25 Biggest Political Scandals in History

Posted by on March 7, 2013

Politics, as many people know, can be quite a dirty business. Because of the many perks that are included with public service, such as fame, power, money, and honor, there are certain politicians that cannot control themselves and give in to the temptations of corruption and greed. Some of the more common scandals that are mentioned in the news have to do with extramarital affairs, excessive use of funds, improper utilization of taxes, and more. But of the many crimes that have been seen in the field of politics, these are the 25 biggest political scandals in history that truly stand out.


Teapot Dome Scandal

During US President Warren Harding’s time in office back in 1922 Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall accepted a bribe of over $404,000 from Mammoth Oil and Pan America Petroleum to to get the leasing rights to the oil reserves at Teapot Dome in Wyoming. Unfortunately for Fall, the press caught wind and he was exposed. Prior to Watergate this was considered “greatest and most sensational scandal in the history of American politics”.


The Profumo Affair

The Profumo Affair was a 1963 British political scandal named after John Profumo, Secretary of State for War. His affair with Christine Keeler, the reputed mistress of an alleged Soviet spy, followed by his lying in the House of Commons when he was questioned about it, forced the resignation of Profumo and damaged the reputation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s government. Macmillan himself resigned a few months later because of ill health.


The Chappaquiddick Incident

In the Chappaquiddick incident on July 18, 1969, Mary Jo Kopechne, a female passenger of U.S. Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy, was killed when he accidentally drove his car off a bridge and into a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. Kennedy swam free and left the scene, not reporting within nine hours, but Kopechne died in the vehicle. In the early hours of July 19, Kopechne’s body and the car were recovered. Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury and received a two-month suspended jail sentence. The incident became a national scandal, and may have influenced Kennedy’s decision not to campaign for President of the United States in 1972 and 1976.


Robert Packwood

Oregon politician Robert Packwood’s political career began to unravel in November 1992, when a Washington Post story detailed the claims of sexual abuse and assault by ten women, chiefly former staffers and lobbyists. Packwood initially denied the claims but after portions of his diary were subpoenaed he ended up resigning rather than facing the fire.


The Wilbur Mills Scandal

Wilbur Mills was a popular US congressman but things fell apart for him after getting a DUI right after engaging in a scuffle with Argentinean stripper, Fanne Fox. To make things even more comical, when he was pulled over she was actually with him in the car. Before the police officer could even say a word, however, she jumped out the back and dove into a drainage ditch after which she was taken to a mental hospital and left Wilbur with some serious explaining to do.