List of American federal politicians convicted of crimes

This list consists of American politicians convicted of crimes either committed or prosecuted while holding office in the federal government. It includes politicians who were convicted or pleaded guilty in a court of law; and does not include politicians involved in unprosecuted scandals (which may or may not have been illegal in nature), or politicians who have only been arrested or indicted. The list also does not include crimes that occur outside the politician's tenure unless they specifically stem from acts while they were in office. It does not include convictions which were vacated (e.g. Ted Stevens (R)).

Although the convicted politicians are arranged by presidential terms in chronological order, many of the crimes have little or no connection to who is president. Since the passage of 20th Amendment on January 23, 1933, presidential terms have begun on January 20 of the year following the presidential election; prior to that, they began on March 4.

1777–1897Edit

  • Robert Smalls (R-SC) U.S. Representative from South Carolina was charged with accepting a $5,000 bribe during 1877 in relation to a government printing contract and found guilty.[8] Smalls was pardoned in 1879 by South Carolina Governor William Simpson.[8]

1901–1909 (Theodore Roosevelt (R) presidency)Edit

Legislative branchEdit

1909–1913 (William Howard Taft (R) presidency)Edit

Legislative branchEdit

  • William Lorimer Senator (R-IL), The 'blond boss of Chicago' was found guilty of accepting bribes in 1912.[13]

Judicial branchEdit

1921–1923 (Warren G. Harding (R) presidency)Edit

Executive branchEdit

1923–1929 (Calvin Coolidge (R) presidency)Edit

Executive branchEdit

Legislative branchEdit

  • John W. Langley (R-KY) convicted of violating the Volstead Act (Prohibition). He had also been caught trying to bribe a Prohibition officer. He was sentenced to two years, after which his wife Katherine G. Langley ran for Congress in his place and won two full terms (1926).[17][18]

1929–1933 (Herbert Hoover (R) presidency)Edit

Legislative branchEdit

  • Harry E. Rowbottom (R-IN) was convicted in Federal court of accepting bribes from persons who sought post office appointments. He served one year in Leavenworth (1931).[19]

1933–1945 (Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) presidency)Edit

Legislative branchEdit

  • Donald F. Snow (R-ME) was convicted of bribery. (1935) [24]
  • John H. Hoeppel (D-CA) convicted of selling an appointment to the West Point Military Academy. He was fined $1,000 and sentenced to 4–12 months in jail (1936).[25]

1945–1953 (Harry S. Truman (D) presidency)Edit

Legislative branchEdit

  • James M. Curley (D-MA) fined $1,000 and served six months for fraud before Harry S. Truman commuted the rest of his sentence (1947).[26]
  • Andrew J. May (D-KY) convicted of accepting bribes from a war munitions manufacturer. Was sentenced to 9 months in prison, after which he was pardoned by Truman (1947).[27]
  • J. Parnell Thomas (R-NJ) was convicted of salary fraud and given an 18-month sentence and a fine. He was imprisoned in Danbury Prison. After serving his 18 months he was pardoned by Truman (1950).[28]
  • Walter E. Brehm (R-OH) convicted of accepting contributions illegally from one of his employees. Received a 15-month suspended sentence and a $5,000 fine (1951).[29]

1953–1961 (Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) presidency)Edit

Legislative branchEdit

  • Ernest K. Bramblett (R-CA) received a suspended sentence and a $5,000 fine for making false statements in connection with payroll padding and kickbacks from congressional employees (1954).[31]
  • Thomas J. Lane (D-MA) convicted for evading taxes on his congressional income. Served 4 months in prison, but was re-elected three more times[32] (1956).[33]

1961–1963 (John F. Kennedy (D) presidency)Edit

Legislative branchEdit

  • Thomas F. Johnson (D-MD) was convicted of conspiracy and conflict of interest regarding the receipt of illegal gratuities (1962).[34]

1963–1969 (Lyndon B. Johnson (D) presidency)Edit

Legislative branchEdit

  • Frank W. Boykin (D-AL) was convicted of conspiracy and conflict of interest (1963).[35]
  • Daniel Brewster (D-MD) pleaded no contest to accepting "an unlawful gratuity without corrupt intent." (1969)[36]

Judicial branchEdit

1969–1974 (Richard M. Nixon (R) presidency)Edit

Executive branchEdit

Legislative branchEdit

  • Ted Kennedy Senator (D-MA) drove his car into the channel between Chappaquiddick Island and Martha's Vineyard, killing passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a suspended sentence of two months (1969)[42]
  • Martin B. McKneally (R-NY) placed on one year's probation and fined $5,000 for failing to file income tax return. He had not paid taxes for many years prior (1971).[43]
  • J. Irving Whalley (R-PA) received suspended three-year sentence and fined $11,000 in 1973 for using mails to deposit staff salary kickbacks and threatening an employee to prevent her from giving information to the FBI (1973).[45]
  • Edwin Reinecke (R-CA) convicted of perjury and sentenced to 18 months in prison as part of the Watergate investigation (1973).
  • James Fred Hastings (R-NY) convicted of receiving kickbacks and mail fraud. He served 14 months at Allenwood penitentiary (1976).[46]

1974–1977 (Gerald R. Ford (R) presidency)Edit

Executive branchEdit

  • Earl Butz (R) United States Secretary of Agriculture. He was charged with failing to report more than $148,000 in 1978. Butz pleaded guilty to the tax evasion charge and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and five years of probation and was ordered to make restitution. He served 25 days behind bars before his release.[47][48]

Legislative branchEdit

  • John V. Dowdy (D-TX), convicted of perjury and served 6 months in prison (1973).[49][50]
  • Richard T. Hanna (D-CA), convicted in an influence-buying scandal (1974).[51]
  • Frank Brasco (D-NY) sentenced to 5 years in jail and fined $10,000 for conspiracy to accept bribes from a reputed Mafia figure who sought truck leasing contracts from the Post Office and loans to buy trucks (1974).[45]
  • Bertram Podell (D-NY), pleaded guilty to conspiracy and conflict of interest. He was fined $5,000 and served four months in prison (1974).[52]
  • James F. Hastings (R-NY), convicted of kickbacks and mail fraud, he also took money from his employees for personal use. Served 14 months at Allenwood penitentiary (1976).[46]

1977–1981 (Jimmy Carter (D) presidency)Edit

Legislative branchEdit

  • Richard Tonry (D-LA) pleaded guilty to receiving illegal campaign contributions (1977).[55]
  • Charles Diggs (D-MI), convicted on 29 charges of mail fraud and filing false payroll forms which formed a kickback scheme with his staff. Sentenced to 3 years (1978).[56]
  • J. Herbert Burke (R-FL) pleaded guilty to disorderly intoxication, resisting arrest, and nolo contendere to an additional charge of witness tampering. He was sentenced to three months plus fines (1978).[57]
  • Frank M. Clark (D-PA) pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion and was sentenced to two years in prison (1979).[58]

Judicial branchEdit

1981–1989 (Ronald Reagan (R) presidency)Edit

Executive branchEdit

Legislative branchEdit

  • Abscam FBI sting involving fake 'Arabs' trying to bribe 31 congressmen (1980).[74] The following Congressmen were convicted:
    1. Harrison A. Williams Senator (D-NJ) Convicted on 9 counts of bribery and conspiracy. Sentenced to 3 years in prison.[75]
    2. John Jenrette (D-SC) sentenced to two years in prison for bribery and conspiracy.[76]
    3. Richard Kelly (R-FL) Accepted $25K and then claimed he was conducting his own investigation into corruption. Served 13 months.[77]
    4. Raymond Lederer (D-PA) "I can give you me" he said after accepting $50K. Sentenced to 3 years.[78]
    5. Michael Myers (D-PA) Accepted $50K saying, "...money talks and bullshit walks." Sentenced to 3 years and was expelled from the House.[79]
    6. Frank Thompson (D-NJ) Sentenced to 3 years.[80]
    7. John M. Murphy (D-NY) Served 20 months of a 3-year sentence.[81]
  • Jon Hinson (R-MS) was arrested for having homosexual oral sex in the House of Representatives' bathroom with a government staffer. Hinson, who was married, later received a 30-day jail sentence, and a year's probation, on condition that he get counseling and treatment (1981).[82][83]
  • Joshua Eilberg (D-PA) pleaded guilty to conflict-of-interest charges (1981).[45]
  • Dan Flood (D-PA) censured for bribery. After a trial ended in a deadlocked jury, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year's probation (1981).[84][85]
  • Frederick W. Richmond (D-NY), Convicted of tax fraud and possession of marijuana. Served 9 months in prison (1982).[86]
  • George V. Hansen (R-ID) censured for failing to fill in disclosure forms. Spent 15 months in prison (1984).[87]
  • Wedtech scandal Wedtech Corporation was convicted of bribery in connection with Defense Department contracts.[88]
    1. Mario Biaggi (D-NY) Convicted of obstruction of justice and accepting illegal gratuities he was sentenced to 2½ years in prison and fined $500K (1987).[89]
    2. Robert Garcia (D-NY) sentenced to 2½ years.[90]
  • Pat Swindall (R-GA) convicted of 6 counts of perjury (1989).[91][92]

Judicial branchEdit

  • Harry Claiborne (D), Federal District court Judge was tried and convicted of federal tax evasion; he served over one year in prison (1983). He was later impeached by the House, convicted by the Senate and removed from office (1986).[93]

1989–1993 (George H. W. Bush (R) presidency)Edit

Executive branchEdit

Legislative branchEdit

  • David Durenberger Senator (R-MN) denounced by Senate for unethical financial transactions and then disbarred (1990). He pleaded guilty to misuse of public funds and given one year's probation (1995)[95]
  • Jay Kim (R-CA) accepted $250,000 in illegal 1992 campaign contributions and was sentenced to two months' house arrest (1992).[96][97][98][99]
  • Nicholas Mavroules (D-MA) was convicted of extortion, accepting illegal gifts and failing to report them on congressional disclosure and income tax forms. Mavroules pleaded guilty to fifteen counts in April 1993 and was sentenced to a fifteen-month prison term (1993).[100][101]
  • Albert Bustamante (D-TX) was convicted of accepting bribes and sentenced to three-and-one-half years in prison (1993).[102]

Judicial branchEdit

1993–2001 (Bill Clinton (D) presidency)Edit

Executive branchEdit

  • Darleen A. Druyun (D), Principal Deputy United States Under Secretary of the Air Force.[108] She pleaded guilty to inflating the price of contracts to favor her future employer, Boeing. In October 2004, she was sentenced to nine months in jail for corruption, fined $5,000, given three years of supervised release and 150 hours of community service (2005).[109] CBS News called it "the biggest Pentagon scandal in 20 years" and said that she pleaded guilty to a felony.[110]

Legislative branchEdit

  • House banking scandal[115] The House of Representatives Bank found that 450 members had overdrawn their checking accounts, but not been penalized. Six were convicted of charges, most only tangentially related to the House Bank itself. Twenty two more of the most prolific over-drafters were singled out by the House Ethics Committee (1992).
    1. Carroll Hubbard (D-KY) was convicted of illegally funneling money to his wife's 1992 campaign to succeed him in Congress.[116]
    2. Carl C. Perkins (D-KY) pleaded guilty to a check kiting scheme involving several financial institutions (including the House Bank).[117]
    3. Walter Fauntroy (D-District of Columbia) was convicted of filing false disclosure forms to hide unauthorized income.[118]
    4. Buz Lukens (R-OH) convicted of bribery and conspiracy.[119]
    5. Mary Rose Oakar (D-OH) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor campaign finance charge not related to the House Bank.[120]
  • Congressional Post Office scandal (1991–1995) was a conspiracy to embezzle House Post Office money through stamps and postal vouchers to congressmen.[121]
    1. Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL) was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison, in 1995.[122]
    2. Joe Kolter (D-PA) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and sentenced to 6 months in prison (1996).[123][124]
  • Wes Cooley (R-OR), was convicted of having lied on the 1994 voter information pamphlet about his service in the Army. He was fined and sentenced to two years' probation (1997)[125] He was later convicted of income tax fraud connected to an investment scheme. He was sentenced to one year in prison and to pay restitution of $3.5 million to investors and $138,000 to the IRS.[126]
  • Austin Murphy (D-PA) was convicted of one count of voter fraud for filling out absentee ballots for members of a nursing home (1999).[127]
  • Mel Reynolds (D-IL) was convicted on 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography (1997). He was later convicted of 12 counts of bank fraud (1999).

Judicial branchEdit

2001–2009 (George W. Bush (R) presidency)Edit

Executive branchEdit

Legislative branchEdit

  • Jim Traficant (D-OH) was found guilty on ten felony counts of financial corruption, sentenced to eight years in prison and expelled from the House of Representatives (2002).[144]
  • Bill Janklow (R-SD) was convicted of second-degree manslaughter for running a stop sign and killing a motorcyclist. Resigned from the House and given 100 days in the county jail and three years' probation (2003).[145]
  • Frank Ballance (D-NC) admitted to federal charges of money laundering and mail fraud in October 2005 and was sentenced to four years in prison (2005).[146]
  • Duke Cunningham (R-CA) pleaded guilty November 28, 2005, to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion in what came to be called the Cunningham scandal and was sentenced to over eight years in prison (2005).[147]
  • Bob Ney (R-OH) pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements as a result of his receiving trips from Jack Abramoff in exchange for legislative favors in the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal. Ney received 30 months in prison (2007).[148]
  • Larry Craig (R-ID) was arrested for lewd conduct in a men's restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on June 11, 2007, and entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct on August 8, 2007.
  • William J. Jefferson (D-LA) was charged in August 2005 after the FBI seized $90,000 in cash from his home freezer. He was re-elected to the House in 2006, but lost in 2008. He was convicted November 13, 2009, of 11 counts of bribery and sentenced to 13 years in prison (2009).[149] Jefferson's Chief of Staff Brett Pfeffer, was sentenced to 84 months for bribery (2006).[150]

2009–2017 (Barack Obama (D) presidency)Edit

Executive branchEdit

Legislative branchEdit

  • Laura Richardson (D-CA) was found guilty on seven counts of violating US House rules by improperly using her staff to campaign for her, destroying the evidence and tampering with witness testimony. The House Ethics Committee ordered Richardson to pay a fine of $10,000 (2012).[154][155]
  • Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) pleaded guilty February 20, 2013, to one count of wire and mail fraud in connection with his misuse of $750,000 in campaign funds. Jackson was sentenced to two-and-one-half years' imprisonment (2013).[156]
  • Rick Renzi (R-AZ) was found guilty on 17 of 32 counts against him June 12, 2013, including wire fraud, conspiracy, extortion, racketeering, money laundering and making false statements to insurance regulators (2013).[157]
  • Trey Radel (R-FL) was convicted of possession of cocaine in November 2013. As a first-time offender, he was sentenced to one year probation and fined $250. Radel announced he would take a leave of absence, but did not resign. Later, under pressure from a number of Republican leaders, he announced through a spokesperson that he would resign (2013).[158][159][160]
  • Michael Grimm (R-NY) pleaded guilty of felony tax evasion. This was the fourth count in a 20-count indictment brought against him for improper use of campaign funds. The guilty plea had a maximum sentence of three years; he was sentenced to eight months in prison (2015).[161][162]
  • Chaka Fattah (D-PA) was convicted on 23 counts of racketeering, fraud, and other corruption charges (2016).[164]
  • Corrine Brown (D-FL) was convicted on 18 felony counts of wire and tax fraud, conspiracy, lying to federal investigators, and other corruption charges (2017).[165][166]
  • Anthony Weiner (D-NY)[167] was convicted of sending sexually explicit photos of himself to a 15-year-old girl and was made to sign the sexual offenders register. He also was sentenced to 21 months in prison, a charge that was later reduced to 18 months. He reported to prison in November 2017 and was released in May 2019 (2017).[168]

Judicial branchEdit

2017–present (Donald Trump (R) presidency)Edit

Executive branchEdit

Legislative branchEdit

JudgesEdit

  • Alcee Hastings (D), Federal District court judge impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate of soliciting a bribe (1989).[107] Subsequently, elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1992).
  • Jack Camp (R), Senior Federal U.S. District Court Judge was arrested in an undercover drug bust while trying to purchase cocaine from an FBI agent. Judge Jack T. Camp resigned his position after pleading guilty to three criminal charges. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 400 community service hours and fined (2010).[173][174][175]

See alsoEdit

Federal politicians

State and local politics

NotesEdit

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