Misbehaving Governors: It's a Long List

Eliot Spitzer joins a litany of recent governors involved in sexual and political scandals.


Compiled by the U.S.News & World Report library

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned today over charges he patronized a high-priced prostitute, is only the latest in a long line of governors who have been caught up in political or sexual scandals. Some incidents from recent years:

2007: George Ryan, Illinois. A former secretary of state, the Republican governor was accused of corruption and misusing his offices. He was convicted of 18 federal criminal charges and reported to prison in November 2007.

2007: Don Siegelman, Alabama. The Democrat went to prison in 2007 on federal conspiracy and bribery charges stemming from allegations that he had appointed HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to a state hospital board in exchange for a campaign contribution. Siegelman has since appealed his conviction, arguing that the prosecution was politically motivated.

2006: Jim Gibbons, Nevada. Before the 2006 gubernatorial election, a cocktail waitress alleged that Gibbons, a Republican congressman, had assaulted and propositioned her after a raucous night near the Las Vegas Strip. He denied her claims, and police declined to file charges. In early 2007, the FBI launched an investigation into Gibbons's relationship with businessman Warren Trepp, an executive with defense contractor Treppid Technologies LLC, following allegations that Gibbons received gifts and favors to help Trepp's company win defense contracts. A month later, it was reported that defense contractor Sierra Nevada Corp. hired Gibbons's wife to do consulting work in 2004, the same year in which her husband pushed for the company to get a multimillion-dollar contract. Gibbons, who has denied wrongdoing, remains under investigation.

2006: Ernie Fletcher, Kentucky. Fletcher, a Republican, and nine members of his administration were indicted in 2006 for improperly giving state jobs to political allies. Fletcher pardoned the nine and insisted that he had done nothing wrong. Charges against him were dropped after a judge ruled that the governor could not be prosecuted while he was in office. Fletcher ran for re-election in 2007 but was defeated.

2005: Bob Taft, Ohio. The Republican was convicted of four misdemeanors and fined $4,000 after failing to report golf trips and other gifts he received while in office. He apologized but refused to resign. He served out his term and left office in 2007.

2004: John Rowland, Connecticut. The popular Republican admitted that he had accepted gifts and home improvements from contractors who sought to do business with the state. In 2004, with impeachment hearings and a federal investigation underway, Rowland admitted guilt. He resigned and served 10 months in prison.

2004: James McGreevey, New Jersey. McGreevey, a Democrat, resigned after acknowledging an affair with a male aide. The aide, an Israeli hired by the governor to head the state's Homeland Security Department despite having little experience, denied any personal involvement with the governor. When the governor announced his resignation, standing with his wife and family, he famously stated, "My truth is that I am a gay American."

2003: Bob Wise, West Virginia. Democrat Bob Wise confessed publicly that he had been unfaithful to his wife. News reports connected him to a female state employee, and the woman's ex-husband filed as a candidate for governor to call attention to the incident. Wise dropped his plans to run for re-election and left office in 2005.

2003: Paul Patton, Kentucky. Democrat Paul Patton admitted having a two-year affair with nursing home operator Tina Conner. In 2003, he was reprimanded and fined by a state ethics commission for actions he took on her behalf. After the relationship ended, Conner sued Patton for harassment and other charges, claiming that he had used his position to harm her business. Patton's term as governor ended in 2003, and he retired from politics.

2001: Parris Glendening , Maryland. The Washington Post revealed that the 59-year-old Democrat was involved in a personal relationship with one of his top aides, Jennifer Crawford, age 34. Her influence had grown steadily after she joined the administration in 1998: She received promotions and raises and went on a number of trips with the governor. They married in 2002, two months after his divorce to his second wife was final.