Political scandals in the United States are major events that involve allegations of wrongdoing on the part of public officials and/or parties. The nature of scandalous events varies widely, from minor mismanagement to widespread corruption; however, they all share common factors.
In general, political scandals are defined as events that involve a government official or party (which can be either a political entity or an individual), and wrongdoing. As with most countries around the world, political scandals in the United States have become more common since the 1980s.
This is because modern technology has made it easier for people to uncover wrongdoing through online and independent media sources than ever before. In this article, we will explore some of the most notorious political scandals that have taken place in America throughout history.
The Watergate Scandal is often referred to as the “third-greatest scandal in American history” after the Teapot Dome and the Lincoln assassinations. Watergate was a series of political scandals involving the misappropriation of funds by members of the Nixon administration.
The 1972 Watergate burglary, the cover-up, and the resignation of Richard Nixon are often considered the key events leading to the scandal. During Nixon’s first presidential campaign, his aides contacted the Republican opposition to research how to sabotage the campaign of Democrat George McGovern.
Nixon’s staff and the Republican National Committee (RNC) broke into the DNC’s headquarters in the Watergate office building in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972, and installed a series of “bugging devices” in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) offices, including the office of the DNC chairperson and the office of the congressional candidate of Nixon’s opposition.
The Iran-Contra Affair took place during the Reagan administration. It was an illegal operation undertaken in the early 1980s that brought about a scandal involving the sale of arms to Iran and the use of proceeds from the sales for further arms sales to Nicaragua.
The operation was carried out without the knowledge or consent of the U.S. Congress and was an extension of the policies of the Reagan administration. The Iran-contra affair began to unfold in November 1986, when it was revealed that the National Security Council (NSC) had approved an illegal arms-for-hostages deal with Iran in November 1985, without telling Congress, the media or the public.
The NSC had been created by an executive order signed by President Reagan in October 1981, to make the White House more responsive to the needs of the executive branch. The affair came to light on November 25, 1986, when then-NSC member Elliott Abrams testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding his role in the operation. Following this testimony, the affair quickly escalated into a major political scandal.
The Abramoff scandal involved several lobbying scandals in the United States in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In this case, the scandal involved the attempted bribery of government officials with gifts and trips in exchange for political favors.
The scandal began when Jack Abramoff, a Washington-based lobbyist, was found to have engaged in bribery, fraud, and tax evasion. He pled guilty to charges related to bribery and fraud and was sentenced to six years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He had pled guilty to bribing at least five government officials, at least one of whom was a member of the U.S. Congress.
Benghazi attack scandal
The Benghazi attack scandal involved the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of several U.S. diplomats, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.
The attack was initially viewed as an act of terrorism, but Libya’s Transitional National Council later stated that it was instead a protest against a video that they believed was insulting to Islam. The Benghazi attack, like many other political scandals, initially drew attention to the actions of a single individual.
However, as more details came to light, it was revealed that the attack was an orchestrated political operation carried out by a network of individuals. They were all working together to damage the reputation of then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and to hurt her chances of running for president in 2016.
Ferguson protests and riots
The Ferguson protests drew attention to the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, an African American teenager, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The protests focused on law enforcement and racial profiling and also included criticism of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch’s decision to seek a special grand jury before presenting evidence to the regular grand jury.
These protests were also motivated by a long history of police abuse against African Americans in the St. Louis area, and the subsequent failure of authorities to properly address these complaints. The protests in Ferguson began after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an African American teenager, on August 9, 2014.
The protests lasted for almost a month, ranging from peaceful demonstrations against Brown’s death to looting and arson, and sometimes violence.
Clinton impeachment scandal
The Clinton impeachment scandal involved allegations that President Bill Clinton had committed perjury when he stated under oath that he had had no sexual intercourse with women other than his wife during his presidency.
These allegations were first raised in a civil lawsuit filed by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee who had been illegally propositioned for sex in 1991 by then-Gov. Clinton. It was later revealed that President Clinton had had several sexual encounters with other women during his presidency.