No one fair observer can deny that our President is a honorable man who has tried to appoint honest people to positions in his Administration and who has done his best to run the government with integrity. Yet beginning with the last election cycle his opponents have tried to paint this as a corrupt Administration, hurling charges at many of the members of it.
There's a certain similarity to the trajectories in these "scandals". X will be charged with something quite horrific, the drumbeat will resonate throughout the media jungle for days, accompanied by new tips from unnamed sources often including hints of far worse crimes and White House involvement and /or withdrawal of supprt; a big hearing will follow after which the facts prove to be quite different and innocuous or exculpatory; and then more leaks hinting of still more "scandal" to come.
The end result, of course, is the tarring and feathering of perfectly honorable people in the minds of the voters who didn't stick around for the poorly reported denouement of the initial claims.
In the meantime no sensible talented person will forego the privacy and perks of non-government employment and staffing options narrow considerably.
- The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
- Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates*
- Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation
- Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify
- Most number of witnesses to die suddenly
- First president sued for sexual harassment.
- First president accused of rape.
- First first lady to come under criminal investigation
- Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
- First president to establish a legal defense fund.
- First president to be held in contempt of court
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad
- First president disbarred from the US Supreme Court and a state court
* According to our best information, 40 government officials were indicted or convicted in the wake of Watergate. A reader computes that there was a total of 31 Reagan era convictions, including 14 because of Iran-Contra and 16 in the Department of Housing & Urban Development scandal. 47 individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine were convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes with 33 of these occurring during the Clinton administration itself. There were in addition 61 indictments or misdemeanor charges. 14 persons were imprisoned. A key difference between the Clinton story and earlier ones was the number of criminals with whom he was associated before entering the White House.
Using a far looser standard that included resignations, David R. Simon and D. Stanley Eitzen in Elite Deviance, say that 138 appointees of the Reagan administration either resigned under an ethical cloud or were criminally indicted. Curiously Haynes Johnson uses the same figure but with a different standard in "Sleep-Walking Through History: America in the Reagan Years: "By the end of his term, 138 administration officials had been convicted, had been indicted, or had been the subject of official investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations. In terms of number of officials involved, the record of his administration was the worst ever."
- Number of Starr-Ray investigation convictions or guilty pleas (including one governor, one associate attorney general and two Clinton business partners): 14
- Number of Clinton Cabinet members who came under criminal investigation: 5
- Number of Reagan cabinet members who came under criminal investigation: 4
- Number of top officials jailed in the Teapot Dome Scandal: 3
- Number of individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes: 47
- Number of these convictions during Clinton's presidency: 33
- Number of indictments/misdemeanor charges: 61
- Number of congressional witnesses who have pleaded the Fifth Amendment, fled the country to avoid testifying, or (in the case of foreign witnesses) refused to be interviewed: 122
- Guilty pleas and convictions obtained by Donald Smaltz in cases involving charges of bribery and fraud against former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy and associated individuals and businesses: 15
- Acquitted or overturned cases (including Espy): 6
- Fines and penalties assessed: $11.5 million
- Amount Tyson Food paid in fines and court costs: $6 million
CLINTON MACHINE CRIMES
FOR WHICH CONVICTIONS
HAVE BEEN OBTAINED
Drug trafficking (3), racketeering, extortion, bribery (4), tax evasion, kickbacks, embezzlement (2), fraud (12), conspiracy (5), fraudulent loans, illegal gifts (1), illegal campaign contributions (5), money laundering (6), perjury, obstruction of justice.