What have been the biggest political scandals in modern history?
Politics is notoriously riddled with scandals. We have brought to you 12 of the most recent and outrageous political scandals of recent history.
1. Nixon’s Watergate Scandal
Watergate took place at the time Richard Nixon was preparing for his second reelection in 1972, after completing his first period of full tenure. At that time, political tension was already on the verge of eruption because of an unending Vietnam War.
The Democratic National Committee’s Watergate office complex was infringed by President Nixon’s Re-Elect member committee. They bugged the office telephone, and transcripts of high-level documents were stolen.
When the committee’s members went to attempt to undo what they had done, they were caught red-handed, and the subsequent scandal broke out. Meanwhile, President Nixon was claiming total denial about any link, and also succeeded in his bid for re-elections.
Nixon had bugged every phone within the Oval office and had taped every single conversation. He tried desperately to keep access to those tapes restricted, but he was ultimately forced to give them up. Those tapes became the evidence of Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal. He was forced to leave the President office on August 8, 1974.
2. The Clinton Lewinsky Scandal
Monica Lewinsky was an unpaid intern at the White House, while Bill Clinton was serving his first term as President in 1995. With the passage of time, both developed a sexual relationship with one another. Both of them adamantly denied they were in any kind of relationship.
Eventually, however, Lewinsky started telling Linda Tripp about her relationship with the President, and Linda recorded those conversations. After taping them, the conversations were presented to Kenneth Starr, who had been investigating Clinton’s presidency political matters.
Despite the attempts of suppression of the scandal, it leaked eventually. The White House, Lewinsky, and Clinton were totally at a disadvantage, even though they denied any sort of physical connection between them, even under oath.
They still continued working together under the same roof, but after getting immunity for her grand jury testimony, Lewinsky admitted that she had had a physical relationship with Clinton. Congress insisted that the President had committed perjury and obstruction of justice, but somehow he managed to survive and served rest of his tenure.
3. The Edward Snowden NSA Leaks
Before the May 2013 political scandal broke out, Snowden was an average American who had been working at the NSA’s Oahu office. He was part of the information technology sector and paid particular attention to their specific programs, such as Prism.
Snowden discovered that the NSA was observing the activities of American citizens via their internet usage and phone calls. He felt there was a threat to American privacy and started collecting data and copying documents.
Before revealing the documents and data, Snowden flew to China. It didn’t take long for the United States government to throw many high-level charges at Snowden.
4. Ronald Reagan and the Iran–Contra Affair
This was a Political Scandal involving Ronald Reagan, who was the United States President during the 1980s. Reagan was being protected by many loyal associates, who went to any length to cover his involvement in an ammunition pact with Iran.
To free American hostages from Iran in 1985, Reagan’s administration sold TOW anti-tank missiles to Hezbollah. The cash was then transferred to the Nicaraguans contra fund.
Ultimately, there was no direct link found between the president and the sale, and the report claimed that Reagan had no knowledge of this event.
5. The Downing Street Memo
According to The London Times in 2002, accusations labeling Iraq as the holder of a weapon of mass destruction were completely denied, and subsequently, a political scandal made headlines. This claim had been made by President Bush’s intelligence, and this denial was termed the “Downing Street Memo”.
The reports stated that Bush was plotting false charges against Saddam Hussain to kick him out of power. It was high time for Bush to accomplish this undertaking, but beside America’s support, he was also in critical need of support from someone outside, and Bush found what he needed in Tony Blair. These documents created headlines in the UK, but in the US no one even batted an eyelid about them.
6. Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
From 1945-47, the United States political and military engagement was examined by the Department of Defense. This study was named as the Pentagon Papers.
Daniel Ellsberg was a military analyst who copied these papers, publicized them, and gave rise to a scandal. He had been personally against the war. He also gave a copy of the papers to the New York Times which later wrote an exposé based on the report.
7. John Edwards’ Affair and Baby
Many political scandals, never made it to the first page of the National Enquirer but this scandal achieved just that within a very short span of time. In 2006, Rielle Hunter, a producer who was hired to make films for Edwards presidential campaign, became more than just an employee, when Edward conceived a daughter with Rielle.
Edward was in hot water and spent a huge sum of money to try to calm the situation. At the end of the day, truth won, and Edward was charged with felony charges. In 2012, Edward was declared innocent but he accepted that he was the father of that child.
8. Marilyn Monroe and JF Kennedy
At the start of the 1960s, both John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were thought to be in love with Marilyn Monroe. But in 1961, it was John who was in deeply love with the glamorous actress.
He was married at the time, but still, they spent many weekends together and made a lot of phone calls to one another.
The rumors were silenced after Monroe’s suicide.
9. Woodrow Wilson’s Engagement
Woodrow Wilson was also not immune from political scandal. He didn’t commit the crime of having sex per se, but it was simply him getting engagement. During the spring following his first wife’s death, he met Edith Galt.
They became engaged and this was considered scandalous during the 1910’s. There were also people who believed in a conspiracy theory that Woodrow had murdered his wife.
10. The Whiskey Ring
Ulysses S. Grant’s tenure as president is thought to be the most corrupt presidency of all time. He was involved in a bribery and tax evasion scandal, between many of his cabinet fellows, and whiskey distillers. Before he could be charged or convicted, he resigned.
11. The Teapot Dome Scandal
During the administration of President Warren G. Harding, the Secretary of the Interior was Albert Fall. Fall had been granted supervision of the naval oil reserve lands. He committed the crime of releasing navy reserved petroleum on low incentives to the oil companies.
Fall eventually admitted the crime. For this reason, before the Watergate scandal, it was considered the biggest scandal in American history.
12. Abu Gharib Torture Scandal
In Iraq, human rights violations were at their peak during 2004, at the Abu Gharib Prison. Wide-ranging and visually incriminating evidence was revealed, that exposed the abuse of power.
There were various kinds of tortures utilized, including urinating on prisoners before tying the prisoner’s genitalia with a rope and then dragging him. Ultimately only 7 soldiers were prosecuted because of this power abuse.