Mark Sanford's unexpected and emotional revelation of an affair yesterday has caused much hand-wringing about the future of a seemingly scandal-plagued GOP. Critics are quick to point out that the party espousing "family" values seems to be having some difficulty getting its representatives to live accordingly. But here at the Gaggle, our memories are a little longer. We recall the days, not so long ago, when it seemed as though Democrats were the ones having trouble keeping their pants on. So we tasked our wonderful intern Aku Ammah-Tagoe to tally up who's been doing what to whom since the Wayne Hays scandal of 1976. My penchant for PowerPoint graphs once again proved irresistible, so I turned the results into graphic form. (Please note, this is not an entirely scientific analysis. Politicians are grouped by year, according to when the affair/scandal was exposed.)
It's impossible to say whether affairs are more common now, or the media has gotten better at reporting on them, or the news cycle and new mediums allow for less privacy. There are potentially other factors at play too, like the fact that few Congressmen bring their families to live with them in DC these days as was common in the past. Now the pressures of fundraising drive members back to their districts whenever Congress is not in session. Perhaps these split-city lives place more strain on relationships than before. Or perhaps, as conservatives and even some feminists would argue, the overt sexualization of popular culture has altered our societal expectations of sex, its availability, and when and where it is appropriate. But I don't think there is an academically sound way to prove any of these hypotheses. Pick the one you like, and argue amongst yourselves.
One last thing to note is that just one female politician made the list: Helen Chenoweth, who admitted in 1998 to having an eight-year affair with a rancher in her home state of Idaho during the 1980s. Ironically (or maybe hypocritcally), Chenoweth was a vocal critic of President Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. So that is one out of 53, or 1.9%. Yes there are fewer women in politics overall, but this figure is a significantly smaller proportion than that. Maybe the solution to the political distraction and damage of sex scandals is simply to elect more women.
Aku's full list is after the jump. If we've missed anyone, please let us know in the comments and we'll update the graph.
1. Wayne Hays (1976): Affair with secretary (one of the first major sex scandals)
2. Allan Howe (1976): Solicited sex with two prostitutes (both of whom were undercover cops)
3. John Young (1976): Staffer alleged sexual harrassment
4. Fred Richmond (1978): Charged with soliciting sex from a 16-year-old boy.
5. Gerry Studds (1983): Reprimanded for having sex with a male teenage House page
6. Gary Hart (1988): Affair with model Donna Rice.
7. Barney Frank (1989): Affair with male prostitute, who also conducted business in Frank's home.
8. Chuck Robb (1991): Admitted to receiving a nude massage from a former Miss Virginia.
9. Brock Adams (1992): Eight women accused him of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape.
10. Mel Reynolds (1994): Sexual relationship with 16-year-old campaign volunteer.
11. Bill Clinton (1998): Affair with intern Monica Lewinsky.
12. Gary Condit (2001): Affair with (murdered) intern Chandra Levy.
13. Paul Patton (2002): Affair with nursing home operator; when the affair ended the state of Kentucky filed numerous violations against her business.
14. Bob Wise (2003): Affair with a state government staffer
15. Jim McGreevey (2004): Resigned as NJ governor after admitting that he is "a gay American"
16. Neil Goldschmidt (2004): Admitted to having a relationship with a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s.
17. Roosevelt Dobbins (2005): Congressman form Arkansas, pleaded guilty to fondling a 16-year-old.
18. Gavin Newsom (2007): Affair with the wife of a top aide.
19. Antonio Villaraigosa (2007): Affair with a television reporter.
20. Tim Mahoney (2008): Admitted to multiple affairs.
21. Eliot Spitzer (2008): Involved in prostitution scandal.
22. Paul Morrison (2008): Affair with administrative staffer while Attorney General of Kansas, pressured her to reveal information about Kansas D.A.
23. Marc Dann (2008): Attorney General of Ohio, had an affair with a staffer.
24. David Paterson (2008): Admitted that both he and his wife had extramarital affairs
25. John Edwards (2008): Had an affair with a campaign employee while running for President.
26. Kwame Kilpatrick (2008): Text messaging sex scandal
27. Sam Adams (2009): Portland, OR mayor lied about relationship with 18-year-old male intern.
1. Tom Evans (1980): Along with other politicians, accused of being involved with lobbyist/former Playboy model Paula Parkinson.
2. Bob Bauman (1980): Solicited sex from a 16-year-old boy
3. Jon Hinson (1980): Caught attempting to have oral sex in a men's House restroom.
4. John G. Schmitz (1982): Had an affair that led to an out-of-wedlock child.
5. Dan Crane (1983): Reprimanded for having sex with a teenage House page.
6. (Buz Lukens (1989): Spent time in jail after having sex with a 16-year-old girl.
7. Jon Grunseth (1990): Swam nude with group of 13-year-old girls; suspended gubernatorial run.
8. Ken Calvert (1993): Arrested while soliciting a prostitute.
9. Bob Packwood (1995): Resigned from Senate amid allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.
10. Bob Livingston (1998): Admitted to multiple extramarital affairs.
11. Helen Chenoweth-Hage (1998): Admitted to a six year affair with a married rancher in her home state of Idaho
12. Henry Hyde (1998): Admitted he'd had an affair many years prior
13. Rudy Giuliani (2002): Ex-wife Donna Hanover accused him of "notorious adultery"; he's now married to Judith Nathan, his girlfriend at the time.
14. Steve LaTourette (2003): Accused of affair with staffer, who he later married.
15. Jack Ryan (2004): Former wife Jeri claimed he took her to sex clubs and pressured her to have sex in public.
16. James West (2005): Removed as mayor of Spokane, WA after an gay Internet sex scandal.
17. Don Sherwood (2006): Affair with 29-year-old woman while he was a PA congressman.
18. Mark Foley (2006): Involved in a texting scandal with male House pages
19. Bob Allen (2007): Solicited oral sex from a male undercover cop.
20. Newt Gingrich (2007):Acknowledged having an affair in the 1990s
21. Charles Boutin (2007): Resigned from MD Public Service Comission after email exchanges with a prostitute surfaced.
22. David Vitter (2007): Part of the DC Madam scandal
23. Larry Craig (2007): Bathroom sex solicitation scandal.
24. Vito Fossella (2008): Affair with a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel.
25. John Ensign (2009): Admitted to having an affair with a married staffer.
26. Mark Sanford (2009): Affair with a woman in Argentina.