Can You Match the American Congressman to the Scandal?

Bambi Turner

Image: Wiki Commons by Martin Falbisoner

About This Quiz

Fresh off a victory against Great Britain during the American Revolution, the newly-formed United States began establishing its own government, which was finally free from unwanted intervention coming from across the pond. The First Congress met in 1789 in New York, and later Philadelphia, as they worked on building their own official meeting place in Washington DC.

President George Washington laid the cornerstone of what would become the U.S. Capitol Building in 1793, and even though the construction was plagued by money and labor shortages, the grand building inspired by the Roman Pantheon eventually rose above the city. Congress first met at this building — which is known for its iconic eight-million-pound iron dome — in 1800, and continues to meet there to this day.

Since that time, the structure has grown alongside the U.S. surviving everything from a major fire, to wars and even attempted terrorist attacks. Along the way, this building located at 100 Constitution Ave has also survived another threat ... the threat of scandal. This scandal comes in the form of bad behavior from the very people elected to create the laws and represent their constituents, and it's been popping up since the earliest days of the American Congress. Think you can remember what got these lawmakers into hot water? Prove it with this quiz!

A 1969 incident in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts killed one senator's presidential hopes forever. Who is he?

Ted Kennedy was just 30 when he was elected to represent Massachusetts in the Senate, taking the spot of brother John, who had just become President. Leaving a party in his home state a few years later, he crashed his car, leaving passenger Mary Jo Kopechne to drown. Kennedy didn't alert authorities to the accident for hours but still got off with a two-month suspended sentence. The incident at Chappaquiddick prevented Ted from ever making a serious run at the White House, but he remained in the Senate 'til 2009.

Name the North Carolina Senator who used campaign funds to cover up an affair as his wife was dying of cancer.

John Edwards served in the Senate from 1999 to 2005, and he even ran for VP with presidential hopeful John Kerry in 2004. In 2011, he was indicted on half a dozen felony charges after investigators discovered he had used campaign money to cover up the fact that he fathered a child with his mistress, even as his wife Elizabeth was dying of cancer.

Name the offense that led to the resignation and indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in 2005.

Long-time Texas Republican lawmaker Tom DeLay found himself in hot water for campaign finance activities he used to help Texas state reps in the 2002 election. In 2005, he was indicted on a series of charges ranging from money laundering to conspiracy. He stepped down from his House Majority Leader role and spent the next decade fighting the charges.

Which scandal likely cost Senator David Vitter the election for Governor or Louisiana in 2015?

Republican David Vitter represented Louisiana in the U.S. Senate from 2015 to 2017. When his name showed up on a list of clients in the DC Madam scandal, he called a press conference and asked for forgiveness for his "sins." Turns out, all was not forgiven, as Vitter found out when he ran for governor of his home state in 2015. His opponent focused hard on the scandal during his campaign and easily beat Vitter at the polls.

In a jaw-dropping display of hypocrisy that forced his resignation, Congressman Tim Murphy asked his mistress to do this ...

Pennsylvania Republican Tim Murphy campaigned on a strong pro-life platform and vehemently opposed abortion throughout his tenure in Congress. That all changed when Murphy's own mistress experienced a pregnancy scare, leading Murphy to suddenly be much more open to the concept of choice. A 2017 investigation by the "Pittsburgh Post Gazette" revealed Murphy urged his paramour to have an abortion. He later resigned from Congress.

Congressional scandal is nothing new. Just ask Rep. Dan Sickles, who made headlines in 1859 with this terrible act.

In 1859, NY Congressman Dan Sickles suspected acquaintance Philip Barton Key, son of Francis Scott Key, of having an affair with Sickles' wife. He shot Key, killing him, but managed to get away with murder thanks to an insanity plea. Sickles served out a term in Congress and left in 1861, but he was even reelected in the 1890s to serve another term.

Remember which 21st-century Congressman has been caught repeatedly sharing explicit material via phone?

Poor Anthony Weiner just can't stop sexting. An incident in which Weiner sent nude photos over Twitter led him to resign from Congress in 2011, while a 2017 scandal where Weiner sexted with a minor landed him in the slammer.

Jesse Jackson Jr. followed in his dad's footsteps when he entered Congress in 1995. What scandal sent Jackson to prison in 2013?

After 17 years representing Illinois in the House, Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned his position in 2012 after being accused of using campaign funds to buy lavish items like a fur cape and a Rolex. Jackson was sentenced to 30 months in prison, while his wife got 12 months for her part in the financial fraud.

Rep. Wayne Hays resigned in scandal when someone he knew gave a newspaper interview. Who was it?

Wayne Hays spent more than 25 years representing Ohio in the U.S. Congress, only to resign in a cloud of scandal in 1976. Turns out, he hired his mistress and paid her a federal salary to do nothing. He also divorced one wife and married the next without inviting his lover to the ceremony, making his mistress mad enough that she called the "Washington Post" to spill the beans.

Who was Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney feuding with in a 2006 scandal that saw her arrested?

U.S. Capitol Police failed to recognize Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney as she brushed past security while entering the Capitol in 2006. Rather than stopping to straighten the matter out, McKinney struck an officer in the chest. She was charged with assault, but a grand jury declined to indict her.

Know what bad behavior forced Florida GOP Congressman Mark Foley to resign in 2006?

Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley quickly resigned his position in 2006 after news broke that he had sent explicit messages to underage male pages working in the Capitol. Additional victims eventually came forward, though Florida prosecutors declined to charge Foley with a crime, citing lack of evidence.

Guess which crime cost Texas Republican Steve Stockman his role in Congress and also earned him a ten-year sentence.

Representative Steve Stockman's second term in Congress ended in a cloud of scandal in 2015 after the Texas Republican was accused of setting up a fake charity to raise money for campaigning and personal expenses. He was found guilty of a whopping 23 felonies, including money laundering, and sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2018.

One Wisconsin Senator fought his own version of the Cold War at home in the '50s, accusing many innocent Americans of being Communist spies. Who is he?

Republican Joseph McCarthy represented Wisconsin in the Senate from 1947 through his death in 1957. He lives on in infamy for the witch trials he conducted in the '50s, where he accused people of being Soviet spies and ruined many innocent lives. McCarthy lost many supporters after driving opponent Lester Hunt to suicide in 1954.

Six House members, as well as Senator Harrison Williams, were snared by a scandal that involved them taking bribes from a Middle Eastern company. Name this scandal.

Suspecting corruption in Congress, the FBI set up a sting in which agents posed as representatives of a Middle Eastern company in the late '70s. Six Representatives and one Senator took the bait, accepting bribes in exchange for a promise of contracts with the U.S. government. Today, this event is known as the ABSCAM scandal.

Rep. Dan Rostenkowski spent more than 30 years in Congress before his career ended in scandal. What Congressional service facility did the scandal involve?

Yes, there is a Congressional post office, a fact which made headlines in the early '90s thanks to an investigation of corruption involving employees of the post office and certain members of Congress. Together, these crooked individuals were using the post office to launder money. Chicago Rep. Dan Rostenkowski ending up serving time for mail fraud in the case, but he was pardoned for his crimes by President Clinton in 2000.

What late-'80s scandal ended with more than 20 government officials, including Rep. Mario Biaggi of New York, being convicted of crimes like bribery and fraud?

Throughout the '80s, a small New York City contractor called Wedtech fraudulently won millions in federal defense contracts with the help of corrupt government officials. For his part in the Wedtech scandal, long-time NYC Representative Mario Biaggi was forced to resign from Congress and was eventually sentenced to eight years in the slammer.

Financial fraud is nothing new in Congress. Which of these fields is most closely associated with the Credit Mobilier scandal, which snared Congressmen Oakes Ames and James Brooks?

Just after the Civil War, a company called Credit Mobilier was granted federal contracts to help construct routes on the Union Pacific Railroad. The company padded its invoices and bribed politicians to get away with their fraud. The House ultimately censored Rep. Oakes Ames and Rep. James Brooks for their involvement. Then-Congressman Andrew Garfield maintained his innocence in the scandal and was later elected President.

A scandal involving this Asian nation got Congressmen Richard Hanna and Otto Passman charged with conspiracy in the mid-'70s. Name this country.

In an event now known as Koreagate, South Korean politicians offered bribes to several American Congressmen in exchange for various favors or agreements. California Congressman Richard Hanna was sentenced to one year for conspiracy charges related to the scandal, while Rep. Otto Passman ended up being acquitted for his role.

Know which of these familiar names was NOT part of the Keating Five in the late '80s?

Ted Kennedy has had scandals of his own, but he wasn't a member of the Keating Five. This group of five Congressmen includes Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, John McCain, Donald Riegle and John Glenn (yes, the astronaut). The group was subject to a Senate Ethics Committee investigation for allegedly interfering with a federal investigation against Charles Keating, the chairman of a powerful Savings and Loan institution.

House members Dan Crane and Gerry Studds were censured by the House Ethics Committee in 1983. What act sparked the investigation?

Both Illinois Rep. Dan Crane and Massachusetts Rep. Gerry Studds were censured by the House Ethics Committee in 1983 for soliciting underage pages working in Congress. Crane ended up being beaten in the next election and leaving the House, while Studds stayed in his seat all the way through 1997.

Forget sex scandals and tax evasion — Senator Ralph Cameron tried to claim ownership of an American landmark. Know which one?

Ralph Cameron represented Arizona in Congress all the way through 1927. During that time, he claimed he personally owned a popular Grand Canyon trail, charging every visitor $1 to use it. He also spent his time in Congress fighting efforts to transform the Grand Canyon into a national park. Fed up with his greedy antics, Arizona voters failed to re-elect Cameron in 1926.

What did William Blount conspire to do with Great Britain, leading Congress to impeach Blount from the Senate in 1798?

In an effort to inflate the value of his own landholdings, Tennessee Senator William Blount conspired to help Great Britain gain control of Florida and the Southeast U.S. back in the 1790s. When his crimes were discovered, the Senate voted to impeach him, but the removal was never officially completed because Blount ran home to Tennessee rather than standing trial in Washington.

Can you identify the former "Saturday Night Live" star who became a Senator, only to resign after a 2018 scandal?

After a long career in comedy, starring on "SNL" and hosting a radio show, Al Franken became a Senator in 2009. The Democrat from Minnesota found himself embroiled in scandal in 2018 when a series of women accused him of sexual misconduct. Through he disputed the allegations, Franken resigned from Congress, a move he later stated in interviews that he regretted.

What did Senator H. Styles Bridges, a big fan of McCarthyism, blackmail fellow Senator Lester Hunt over in the '50s?

H. Styles Bridges spent 24 years representing New Hampshire in the Senator. As a supporter of Joseph McCarthy, he was part of a blackmail plot against McCarthy's fellow Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt. After Bridges and McCarthy threatened to expose Hunt's gay son to the media, Hunt committed suicide, leading Bridges to resign from office in disgrace.

Can you name the long-time Massachusetts Congressman who was reprimanded by the House in the '80s for using his political power to erase his lover's parking tickets?

Barney Frank became the first member of Congress to publicly and willingly reveal his homosexuality in 1987, and he was also the first gay Congressman to marry a same-sex partner while in office. Unfortunately, he also invited a male sex worker to share his home in the '80s, which might not have been a big deal if he hadn't also used his political clout to have more than 30 of his roommate's parking tickets taken care of, resulting in a reprimand from the House Ethics Committee.

The fact that Robert Potter was removed from his position as a North Carolina state legislator for castrating two men didn't end his Congressional career. What did?

Believing two men were fooling around with his wife, North Carolina state legislator Robert Potter castrated the poor souls in the 1830s. He later ran for Congress but was kicked out in 1935 for fighting over a poker game. You might not want to cross this guy.

He was a Senator from 1975 to 1988 and even ran for President, but he dropped out of the race after a P.I. revealed his secret mistress. Who is this Colorado Congressman?

Former lawyer and Navy Lieutenant Gary Hart represented Colorado in the Senate from 1976 through 1988. He made a run for the Democratic nomination for President, but an investigation by a radio station threw a wrench in his campaign when it revealed not only an affair but a pattern of womanizing. The scandal ended his bid for the White House and made him a household name for a period.

John Smith was one of Ohio's first Senators back in the early 1800s, but a plot with this "Hamilton" character forced his resignation. Name Smith's co-conspirator.

John Smith made history as one of the first two Senators elected to represent Ohio. He is also famous for a different reason, however. In 1803, he helped Aaron Burr — yes, the guy who shot Alexander Hamilton — as part of a treasonous plot by Burr to seize control of either Mexico, the Southeast or the entire United States. The scandal resulted in Smith's expulsion from Congress that same year.

Which of these was NOT among the charges that got Ohio Congressman Jim Traficant expelled from the House and sentenced to prison in 2002?

After more than 15 years representing Ohio in the House, Jim Traficant was forced out of office and convicted of charges that included bribery, racketeering and tax evasion for using campaign funds for personal expenses. The Democratic Congressman was eventually sentenced to a seven-year term for his crimes.

Which of these Congressmen became the first Speaker of the House in history to be formally reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee?

Newt Gingrich was a college professor before he was elected to Congress in 1979 to represent Georgia. After two decades in Congress, he became Speaker of the House in 1995, only to resign in 1998 after he was reprimanded on tax-evasion charges.

Prohibition banned the sale and consumption of alcohol in the U.S. in the '20s. Guess which offense got Kentucky Congressman in hot water in 1926?

But you couldn't guess that it was bootlegging that got Rep. John Langley in all kinds of trouble in the '20s. After resigning from Congress, he was sentenced to prison for selling alcohol during Prohibition ... only to be pardoned by President Coolidge. Langley's wife then ran for and won his Congressional seat, keeping things all in the family.

He shares the name of President #42. Name this Congressman who got sentenced to prison for bribery in 2009.

Democratic Congressman William Jefferson represented Louisiana in the House from 1991 to 2009. After accepting bribes to help a Kentucky IT firm win contracts with the Army, Jefferson was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison for bribery. After years of appeals, he was released in 2016.

Know what issue got Rep. Preston Brooks so riled up that he nearly beat a fellow Congressman to death in 1856?

South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks was a huge fan of slavery ... so much so that he beat anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner with his cane on the floor of the Senate. The attack was so bad that Sumner took a full three years to recover. While Brooks resigned after the 1856 incident, the pro-slavery voters in his state quickly re-elected him, sending him back to Washington to serve another term.

Try to guess which of these offenses ended the career of New York Democratic Congressman Fred Richmond in 1982.

Believe it or not, an arrest for soliciting a 16-year-old in 1978 didn't really damage Rep. Fred Richmond's career. In fact, it wasn't until he was caught bribing an employee of an NYC Naval Yard that public outrage forced Richmond to resign his seat in 1982.

Taking the House seat vacated by his father in 2009, Duncan Hunter went to DC to represent his home state of California ... only to be forced to resign in 2018 for this crime. Know what it is?

Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter tarnished the nearly 30-year legacy of his father Duncan L. Hunter when he replaced him in the House in 2009. The younger Hunter was forced to resign from all Congressional committees when both he and his wife were indicted for fraud in 2018. Turns out, the Congressman had been using campaign funds to cover up affairs with at least five women.

Which of these is a nickname for the House Banking Scandal, which resulted in Ohio Congressman Donald Lukens being sentenced to 30 months for bribery in 1995?

Donald "Buz" Lukens ended up resigning from Congress in 1989 after he was caught on camera describing a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl. That resignation didn't save him, however, as he ended up being convicted in 1995 for his actions during the House Banking Scandal, also known as Rubbergate. Lukens had left Congress by the time the investigation was completed but was still convicted of bribery and sentenced to 30 months.

Where was Idaho Senator Larry Craig when he became involved in a very awkward sex scandal in 2007?

Outspoken LGBT opponent Larry Craig represented Idaho in the House from 1981 to 1991, then served in the Senate from 1991 to 2009. After he was arrested for indecent exposure in the men's room of a Minnesota airport in 2007, he declined to run for re-election to Congress.

Illinois Congressman Mel Reynolds resigned in 1995 due to a scandal. What was his offense?

Democratic Congressman Mel Reynolds was indicted in 1994 for a sexual assault he committed against an underage campaign volunteer in 1992. He was sentenced to five years in prison for the crime, which forced him to resign from his position in the House.

Remember what Congressman Wilbur Mills was doing in 1974 when he was caught in the company of an exotic dancer named Fanne Foxe?

Elected to the House in 1939, Arkansas Democrat Wilbur Mills later became head of the Ways and Means Committee. In 1974, he made headlines when he drunkenly crashed his car in Washington with a dancer named Fanne Foxe in the passenger seat beside him. Even after the scandal and a DUI arrest, Mills was easily re-elected to the House later that year. Continued involvement with both alcohol and Ms. Foxe led Mills to head for rehab rather than running for re-election in 1976.

Choose the scandal that led Ohio Republican Bob Ney to resign from Congress in 2006 and also brought down several other top government officials.

More than just an everyday lobbyist, Jack Abramoff was busy buying off politicians in the '00s. When his tactics became public, many politicians and White House officials were brought down, including Ohio Rep. Bob Ney. After a decade in Congress, Ney resigned for charges ranging from conspiracy to lying to investigators and accepting gifts in exchange for political favors.

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