This disgraced congressman took sexting to a whole new level. It started in 2011, when then Rep. Anthony Weiner tweeted a waist-down photo to a 21-year old female college student in Seattle. Initial claims of hacking followed by bold defiance eventually culminated in Weiner’s resignation from Congress in June 2011. Fast forward to May 2013, when Weiner announced his re-entry into politics running for mayor of New York City, saying he had learned from his mistakes. Apparently not. As soon as July of that year, Weiner admitted his habit of sending sexually explicit photos and messages to women online persisted even after his resignation from Congress. But he remained in the race for mayor for a bit, only to end up washing out. In a November interview with GQ magazine, Weiner mused, “Maybe if the Internet didn’t exist? Like if I was running in 1955? I’d probably get elected mayor.” In early December, according to The New York Daily News’ Confidenti@l blog, Weiner was talking with both WABC and WOR about the possibility of hosting a news-and-chat show. But both companies have flat-out denied the rumors.
Back in 2008, Eliot Spitzer, or “Client 9,” resigned as governor of New York amid disclosures that he had paid as much as $80,000 to a high-end prostitution service called the Emperors Club VIP over several years. Initially identified as an anonymous client, Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap arranging a rendezvous with a woman at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Post-resignation, he joined CNN in 2010 as one of the hosts of "Parker Spitzer." He left CNN in 2011 when his show was canceled. In 2012, he briefly joined Current TV but it wasn’t until a little more than five years after his prostitution scandal when Spitzer announced his political comeback bid for comptroller of New York City. It was not meant to be, as Spitzer was defeated by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. But it seems he’s destined to stay in the scandal spotlight. According to one Dec. 23 report in the New York Post, Spitzer’s dalliances haven’t exactly come to an end -- and the ex-gov and his wife reportedly have announced their marriage is over.
The former South Carolina governor’s political career was, temporarily, set back by an extramarital affair. In 2009, Sanford vanished for five days claiming he had gone to hike the Appalachian Trail. In actuality, he was visiting his then-mistress, María Belén Chapur, in Argentina. Sanford paid a $70,000 ethics fine for using public money to fly for personal reasons, and his wife divorced him in March 2010. Sanford and Chapur were engaged in August 2012. He temporarily signed on as a Fox News contributor. Four years after drama and scandal sidelined Sanford from politics, though, he returned to D.C. in May 2013 with Chapur at his side to be sworn in as a Republican congressman from South Carolina.
On June 11, 2007, then-Republican Idaho Sen. Larry Craig’s political career veered off course when he took a pit stop in a Minneapolis airport men’s room. Craig was arrested for alleged “lewd behavior” by an undercover officer conducting a sting operation against men looking for sex at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Craig pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge. Later that year, at a September news conference, Craig announced his intention to resign, only to later refuse to step down. Craig did not run for re-election in 2008, and the bathroom incident effectively ended his political career. In 2011, Craig re-emerged in D.C. as a lobbyist. Later in 2012, the Federal Election Commission sued Craig for repayment of $217,000 of campaign funds plus fines of $6,500. Craig used the money to pay for his defense in the case, claiming the trip to the bathroom where he was arrested was part of "official" Senate business.
As a former senator from North Carolina, a Democratic vice presidential candidate and two-time presidential candidate, John Edwards held a lot of political promise. Who knew the supermarket tabloid, The National Enquirer, would destroy Edwards’ political aspirations? It eventually came to light that Edwards was having an affair with Rielle Hunter, a filmmaker working on his presidential campaign who was pregnant with the couple's lovechild. Edwards remained largely out of the public eye since a federal jury acquitted him in 2012 of one count in a corruption case stemming from charges that he misused campaign funds to conceal his relationship with Hunter. The jury deadlocked on the other charges. Setting his political aspirations aside, Edwards recently reactivated his license to practice law with offices in Raleigh, N.C. and Washington, D.C.
The former two-term governor of Illinois is currently serving a 14-year sentence for corruption at a federal prison in Colorado. In June 2011, he was convicted of 17 counts of wire fraud, attempted extortion, bribery, conspiracy to commit extortion, and conspiracy to commit bribery – as part of an attempt to sell President Obama’s former Senate seat in exchange for political favors. It took two trials for the federal government to win a conviction against Blagojevich.
The scandalous private lives of politicians have always captivated the public, and so has the possibility of redemption. Have the bounds of tolerable behavior stretched? What is it about political revivals that have us rooting for career reboots? While you ponder those questions, here’s a look back at some of the big recent political scandals and where the prime players are today -- some better off than others.