house of representatives, 1993-96; U.S. Representative from Illinois 5th District, 1997-2003; delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 2000, 2004, 2008; Governor of Illinois, 2003-09; solicited bribes from potential candidates for appointment to Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat; arrested by federal agents in December 2008, and set for trial on federal corruption charges; in January 2009, based on charges that he abused his authority and attempted to sell authorizations, vetoes, and appointments, he was impeached by the Illinois House, convicted by a unanimous vote of the Illinois Senate, and prohibited from holding public office in the state; tried in federal court in 2010-11, and after a mistrial, was ultimately found guilty on eighteen counts, including bribery and extortion; sentenced to 14 years in federal prison; an appeal later overturned five of the eighteen convictions, but did not change his prison sentence. Serbian ancestry. Still living as of 2019.
  Relatives: Married to Patricia 'Patti' Mell (daughter of Richard F. Mell; sister of Deborah Mell (1968-)).
  Political family: Mell-Blagojevich family of Chicago, Illinois.
  Cross-reference: Daniel Lipinski
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page — votes in Congress from the Washington Post — NNDB dossier — OurCampaigns candidate detail
  Books by Rod Blagojevich: The Governor (2009)
  Books about Rod Blagojevich: Elizabeth Brackett, Pay to Play: How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption Into a National Sideshow — Jeff Coen & John Chase, Golden: How Rod Blagojevich Talked Himself out of the Governor's Office and into Prison
  David Wildstein (b. 1961) — also known as "Wally Edge" — of Livingston, Essex County, N.J. Born in 1961. Mayor of Livingston, N.J., 1987-88; in September 2013, as a senior official of the Port Authority, which manages the George Washington Bridge, he ordered two of the three lanes from Fort Lee to be closed, resulting in major traffic congestion; the direction to close the lanes (an abuse of power which appeared to be political retaliation against Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich) came from the office of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Wildstein cooperated with federal prosecutors and pleaded guilty in 2015 to two federal charges. Still living as of 2016.
  See also Wikipedia article
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