America loves a scandal. From Duke Cunningham to Mark Foley and beyond, these are the political scandals that grabed our attention in the 21st Century.

  1. Linda Chavez, nomination as Secretary of Labor derailed by past employment of illegal alien (2001)
  2. Enron collapse (2002) leading to investigation of Kenneth Lay, a top political ally and financial donor to the election campaign of President George W. Bush; Lay, who had been named as a leading candidate for Secretary of the Treasury, eventually indicted (2004). Attempts to link individual politicians with the Enron malfeasance have not been particularly successful, perhaps partly due to the fact that so many politicians of both major parties received campaign contributions (including 158 Republicans and 100 Democrats in Congress (as of 2001) [1]).
  3. Jim Traficant (D-OH) financial corruption conviction and expulsion from House (2002)
  4. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) bribery scandal (2002)
  5. Trent Lott (R-MS) resigned as Senate majority leader amid racial controversy
  6. Bill Frist (R-TN), becomes Senate majority leader and is alleged to have been deeply involved in campaign finance improprieties. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating insider-trading issues in connection with Frist's July 2005 sale of Hospital Corporation of America shares immediately before the stock's value fell precipitously.
  7. Yellowcake forgery. Evidence alleged to be forged was presented in the case for 2003 invasion of Iraq (2003); related Valerie Plame affair (2004), eventually implicating Vice Presidential Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby (indicted 2005 for perjury)
  8. Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal (2004-2005)
  9. Tom DeLay (R-TX), reprimanded twice by House Ethics Committee and aides indicted (2004-2005); eventually DeLay himself was indicted (October 2005); Delay resigned from the House 9 June, 2006
  10. Bernard Kerik, nomination as Secretary of Homeland Security derailed by past employment of illegal alien as nanny, and amid allegations of various other ethical improprieties (2004)
  11. Former Clinton administration National Security Advisor Sandy Berger pleads guilty (2005) to unlawfully removing classified documents from the National Archives in October 2003
  12. Bush administration payment of columnists including Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus (2004-2005)
  13. Downing Street Memo minutes of U.K. government secret meeting (dated 23 July 2002, leaked 2005) include summary of MI6 Director Sir Richard Dearlove's report that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy."
  14. Duke Cunningham (R-CA) resigned from the House of Representatives and pleaded guilty on November 28, 2005 to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004. Prosecutors said Cunningham admitted to receiving at least $2.4 million in bribes.
  15. Jack Abramoff, Republican lobbyist and key figure in Tom DeLay scandal, is indicted on wire fraud charges (August 2005). Representative Robert Ney (R-OH) is named as "Representative No. 1" in the indictment of Abramoff associate Michael Scanlon. Other members of Congress associated with Abramoff include Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), Rep. Don Young (R-AK), James Clyburn (D-SC), and Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
  16. Abramoff-Reed Indian Gambling Scandal A separate grand jury investigation involving Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist
  17. William Jefferson (D-LA) under investigation for bribery after the FBI seized $90,000 of a $100,000 bribery payment from Jefferson's home freezer (August 2005)
  18. Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children and zealous champion of get-tough legislation against pedophiles, resigns from House of Representatives 29 September 2006, after reports he sent inappropriate sexually oriented e-mails and instant messages to underage male congressional pages. (Also listed under "Sex Scandals.")