There’s not one human on this Earth that can say they’re not guilty of a little scandalous behavior at some point in their lives. We have all had times where we haven’t been the most honest person, or the most loyal. It’s sort of a downfall of being a human. But what about the Presidents of the United States? Well, as most of you know, they definitely have had their fair share of scandals, as well. Here’s a list of the leaders and their dirty deeds.
There seems to be a second-term curse that’s plaguing the presidents of the United States. On more than one occasion presidents have been less than successful in their second term of presidency. James A. Garfield, the 20th president, has proven that this curse is false. It only took him approximately four months in office to get caught up in a scandal. In today’s society, the accusations involving the 22nd (and 24th) President Grover Cleveland, could land him in jail, or at least on a talk show declaring him, “Not the father!” Of all these presidents listed, only eight occurred during the second term of presidency, if you’re into curses that is! So, get comfortable, and take a look at our compilation of American presidents and the scandals that rocked America.
On December 19, 1998, President Clinton was publicly indicted for the crime of lying under oath about the “sexual relations” with his intern Monica Lewinsky. This ruling put him in the same bracket as President Andrew Johnson, who had the proud honor of being the first president to be impeached. Eventually, both presidents were acquitted by the Senate. Former Arkansas state employee, Paula Jones, also filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton. Clinton was able to settle out of court and paid Jones a settlement of $850,000. His law license in Arkansas was also suspended for five years. In 2001, Clinton was completely disbarred from practicing law by the Supreme Court. He and his wife, Hillary, were investigated by attorney Kenneth Starr, about the legitimacy of their Whitewater real estate ventures. This investigation was the catalyst for his impeachment.
Apparently, this scandal started as a mission to free U.S. hostages from Hezbollah, Islamist militants with Iranian ties. In order to financially back the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, who were supported by the Cuban government, the CIA and National Security Council planned to sell arms to Iran in secret. Of course, President Reagan denied all of this, but he later took it all back. It certainly doesn’t look good when the CIA is spoken of in the same sentence as money made from smuggling cocaine, financing the Contras, and being responsible for the crack cocaine epidemic that’s plaguing Americans.
Nixon was responsible for having men burglarize the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. Some of his henchmen were caught, and seven aides were indicted. But because Nixon resigned, he didn’t face any criminal charges.
In 1967, a fake construction business, Crédit Mobilier, was created by Union Pacific stockholders, Oakes Ames and Thomas C. Durant. The two men were supposed to be finishing up the transcontinental railway, but instead they spent millions of dollars that belonged to shareholders and the federal government. Grant’s brother was also in secret ties with elitists on Wall Street, Jim Fisk and Jay Gould. They made attempts to scam the U.S. gold market, which ultimately caused its crash on September 24, 1869. Grant also tried to hide that his secretary, Orville E. Babcock, was one of the many distillers that attempted to avoid taxes placed on liquor after the Civil War by bribing officials.
While Grover Cleveland’s opponents were chanting, “Ma ma, where’s my pa, gone to the White House, ha ha ha,” he actually admitted that Maria Halpin’s son, Oscar, might actually be his own flesh and blood. What most people don’t realize, is that Halpin claimed that she never consented to have sex with Grover Cleveland and he “used force and violence.”
In 2015, genetic tests proved that President Harding fathered Nan Britton’s child, even though she was once referred to as a money-hungry degenerate. As do most presidents, Harding composed his cabinet of life-long friends of his. In fact, his Secretary of the Interior was his poker partner, Albert Fall. Fall was accused of allowing oil drillers to dig near Teapot Dome, a teapot-shaped rock, even though they were protected reserves in California and Wyoming.
Garfield’s administration was under investigation for supposedly selling postal contracts to private wagons in exchange for money. These “star” routes, named after the three stars that used to be on route registers, were in high demand because scamming brokers, contractors, and other parties involved could make fake routes, make high or low bids, and without having to actually ever deliver the mail, split the profits and illegally increase the mail rates. This was done for an unbelievable 30 years and cost the U.S. Treasury a whopping $6 million!
Pictured above is President Jimmy Carter with his initial budget director Bert Lance in 1977. Lance resigned from his position after he was pressured by the senate over accusations of conspiracy, misuse of bank funds, and using a company plane to watch football games at the University of Georgia!
After accusations of accepting a luxurious fur coat and an oriental rug, Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff stepped down in 1958. After that, the Vice President Nixon was blamed for stealing $18,000 from supporters of Eisenhower.
President Ford was guilty of allowing Nixon to receive no punishment for organizing the break-in at The Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. Ford continuously claimed that he received absolutely nothing in return for pardoning Nixon.
When it comes to politicians it’s not uncommon to hear the words bribery, fraud, and selling public land privately in order to flip a profit. In this particular case, President McKinley put Oregon U.S. Federal District Attorney, John Hall, in charge of investigating these claims. When Hall found out that the claims were true he blackmailed all of the dishonest land owners. Later down the road, he was convicted for not prosecuting them, but like in most cases of scandal, he was pardoned.
Thanks to this decision, Dred Scott, who was born into slavery but lived in free territories, was not allowed to sue his owner, John Sanford, for his freedom. This is because during this time African descendants weren’t considered citizens. President Buchanan twisted the arms of Supreme Court Justices and got this declaration passed. Most people thought it contradicted the Missouri Compromise and it was the catalyst that sparked the Civil War.
Truman, along with his administration, were under investigation by the Senate and House. Due to bribe allegations, over 150 employees of the Internal Revenue Bureau (the IRS) resigned, got fired or were brought up on charges. White House officials were also found guilty of quid quo pro corruption for accepting deep freezers and fur coats.
Like the civilization of Roanoke, approximately 20 million emails disappeared from the Republican National Committee web servers during the administration of Bush. While all of this was going on, nine high-ranking attorneys were fired. During President Obama’s first term as president, the emails suddenly appeared, but not publicly. Apparently, they were “mislabeled.”
In 2013, when all of the controversy about the secret service listening in on American’s phone records was going on, Obama responded, “…Nobody is listening to your telephone calls.” The President later defended this collecting of personal information, claiming it was a safety precaution for U.S. citizens.
When President Johnson became president after Lincoln’s assassination he attempted to implement Lincoln’s Reconstruction Plan in a laissez-faire manner. Johnson chose to ignore the civil rights of blacks and pardoned ex-Confederates. Doing so didn’t make the people happy, including the Republican party and the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton. Stanton was eventually fired by Johnson for being outspoken about his beliefs. This act actually violated the Tenure of Office Act and led to the impeachment of Johnson.
Andrew Jackson was a slave owner, the man responsible for the Indian Removal Act, and the face that currently holds space on the $20 bill. When he was president, he supported the marriage of his Secretary of War, John Eaton, to Margaret Timberlake, and in doing so, he lost the majority of his cabinet! Cabinet members, and their wives, didn’t approve of Margaret Timberlake. They thought that Margaret was improper for not mourning her husband, who died at sea, for an appropriate amount of time. Some people actually believe that Margaret’s husband, after hearing of her affair, committed suicide.
John Adams passed the Seditions Act, which basically made speaking out against the government illegal (what happened to the First Amendment?) and advocated for deportation. Which makes it pretty ironic that Federalist co-founder, and immigrant, Alexander Hamilton supported this controversial act. Matthew Lyon, a Republican congressman, was the first violator of the Seditions Act.
President Thomas Jefferson served his first term in the early 1800s, and ever since there have been reports of him being the father to at least six of Sally Hemings’ children. Sally just so happened to be his slave! DNA evidence, studied in 1998, suggests that these reports are most likely true. Today, there is a lot of controversy surround Hemings and Jefferson. People believe their relationship has been romanticized, and Jefferson actually repeatedly raped a child he owned.
When former Secretary to Majority Leader, Bobby Baker, started the vending machine business, Serv-U Corp., he was mixing business with pleasure. It seemed harmless, but it was everything but. Baker arranged to have sexual favors as a payoff and received a sketchy $3.5 million paycheck. He was investigated by the Senate on accusations of bribery and allegedly having ties to the mob. After JFK was assassinated, people stopped talking about Baker, but he was brought back up in 1964 when they almost cost LBJ his election!
In 1919, the U.S. Navy began a mission of eliminating gay sailors in order to keep men and boys from committing acts of “immoral behavior.” At the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and alongside President Wilson, was responsible for this mission. Fifteen men were brought up on charges of engaging in criminal same-sex acts. They were convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Luckily, their sentence was reduced to five-years and three months. Those that weren’t arrested were dishonorably discharged and deemed as outcasts.
Gifford Pinchot, White House environmentalist, with the support of attorney Louis Glavis, constantly accused President William Taft, and his Secretary of Interior, Richard Ballinger, of selling coal mines in Alaska to private buyers. In response, Taft fired Pinchot! Taft’s predecessor, President Roosevelt, was known as “The Father of Conservation,” so there’s a lot of controversy surrounding the firing of Pinchot. The fact that Taft appointed Ballinger, a lawyer who openly declared Teddy, was a complete letdown, considering Ballinger had a lot of political muscle trying to keep public land preserved.