Ancient & Modern History of Scandals

Bill Federer

Scandals in politics have been motivated by personal gain, greed, love of power, lust, or simply a conviction that one's political agenda is so good it justifies bending the law.

Machiavelli recorded the notorious tactics of Cesare Borgia and the Medici family of Florence. His observations, written in The Prince (1513), have been summarized in the line: "the ends justifies the means."

In 1798, Yale President Timothy Dwight used this term to describe the anarchist Jacobins during the French Revolution:

"Adultery, assassination, poisoning, and other crimes of the like infernal nature, were taught as lawful ... provided the end was good."

Saul Alinsky advocated this in his nefarious Rules for Radicals (1971):

"The end justifies almost any means."

One of the earliest records of this attitude was in 250 BC.

India's Mauryan Empire became the largest empire in the world, under King Chandragupta Maurya.

The King was advised by Prime Minister Chanakya, also called “Kautilya,” who is described as "India’s Machiavelli."

Chanakya wrote Arthashastra, which gives shrewd, brutal instructions on deceit, assassination, and statecraft to accumulate power.

Chanakya counseled the King to use spies to create crises of rivalry, where subjects would fight among themselves, allowing him an excuse to consolidate control.

Max Weber wrote in Politics as a Vocation (1919):

“Compared to Chanakya’s Arthashastra, Machiavelli’s The Prince is harmless.”

Roger Boesche, who wrote "Kautilya’s Arthashastra on War and Diplomacy in Ancient India” (The Journal of Military History, 2003), described its harsh political pragmatism:

"Is there any other book that talks so openly about when using violence is justified? When assassinating an enemy is useful? When killing domestic opponents is wise?

How one uses secret agents? When one needs to sacrifice one’s own secret agent? How the king can use women and children as spies and even assassins? When a nation should violate a treaty and invade its neighbor?

Kautilya ... addresses all those questions ..."

Weber continued:

"In what cases must a king spy on his own people? How should a king test his ministers, even his own family members, to see if they are worthy of trust?

When must a king kill a prince, his own son, who is heir to the throne? How does one protect a king from poison?

What precautions must a king take against assassination by one’s own wife? When is it appropriate to arrest a troublemaker on suspicion alone? When is torture justified?

At some point, every reader wonders: Is there not one question that Kautilya found immoral, too terrible to ask in a book?

No, not one ... And this is what brings a frightful chill."

The Bible condemns such behavior. Proverbs, chapter 1, states:

"My son, if sinners entice you, do not yield to them.

If they say, 'Come along, let us lie in wait for blood, let us ambush the innocent without cause ... We will find all manner of precious goods; we will fill our houses with plunder. Throw in your lot with us; let us all share one purse'—

My son, do not walk the road with them or set foot upon their path. For their feet run to evil,and they are swift to shed blood ... They lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush their own lives."

Apostle Paul also wrote in Romans, chapter 6:

"Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid...

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin ... For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

As long as humans interact, the fallen nature of the human heart will manifest on the political stage.

Below is a list of notable Republican and Democrat political scandals in American history:


After the Civil War, the United States secretly supplied "decommissioned" guns to Mexican gangs to cause domestic violence and insurrection in order to oust French-backed Maximillian I.

This was seen as maintaining the Monroe Doctrine, that European countries should not a political presence in the Western Hemisphere.

With American support, Benito Juárez captured Maximillian and had him shot, June 19, 1867.


President Andrew Johnson refused to protect the right of freed slave to vote.

As a result, the Republican Congress voted to impeach him.


President Grant's Vice-President and several Congressmen received shares of stock in the Crédit Mobilier construction company, which was building the Union Pacific Railroad.

In exchange, the politicians allowed the company to fraudulently bill the government.


Government agents and whiskey distillers were involved in bribery and tax evasion.

Grant promised swift punishment, but when his personal secretary was implicated, Grant tried protect him, which only made the scandal worse. The Secretary of War was impeached.


Grant's Secretary of the Interior advocated killing off the Buffalo to make way for the railroads. He was forced to resign for taking bribes in exchange for land grants.


During President Garfield's administration, private companies delivered mail on the Star Route in America's west.

These companies gave low bids to postal officials, but when those officials presented the bids to Congress, they increased the amounts and pocketed the difference.


During the Border War with Mexico, President Woodrow Wilson supported one gang leader against the others.

He selectively ignored an arms embargo, and arranged for train cars of weapons to be left unattended at a border town for Pancho Villa, and the anti-Catholic revolutionary Venustiano Carranza, to be used against Victoriano Huerta.

Wilson then backed Carranza against Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata.


President Warren G. Harding's Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall was caught selling exclusive rights to oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, in exchange for personal profit and cattle.


President Harding's Director of Veterans Affairs was Charles Forbes.

Although 300,000 soldiers were wounded during World War I, Forbes notoriously covered only 47,000 veterans' claims for disability insurance.

When it was discovered that he embezzled $2 million, he was convicted and imprisoned.


President Harding's Attorney General Harry Daugherty let pharmacies and bootleggers obtain permits to sell alcohol for "medicinal" purposes during the era of prohibition. This, and other scandals, forced Harry Daugherty to resign.

During Prohibition, among those suspected of illegally importing liquor was Joseph Kennedy, father of political family.

Herbert Hoover wrote of President Harding in his memoirs (1952):

"Harding had another side which was not good.

His political associates had been men of the type of Albert B. Fall (Teapot Dome Scandal) ... Harry Daugherty (bootlegging scandal) ... Charles Forbes (embezzled from veterans over $2 million) ...

He enjoyed the company of these men (in) weekly White House poker parties ... the play lasted most of the night ... It irked me to see it in the White House."


Though President Truman opposed it, as he feared it would set a dangerous precedent for the C.I.A, President Eisenhower gave approval to the C.I.A.'s first operation to overthrow of a foreign government.

Iran's democratically-elected President Mohammad Mosaddegh had sought to limit the amount of control BP (British Petroleum) had over Iran's oil reserves. He also indicated he would establish ties with the Soviet Union.

In Operation Ajax, the most feared mobsters in Tehran were hired and hundred of agitators were bused in to stage riots and destabilized the country.

In the created confusion, the government was overthrown, President Mosaddegh was arrested, and the pro-West Shah Reza Pahlavi became the new leader.

Meanwhile, the Soviet Union did the same thing.

Its Committee for State Security (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, or K.G.B.) organized clandestine opposition groups to destabilize pro-western countries.

The K.G.B., with the help of Fidel Castro, created the National Liberation Army of Columbia (FARC) in 1964.

The K.G.B., with the help of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, created the National Liberation Army of Bolivia (ELN) in 1964.

The K.G.B., with the help of Yasir Arafat, the Egyptian-born nephew of Mufti Amin al-Husseini, created the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964.

In 1968, the K.G.B. created the "liberation theology" to promote a progressive Marxist social justice agenda of class-warfare to destabilize western democracies.


U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy hosted a party attended by six married men and six single women on Chappaquiddick near Martha's Vineyard.

Kennedy left the party with one of the women, Mary Jo Kopechne.

The next morning she was found dead in Senator Kennedy's submerged car.

1973 AGNEW

Spiro Agnew became the second Vice President in U.S. history to resign when confronted with charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery, and conspiracy.


The Shah of Iran reportedly refused to renew a 25-year-old exclusive oil agreement with BP.

At the same time, the Cold War with the U.S.S.R. was growing tense.

Jimmy Carter's National Security Council, headed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, debated a plan that if the Shah was abandoned and Ayatollah Khomeini took power, that it would be major obstacle to the Soviet Union's expansionist plans.

Reagan thought Carter's actions were misguided, stating:

“I did criticize the President because of his undermining of our stalwart ally, the Shah.”

Disregarding his promises of setting up a democratic government, the Ayatollah took Iran in a fundamentalist direction and crushed all opposition.

He then held captive 52 American hostages for 444 days.


During the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan's administration was in a scandal of a different sort.

As the Soviet Union was destabilizing countries around the world, spreading socialism and enslaving millions of people, plans were made to oppose them which would cost the United States taxpayer nothing.

Sell arms to anti-Soviet forces in Iran in exchange for them releasing more U.S. hostages. Then, use the money from the sale to help Contra freedom fighters stop Soviet-backed forces from taking over Nicaragua.

Democrats in Congress vehemently opposed this.


Five U.S. Senators were accused of corruption:

  • Alan Cranston,

  • Dennis DeConcini,

  • John Glenn,

  • Don Riegle, and

  • John McCain.

It was discovered that Charles Keating had donated substantially to each of the Senators' campaigns.

Correspondingly, the senators had intervened to end a regulatory investigation into Charles Keating's Lincoln Savings & Loan, which had collapsed, defrauding bondholders and taxpayers of $3 billion.


President Clinton had an illicit relationship with Monica Lewinsky, whose friend, Linda Trip, convinced her to keep a stained dress as protection to keep her from being added to the Clinton body count list, a collection of names of deceased former Clinton associates.

Attempting to cover up the affair, Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice.

The list of accidental deaths and suspicious suicides associated with certain politicians and political parties circulates the Internet, with seemingly dismissive explanations by main stream media: Vince Foster, Joe Montano, Carlos Ghigliotti, Charles Wilbourne Miller, Charles Ruff, Ron Brown, Daniel Dutko, Gareth Williams, Victor Thorn, etc. (


President Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder was held in Contempt of Congress after refusing to release documents regarding a "Fast and Furious" operation which provided guns to Mexican drug gangs.


Allegations remain as to who was involved in the sale of significant amounts of America's uranium supply to Russia during the Obama Administration and the timing of $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation.


Prior to re-election, President Obama announced the war on terror was over.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the 57 leaders of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and promised support of a U.N. Resolution abolishing free speech by establishing the dhimmi status for non-Muslims, prohibiting them from insulting Islam.

This was after several European countries hurriedly abolished free speech after orchestrated outbreaks of violence in response yo Danish cartoons of Mohammed in 2005, and French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in 2011.

On September 11, 2012, an orchestrated attack began on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Six hours into the attack, President Obama spoke via telephone with Secretary Clinton and it was decided that no help should be sent or or any rescue attempted.

The next morning, Clinton's State Department sent memos to YouTube and Google recommending they censor speech insulting Islam.

Momentum grew to abolish free speech until it was discovered that the U.S. Ambassador in Benghazi had been warning Hillary's State Department of the dangerous situation for months, and that she denied his repeated requests for security.

When it was uncovered that the attacks were planned and not spontaneous in response to a video insulting Islam, Secretary Clinton responded that since it was a long time ago, "what difference does it make."

Then, emails surfaced revealing more details of what was going on.

U.S. arms had illegally been used by the Obama Administration to oust Libya's President Gaddafi.

These arms were being moved in a gun-running fashion through Benghazi, similar to Eric Holder's "Fast and Furious" scandal, to arm fundamentalist Muslims to oust Syria's President Assad.

When Russia came to Assad's defense, the Muslim terrorists armed and trained by the U.S. attacked into Syria and Iraq, calling themselves ISIS.

They proceeded to torture, rape, and behead hundreds of thousands in what Secretary of State John Kerry had to formally declare was a genocide. (CNN, 3/18/16)

In just eight years, the Christian population in Syria had gone from 2.5 million to a just few hundred thousand.

Obama administration's arming of Muslim militants was reported in the Los Angeles Times (3/27/16): "In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA."

President Trump ended this Obama's secret CIA program of arming and training Muslims, as TIME Magazine reported (7/28/17): "President Trump ends covert plan to arm Syrian rebels, Russia has pushed U.S. to end program."


After President Obama met 157 times with IRS director Lois Lerner, she pleaded the 5th Amendment when asked by Congress on whether the agency targeted conservative political groups prior to the President Obama's re-election.


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton illegally used secret email servers.

When questions arose over lack of security, and the coordination of her Secretary of State's Department to arrange favorable treatment for foreigners giving donations to the Clinton Foundation, supposedly in exchange for speeches given by her husband, suddenly 30,000 of Hillary's emails were deleted.

When questioned, her technology specialist, Bryan Pagliano, pleaded the Fifth Amendment on March 2, 2016.

The Justice Department, under Attorney General Loretta Lynch, initiated an investigation, but after an unprecedented meeting with Hillary's husband at the Phoenix Airport, the investigation was curtailed.

When interviewed, Lynch said "he mentioned the golf he played in Phoenix" though sources told ABC15 "former President Clinton did not play golf during his most recent visit in Phoenix."

Under Lynch's authority, FBI Director James Comey announced they would not investigate Hillary, though he described her behavior as "extremely careless."

Since Comey's statements differed from Hillary's, House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte accused Hillary of lying under oath to the House Benghazi committee.

Commentator Dick Morris explained that several of Hillary's emails exposed nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri as an American spy, resulting in him being executed in Iran.


When WikiLeaks' Julian Assange released 20,000 emails showing the Democrat National Committee worked to undermine Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton.

DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign, though she was quickly hired by Hillary.

Rachel Alexander of wrote: "Since the Democrat National Committee emails were leaked a few weeks ago, three people associated with the DNC have all been found dead under what could be questionable circumstances."

Seth Rich, a DNC data analyst, was shot in the back July 10, 2016, though his wallet, credit cards and watch were not taken.

On July 13, 2016, Shawn Lucas, who had served the DNC with a lawsuit on July 3, 2016, was found dead on August 2, 2016.

On June 22, 2016, John Ashe, former President of the United Nations General Assembly, was found dead with a barbell across his throat just days before he was scheduled to testify that a Chinese businessman illegally funneled funds to the DNC during Bill Clinton's term in office.


Peter Strok, who was in charge of investigating Hillary Clinton's private email server, had sent thousands of text messages expressing his desire to "stop" President Trump.

Not only did he not find fault with Hillary's actions, Robert Mueller's team deleted the vast majority of Strok's incriminating text messages.


July 22, 2017, Pakistani IT staffers Imran Awan, his wife, Hina Alvi, and his brothers Abid, Jamal, worked at the DNC and for Democrat legislators. Concerns remain that they forwarded out of the country compromising information which could be used to blackmail politicians.


Child sex trafficking billionaire Jeffrey Epstein flew many prominent politicians on his private jet to his reputed pedophile Caribbean island.


At the top of the list of political scandals in U.S. history was Watergate.

It began when five low-level members of President Nixon's re-election team did a third-rate break-in of the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.

Though Nixon was not involved, his efforts to defend a subordinate led to him being implicated in a cover up.

The House Judiciary Committee staff prepared the articles of impeachment against President Nixon.

Hillary Rodham served on the Impeachment Inquiry staff. Her conduct was described by Jerry Zeifman, the Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee, as "dishonest," that she "engaged in a variety of self-serving unethical practices in violation of House rules," possibly to facilitate a future run for President by U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy.

Rather than face impeachment, President Nixon resigned.

Unfortunately, the scandal overshadowed significant aspects of his administration:

  • ending racial segregation in southern schools;

  • ending the draft;

  • NASA's Apollo mission to the moon;

 - officially recognizing "Fathers' Day";

= beginning the process to end the Cold War;

  • visiting Beijing and Moscow as steps to bring down the Bamboo Curtain and the Iron Curtain;

  • fighting foreign oil price gouging;

  • producing a balanced budget;

  • supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War, with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger attempting to negotiate agreements between Israel and Egypt and Syria.

With the media fanning the scandal into a frenzy, Richard Nixon resigned on AUGUST 8, 1974.

Having served as the 37th President, he stated from the Oval Office:

"Good evening. This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office ...

To continue to fight ... for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress ...

Therefore, I shall resign ... If some of my judgments were wrong ... they were made in what I believed ... to be the best interest of the Nation."

In an almost prophetic final warning, Nixon stated:

"In the Middle East, 100 million people in the Arab countries, many of whom have considered us their enemy ... now look on us as their friends.

We must continue to build on that friendship so that ... the cradle of civilization will not become its grave."

Concluding, Nixon added:

"I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, 'whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly ... If he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly' ...

In leaving ... I do so with this prayer: May God's grace be with you in all the days ahead."

Privately, to his Cabinet, President Nixon confided:

"Mistakes, yes ... for personal gain, never ...

I can only say to each ... of you ... we come from many faiths ... but really the same God ...

You will be in our hearts and ... in our prayers."