The humiliation that goes along with being cheated on is terrible for anyone, but especially if there is a politician involved. Politicians live a highly scrutinized and extremely public life. Now, more than ever, the public has access to intimate details of the lives of those elected to office.
The shame of the cheater is heightened even further if they got elected under a platform for strong family values. Today we revisit the inappropriate tweets, the lurid photos caught on phone, the “sext” messages that were leaked and the media frenzy that followed. Remember which politician went by the alias Carlos Danger, and who thought his staffers overreacted to his harmless tickling. Did you know one famous cheat inspired the CBS show, “The Good Wife,” and check out number one to find out how a Star Trek star helped elect president Obama.
20. In 2011, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and long-time wife Maria Shriver split when it was revealed that Schwarzenegger fathered an illegitimate child with a member of his household staff. Worse, his illegitimate son was born five days after his fourth son with Maria. Schwarzenegger has also openly admitting to cheating on Maria with actress Brigitte Nielsen during the filming of “Red Sonja.”
19. In 2009, reports appeared stating that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was missing. He told his wife he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but in reality he was visiting Argentina to spend quality time with his mistress Maria Belen Chapur. The South Carolina General Assembly censured Sanford for misusing public funds to help cover up his affair.
18. During the 2008 presidential campaign, news broke that vice-president candidate John Edwards was the father of an illegitimate child. For two years Edwards denied that he was the father of the child of his campaign staff member, Rielle Hunter, until Rielle wrote a book about the affair and talked openly about their sex tape.
17. In 2007 conservative and homophobic U.S. Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) got caught attempting to solicit sex. He was in the men’s restroom in a Minnesota airport. Craig denies that he is gay and claims he was not tapping his foot for sex but rather picking up a piece of paper in the bathroom stall.
16. Also in 2007, Hustler Magazine discovered Senator David Vitter’s (R-La.) phone number in the phone records of Deborah Jean Palfrey, also known as the “D.C. Madam.” Vitter was a strong conservative and talked often about family values. When he was discovered, he apologized to his wife and publicly asked for forgiveness.
15. In 2006, Representative Mark Foley (R-Fla.) resigned amid allegations that he sent inappropriate messages to teenage male congressional pages. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement became involved but never filed charges, claiming both Congress and Foley denied access to critical information. A month later, the Republicans lost the House of Representatives.
14. Representative Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) resigned after allegations that he sexually harassed male staffers. He was accused of groping male staff members and behaving improperly toward the interns. Massa stated that groping was a strong word for the tickling that occurred at his 50th birthday party. Apparently, Massa often tickled his staff members and Navy friends.
13. In 2001, U.S. Representative Gary Condit (D-Calif.) lied to authorities about an affair he was having with Chandra Levy, an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Levy was missing and police were desperate to find any clues they could about the young woman. When Levy disappeared, Condit was under a large amount of disapproval and condemnation. It took the discovery of Levy’s remains and the prosecution of her killer before Condit was exonerated.
12. In 2011 U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) used Twitter to send sexually explicit messages to a young female follower. Because of the pronunciation of his last name, Weiner’s sex scandal was often joked about on late-night television. After the scandal Weiner resigned from Congress but continued to send messages to young women under the alias Carlos Danger.
11. New York Governor Eliot Spitzer spent $80,000 on prostitutes at the Emperors Club VIP.
The New York Times reported that Spitzer used campaign funds to pay prostitutes. Although he was never prosecuted, he resigned during an FBI investigation.
10. New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey appointed close friend Golan Cipel to homeland security adviser, despite a complete lack of credentials. Then he asked for Cipel’s resignation. When Cipel threatened to sue for sexual harassment, McGreevey publicly announced that he was gay and admitted to the affair.
9. Los Angeles city councilman Jose Huizar was another politicician slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit. Although he denies harassing his aide, he did admit to the affair. His admission was part of the inspiration for the CBS series “The Good Wife.”
8. Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was also rocked by a political scandal when he admitted to a relationship with Telemundo anchorwoman Mirthala Salinas. Villaraigosa was a rising Democrat star, but his political standing and his marriage never recovered from the scandal. Many people believed Villaraigosa was a shoe-in for a cabinet position under the Obama administration until the scandal.
7. Bill Clinton is perhaps the most infamous sex scandal because of what occurred in the Oval Office between Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was impeached for lying about his relationship with Lewinsky, stating adamantly that he never had sexual relations with the intern. His public affair has been hotly debated, criticized, and made the butt of numerous jokes for almost 20 years.
6. San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros was the first Latino appointed to a Cabinet position. But in 1997 he was indicted on 18 counts of conspiracy, giving false statements, and obstruction of justice, because he lied to the FBI about an affair they were investigating. He resigned, pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of lying to the FBI, and was fined $10,000.
5. When Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) hired Steve Gobie, a male prostitute, for sex, the two became close friends. Frank then hired Gobie as a housekeeper/driver and allowed him to live in Frank’s residence. But he evicted Gobie when he learned the prostitute was turning tricks out of his home. Frank told The Washington Times about his experience, hoping the exposure would land him a book deal.
4. David Petraeus was a four-star general, a Director of the CIA, and was rumored to be a presidential candidate until he leaked classified information to his mistress. Paula Broadwell was writing Petraeus’s biography when the two began an illicit affair.
3. Representative Christopher Lee (R-N.Y), resigned from the House of Representatives after responding to a woman’s ad on Craigslist with a bare-chested photo. Lee replied to the woman’s ad in the women for men section on Craigslist, despite the fact that he was married and has one young child. The two exchanged numerous emails and Lee sent photos posing shirtless while he flexed his muscles. The woman broke off the exchange after an Internet search revealed Lee was not who he claimed to be.
2. Less than four months into the job, U.S. Representative Vance McAllister (R-La.) was caught on tape kissing a female staff member. Both he and the staffer, Melissa Hixon Peacock, were married at the time. McAllister was also elected on a platform that promised strong family values.
1. Republican Jack Ryan was running for the Illinois Senate when his wife, Jeri Lynn Ryan of Star Trek: Voyager, filed for divorce. She alleged that Ryan took her to strange clubs and asked her to commit sexual acts in front of others. Ryan dropped out of the race, and the Illinois seat was easily won by his opponent, Barack Obama.