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Top 10 Political sex scandals in History

Political sex scandals are about much more than just people getting caught with their pants down. To many, they suggest that these people cannot be trusted. If they lie about having an affair, if they break marriage vows, then how can they be trusted on other issues? In some cases, these scandals are so damaging, they can destroy careers, or even bring down governments. Here are 10 of the most shocking and salacious political sex scandals in history.

No.10 - Mark Foley and the senate pages
Mark Foley
The Mark Foley scandal, which broke in late September 2006, centers on soliciting e-mails and sexually explicit instant messages sent by Mark Foley, a Republican Congressman from Florida, to teenaged boys who had formerly served as congressional pages. Investigation was closed by the FLDE on September 19, 2008 citing insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges.The scandal has grown to encompass the response of Republican congressional leaders to previous complaints about Foley's contacts with the pages and inconsistencies in the leaders' public statements.There are also allegations that a second Republican Congressman, Jim Kolbe, had improper conduct with at least two youths, a 16-year old page and a recently graduated page.

The scandal led to Foley's resignation from Congress on September 29, 2006. In some quarters, the scandal is believed to have contributed to the Republican Party's loss of control over Congress in the November 7, 2006 election, as well as the end of House Speaker Dennis Hastert's leadership of the House Republicans. Kirk Fordham, chief of staff to Rep. Tom Reynolds and former chief of staff for Foley, also resigned as a result of the scandal.

The questionable conversations, which took place between 1995 and 2005, are under investigation by the FBI for possible criminal violations. In September 2008, Florida officials investigating Foley decided not to charge him, citing a lack of evidence and the expiration of the statute of limitations. The House Ethics Committee is investigating the response of the House Republican leadership and their staff to earlier warnings of Foley's conduct.In early October 2006, two news organizations quoted anonymous former pages saying they had sexual liaisons with Foley after turning 18 and 21.

Foley was chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, which introduced legislation targeting sexual predators and created stricter guidelines for tracking them.

No.9 - Larry Craig in the airport bathroom
Larry Craig
The Larry Craig scandal was an incident that began on June 11, 2007, with the arrest of Larry Craig, a former Republican Senator from Idaho, for lewd conduct in the men's restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Craig later entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct on August 8.As a result of the controversy surrounding his arrest and subsequent guilty plea, Senator Craig announced his intention to resign from the Senate at a news conference on September 1, which was to become effective on September 30. After failing to withdraw his guilty plea, on October 4, Craig released a statement refusing to resign as senator for Idaho.

No.8 - Eliot Spitzer and the expensive prostitute
Eliot Spitzer
The instant this story broke, Eliot Spitzer was a dead man walking. As a tough-talking New York governor, Spitzer had pledged to crack down on corruption, and had built a reputation as a no-nonsense, holier-than-thou family man. Ironically, it was his decision to allow the use of phone taps in investigations that led to his downfall, as financial irregularities in his accounts were red flagged. This unraveled a story of his frequent dalliances with an escort agency, where he was referred to as “Client 9.” He was called a hypocrite and a liar, and his political career may never be salvaged.

No.7 - Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings
Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings
As the third president of the United States and principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson is one of the most brilliant incumbents of the Oval Office. During his first term, a disgruntled office-seeker named James Callender claimed that Jefferson kept a slave named Sally as his concubine, and had several children by her. While Jefferson was by this time a widower, it was nonetheless a massive revelation. Fortunately for Jefferson, he did not live in the age of the 24-hour news cycle and the internet, otherwise this scandal would have been even higher up this list.

No.6 - Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
If one candidate on our list deserves to be likened to Teflon, Berlusconi is it. Despite months of lurid allegations surrounding his private life, he has continued to serve as the Italian prime minister. The catalog of revelations include taped telephone calls allegedly between him and a call girl, claims that dozens of young women were paid to attend parties at his official residence and one girl claims Berlusconi offered her a seat at the European parliament. His wife began divorce proceedings, stating: "I cannot stay with a man who frequents minors.” He has so far managed to laugh it off, merely saying: “I’m no saint.” Thanks for the clarification on that one, Silvio.

No.5 - Gary Hart and Donna Rice
Gary Hart and Donna Rice
As the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination in the 1987 election, Gary Hart was the rising star of American politics. Despite being dogged by rumors that he was having an extramarital affair, Hart famously challenged the press to follow him around. They did, and a woman was caught leaving his house. A little while later, and a photo of him with the same woman sitting on his lap emerged. A week later Hart dropped out of the race, leaving Michael Dukakis a free run to the nomination, and in so doing changed the course of American politics over the last 20 years.

No.4 - Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky
Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky
The Lewinsky scandal was a political sex scandal emerging from a sexual relationship between United States President Bill Clinton and a 22-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. The news of this extra-marital affair and the resulting investigation eventually led to the impeachment of President Clinton in 1998 by the U.S. House of Representatives and his subsequent acquittal on all impeachment charges (of perjury and obstruction of justice) in a 21-day Senate trial.

In 1995, Monica Lewinsky, a graduate of Lewis & Clark College, was hired to work as an intern at the White House during Clinton's first term, and began a personal relationship with him later that year. As Lewinsky's relationship with Clinton became more distant and she left the White House to work at The Pentagon, Lewinsky confided details of her feelings and Clinton's behavior to her friend and Defense department co-worker Linda Tripp, who secretly recorded their telephone conversations. When Tripp discovered in January 1998 that Lewinsky had signed an affidavit in the Paula Jones case denying a relationship with Clinton, she delivered the tapes to Kenneth Starr, the Independent Counsel who was investigating Clinton on other matters, including the Whitewater scandal, Filegate, and Travelgate. During the grand jury testimony Clinton was guarded, and argued, "It depends on what the meaning of the word is is".

The wide reporting of the scandal led to criticism of the press for over-coverage. The scandal is sometimes referred to as "Monicagate", "Lewinskygate", "Tailgate", "Sexgate", and "Zippergate", following the "gate" nickname construction popular at the time.

No.3 - Moshe Katsav's rape and harrassment trial
Moshe Katsav
Moshe Katsav (Hebrew: משה קצב‎, Persian: موسى قصاب Mūsā Qasāb), born 5 December 1945) is a former President of Israel and member of the Knesset.

The end of his term of President was marked by controversy, and from 25 January 2007 until his resignation on 1 July 2007, he was on a leave of absence amid impending charges of crimes stemming from his alleged rape of one female subordinate which were later dropped, but still later resumed, as well as the sexual harassment of others.

No.2 - Jeremy Thorpe
Jeremy Thorpe
John Jeremy Thorpe (born 29 April 1929) is a British politician, who was leader of the Liberal Party from 1967 to 1976. He lost his position, as well as his seat in Parliament, after he was accused of conspiring to murder a man who claimed to be a former lover, of which charges he was acquitted.

No.1 - The Profumo Affair
Profumo Affair
The Profumo Affair was a 1963 political scandal in the United Kingdom that is named after the then Secretary of State for War, John Profumo. The Profumo affair developed after Profumo had a brief relationship with a showgirl named Christine Keeler, who was also reputedly the mistress of a known Russian spy, and then lied in the House of Commons when he was questioned about it. The scandal forced Profumo to resign and also severely damaged the reputation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's government. Macmillan himself would resign a few months later owing to ill health.

it was the most shocking revelation imaginable. The prime minister resigned the following year, and his party could not recover from the scandal. It also changed the way the media covered political sex scandals, and shattered the illusion of politicians being bastions of integrity. By bringing down an entire government, this is a deserved winner.


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