Congressional embarrassments of yesteryear

Gosar with his cartoon, MTG and the mailslot, and accosting other congress persons, and any number of people supplicating to TFG. Is it just instant, 24/7 news and the web making these freaks visible? Who were the congresscritters from yesteryear who even approached this level of, for a better word, fuckedupness?

The Congressman who went onto the floor of the Senate and beat an anti-slavery Senator nearly to death with his cane?

Yeah, that’s pretty bad.

I should have specified, congresscritters who were publicly fucked up, not guys who were crazy behind closed doors. “Wide-stance” guy comes close, as does “series of tubes” guy. Yeah, I could say their names; I prefer descriptions :slightly_smiling_face:

In 1859, Congressman Daniel Sickles shot and killed Philip Barton Key (son of Francis Scott Key) whom Sickles had discovered was having an affair with his wife. The ensuing trial was a media sensation, and he was the first person in the U.S. to be acquitted on the basis of temporary insanity.

Congressman Charlie Wilson (of Charlie Wilson’s War fame) was a notorious playboy and booze hound who was investigated by the House Ethics Committee on at least three occasions and caused a drunken hit-and-run accident on the Key Bridge.

Congressman James Traficant was a colorful but up-to-his-eyebrows corrupt Representative from Ohio in the 80s and 90s who was expelled from the House in 2002 after being convicted of ten counts of taking bribes, filing false tax returns, racketeering and forcing his staff to perform personal work. After serving his sentence, he died when he got pinned under a tractor on his farm.

In 1974, Congressman Wilbur Mills, a Democrat from Arkansas who had been in the House for over 30 years, and who chaired the Ways and Means Committee, suddenly had the wheels fall off.

Weeks before the 1974 election, he was pulled over at 2 a.m. while driving erratically in D.C. The police discovered that he was inebriated, and his face was injured, due to a scuffle which he’d been in with his passenger, Fanne Foxe, an Argentinian stripper, with whom he had been having an affair. Foxe fled from the car, and jumped into the Tidal Basin as she fled from the police.

Despite that, Mills was re-elected a few weeks later; a few weeks later still, he was apparently inebriated again, at a nightclub where Foxe was performing. He, along with Foxe’s husband, went on stage, where he gave a “speech,” and then later, held a press conference in Foxe’s dressing room.

After all of that, Mills finally stepped down from his chair with Ways and Means, joined Alcoholics Anonymous, went to rehab, and retired from the House after finishing out his final term in office.

Congressman Michael Myers, from Pennsylvania. He had a “colorful” life prior to being elected in Congress, but in 1979 he got into a fight in an elevator at a Quality Inn motel with a security officer who was telling him he needed to turn down the music at the party he was holding in his room. He told the security guy that he was a Congressman, and we don’t have to be quiet." He later pled guilty to disorderly conduct. In 1980, as part of the ABSCAM scandal, he was videotaped accepting a $50,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent. He was expelled from the House and later sentenced to three years in jail. He was the first member of Congress to be expelled since three Southern members of Congress were expelled for joining the Confederacy.

Congressman William Jefferson was caught with $90,000 in cash stashed in his freezer. He was later found guilty of 11 counts of corruption.

John Jenrette (D-SC) was popular in his home district until he was caught taking a $50,000 bribe. Worse, his wife Rita posed nude for Playboy and admitted that the two of them had made love on the steps of the Capitol building during a late-night session of Congress. In fairly rapid order, Jenrette was defeated for reelection, sentenced to prison, saw his marriage break up, and had the distinction of a Washington-based comedy troop name themselves the Capitol Steps in honor of his headline-making skills. Jenrette was later arrested for shoplifting a necktie.

Wayne Hays (D-OH) was Chairman of the House Administration Committee and Chair of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. After he divorced his wife to marry his office secretary, another Hays staffer came forward to reveal she had been Hays mistress for two years, and had been put on his staff despite the fact, “I can’t type. I can’t file. I can’t even answer the phone.” Hays resigned after 27 years in the House, although he later served one term in the Ohio state House.

A lot of Congress types have been gently escorted home by police when driving home after a few too many drinks. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), who happens to be a Mormon, actually got himself a DUI conviction. He won reelection in 2016 with 66% of the vote.

On the public policy side, Rep. Gene Greene (D-TX) introduced a bill in 2013 to add chiropractors to the U.S. Public Health Service. In 1893, Rep Lucas Miller (D-WI) called for a constitutional amendment to change the name of the country to The United States of Earth, presumably figuring it was only a matter of time until we took over every other country.

This sounds eerily similar to a scene from Season 1 of House of Cards (the American version), where the offender was also a U.S. representative. I’m fairly sure now that the writers of the show got the inspiration for that scene from Wilbur Mill’s debacle.

“But the senator, while insisting he was not intoxicated, could not explain his nudity.”

“Devil Dan” Sickles had a long and colorful life, repeatedly marked by controversial incidents which didn’t always reflect well on his character.
He was noted for having a leg amputated after being severely injured at the battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. He donated the leg to the Army Medical Museum and visited it there for several years afterwards on the anniversary of the amputation.*

I seem to recall Ted Kennedy being involved in some interesting incidents during his time in the Senate.

*reportedly the leg is still on display and you can visit it too.

I always thought of Wilbur Mills when I heard that line. :smiley:

That was Rep. Preston Brooks who beat the shit out of Senator Charles Sumner in 1856.

Wikipedia page on the incident:

Relatively tame compared to some of these others, but I’m still a fan of Roman Hruska (R - NE) and his famous defense of mediocrity:

Hruska also gets namechecked in the song “Dead Puppies” for no discernible reason.

And lest we forget, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was convicted and imprisoned on charges of “structuring” banking withdraws to avoid federal reporting requirements. The withdraws were to pay hush money to one of several former students he had molested as a high school wrestling coach.

“Baby, if you ever wondered,
Wondered whatever became of me…”

Thought the whole case with Hastert came out after he was out of Congress, and I think the spirit of the thread is embarassments while in office.

OP is welcome to clarify if such was their intent.

It’s interesting to me how quickly we forget Congressional scandals that once dominated the headlines. Remember Mark Foley? Gary Condit? David Vitter? Mark Souder? Anthony Weiner? Scott DesJarlais? All had prominent sex scandals while serving in Congress in the last 20 years, and have since disappeared from the pubic consciousness.

Any congressional embarrassment is welcome. I’m mostly intrigued by the ones who appear to be completely worthless, juvenile assholes, and yet continue to serve, and be given airtime as if they’re serious people. Gosar, MTG, Jordan and their ilk.

I disagree with the one you call “worse.” Or maybe you meant to his constituents.

The local newspaper ran Gosar story on Facebook. To quote me: " If Gosar made a big enough contribution, there’s probably a Junior High somewhere that would let him enroll and be a student in perpetuity". That goes for the rest of them, also.