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

Politicians in Trouble or Disgrace
Very incomplete!

Originally this section was a single page titled "Politicians who Died in Disgrace", but it became difficult to define that. Did Richard Nixon die in disgrace, when the President and other leaders praised him at his funeral? So I broadened the scope to "trouble and disgrace," and to include still-living figures.

In general, to qualify for listing here, mere rumor of lawbreaking is not enough. What's required is a public scandal, or some kind of formal action, such as censure, disbarment, impeachment, recall or expulsion from office, including resignation under fire; or some kind of brush with the criminal justice system, including arrest, indictment, conviction, or imprisonment. In a few cases uncontested evidence of wrongdoing emerged after death.

Note that not all of these people deserved the trouble they were in; sometimes charges were brought for purely political reasons, or they were prosecuted for simply acting on their principles. Robert Morris, signer of the Declaration of Independence, ended up in debtor's prison because he went broke financing the American Revolution, for example, and George Crockett was jailed for doing what most lawyers would consider his ordinary job defending an unpopular client. Some were found not guilty or otherwise exonerated. Many other cases are not so clear; I just list them here and let history decide.

For your convenience, the list is provided alphabatically, chronologically, in offense categories, and state-by-state. Note that the same individual may appear in more than one offense category, state, or decade.

By Category of Offense:

  • Bribery: offering or accepting gratuities to influence policy (191)
  • Sex: sex and marriage crimes and scandals (90)
  • Sedition: treason, disloyalty, rebellion (except U.S. Civil War) (78)
  • Embezzlement: misappropriating entrusted funds or assets (72)
  • Murder and mayhem: also attempted murder, manslaughter (71)
  • Civil War: slavery, disloyalty to North or South, and Reconstruction (66)
  • Protests and demonstrations: anti-war, civil rights, picketing, strikes, draft resistance (66)
  • Misfeasance: malfeasance, misconduct, neglect of duty or responsibility (55)
  • Tax evasion: failing to pay what is owed to the government (47)
  • Perjury: and subornation of perjury (46)
  • Fraud: cheating through deception (40)
  • Extortion and Intimidation: blackmail, threats, intimidation (37)
  • Intoxication: drunkenness and drug-induced bad behavior (36)
  • Obstruction of justice: interfering in the judicial process (35)
  • Flight/escape: escape from incarceration or flight to avoid prosecution (34)
  • Contempt: contempt of court or of Congress; probation and parole violations (33)
  • Automobiles: traffic and driving offenses (32)
  • Campaign finance: falsifying, concealing, or misappropriating campaign money (29)
  • Assault and battery: usually involving fists (28)
  • Protecting vice: tolerating or profiting from gambling or prostitution (25)
  • Diplomatic offenses: persona non grata; violation of neutrality (23)
  • Hatred: trouble caused by racial, ethnic, or religious bigotry (23)
  • Military: offenses specific to military service (22)
  • Bank fraud: unjustly obtaining money from or through a bank (21)
  • Organized crime: involvement with gangsters or the Mafia (19)
  • Kickbacks: payment back of a portion of price or wages to the decionmaker (17)
  • Theft and Robbery: stealing the property of another (17)
  • Disclosure requirements: legally required revelation of financial data (16)
  • Conflict of interest: decisonmaking clouded by undisclosed stakeholding (16)
  • Vote fraud: and other election offenses (14)
  • Forgery: and counterfeiting (14)
  • Obscenity: profane language, indecent publications (13)
  • Abuse of authority: improper use of power (13)
  • Lobbyists: offenses involving lobbyists (13)
  • Alcohol: alcohol offenses except intoxication (11)
  • Illegal drugs: possession or trafficking in illegal substances (11)
  • Nepotism: hiring or appointing relatives (11)
  • Gambling: illegal gaming for money (10)
  • Libel or slander: as criminal offense or scandal (8)
  • Weapons: offenses involving firearms regulations (8)
  • Money laundering: illegal manipulation to turn dirty money "clean" (8)
  • Revealing secrets: breaches of confidentiality (7)
  • Debt: imprisoned for debt (7)
  • Government for sale: selling public services, decisions, licenses, or assets (7)
  • Smuggling and Immigration offenses: illegal border-crossing (7)
  • Arson: setting fires (5)
  • Attire: offenses and scandals involving clothing (5)
  • Burglary: breaking in to steal things (4)
  • Environmental: polluting or despoiling contrary to law (3)
  • Spying: spying and espionage (3)
  • Usury: charging illegally high interest rates on loans (1)
  • Plagiarism: passing off another's work as one's own (1)
  • All other crimes: not elsewhere classified (106)
  • Chronological by Decade:

    1799 and earlier (19) 1800 to 1849 (48) 1850 to 1859 (15) 1860 to 1869 (85) 1870 to 1879 (23) 1880 to 1889 (25) 1890 to 1899 (25) 1900 to 1909 (56) 1910 to 1919 (70) 1920 to 1929 (66) 1930 to 1939 (72) 1940 to 1949 (87) 1950 to 1959 (55) 1960 to 1969 (39) 1970 to 1979 (84) 1980 to 1989 (108) 1990 to 1999 (75) 2000 and later (142)

    By State or Outlying Area:

    National (396) Alabama (13) Alaska (9) Arizona (6) Arkansas (20) California (65) Colorado (7) Connecticut (22) Delaware (2) Florida (21) Georgia (14) Hawaii (2) Idaho (5) Illinois (47) Indiana (11) Iowa (5) Kansas (14) Kentucky (37) Louisiana (17) Maine (1) Maryland (23) Massachusetts (19) Michigan (89) Minnesota (18) Mississippi (13) Missouri (20) Montana (5) Nebraska (5) Nevada (2) New Hampshire (7) New Jersey (60) New Mexico (2) New York (189) North Carolina (14) North Dakota (1) Ohio (31) Oklahoma (7) Oregon (7) Pennsylvania (34) Rhode Island (4) South Carolina (17) South Dakota (6) Tennessee (14) Texas (30) Utah (11) Vermont (2) Virginia (24) Washington (11) West Virginia (10) Wisconsin (4) American Samoa (4) District of Columbia (31) Guam (2) Northern Mariana ISL (1) Puerto Rico (1) Virgin Islands (2) Outside U.S. (51)

    Alphabetical order:

    A (52) B (115) C (75) D (57) E (17) F (43) G (38) H (74) I (7) J (24) K (34) L (43) M (103) N (15) O (12) P (41) Q (1) R (40) S (108) T (37) U (3) V (11) W (59) Y (4) Z (2)
    "Enjoy the hospitable entertainment of a political graveyard."
    Henry L. Clinton, Apollo Hall, New York City, February 3, 1872
    The Political Graveyard

    The Political Graveyard is a web site about U.S. political history and cemeteries. Founded in 1996, it is the Internet's most comprehensive free source for American political biography, listing 312,576 politicians, living and dead.
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    Copyright notices: (1) Facts are not subject to copyright; see Feist v. Rural Telephone. (2) Politician portraits displayed on this site are 70-pixel-wide monochrome thumbnail images, which I believe to constitute fair use under applicable copyright law. Where possible, each image is linked to its online source. However, requests from owners of copyrighted images to delete them from this site are honored. (3) Original material, programming, selection and arrangement are © 1996-2019 Lawrence Kestenbaum. (4) This work is also licensed for free non-commercial re-use, with attribution, under a Creative Commons License.
    Site information: The Political Graveyard is created and maintained by Lawrence Kestenbaum, who is solely responsible for its structure and content. — The mailing address is The Political Graveyard, P.O. Box 2563, Ann Arbor MI 48106. — This site is hosted by HDL. — The Political Graveyard opened on July 1, 1996; the last full revision was done on March 10, 2021.

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