FOX Facts: Senators Indicted While in Office

The following is a list of U.S. senators indicted while serving in the Senate:

John Smith (R-Ohio)

Served in the Senate from April 1, 1803, to April 25, 1808. Indicted with former Vice President Aaron Burr on charges of conspiring to commit treason. Found not guilty by the jury; Senate failed to expel him by one vote. Smith resigned from the Senate on April 25, 1808, at the request of the Ohio legislature.

Charles H. Dietrich (R-Neb.)

Served in the Senate from Jan.3, 1901, to March 3, 1905. Indicted on Dec. 28, 1903, on charges of accepting a bribe in return for procuring a postmastership and entering into a contract with the government while a senator. Acquitted on Jan. 8, 1904; found innocent by the Senate.

Joseph R. Burton (R-Kansas), Convicted

Served in the Senate from March 4, 1901, to June 4, 1906. Indicted and convicted on the charge of receiving compensation for services rendered before a federal department. Supreme Court upheld his conviction on May 21, 1906, and Burton resigned from the Senate before he could be expelled. He served five months in prison.

John Hipple Mitchell (R-Ore.), Convicted

Served in the Senate from March 4, 1873, to March 3, 1879; March 4, 1885, to March 3, 1897; and March 4, 1901, to Dec. 8, 1905. In July 1905, he was convicted in the United States District Court on an indictment of having received fees for expediting the land claims of clients before the United States Land Commission. He died while the case was being appealed and before the Senate could act on his expulsion.

Truman H. Newberry (R-Mich.)

Served in the Senate from March 4, 1919, to Nov. 18, 1922. Indicted with 134 others on Nov. 29, 1919, on charges of conspiracy in violation of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act. He was accused of spending $3,750 to secure his election to the Senate.

On March 20, 1920, Newberry was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison and fined $10,000. The conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court on May 2, 1921, on the grounds that the Senate exceeded its powers in attempting to regulate primary elections.

Newberry resigned two days before the beginning of the third session of the 67th Congress, as certain members of the Senate resumed efforts to unseat him.

Burton K. Wheeler (D-Mont.)

Served in the Senate from March 4, 1923, to Jan. 3, 1947. Indicted in 1924 by a grand jury on charges of serving in causes while a senator in which the United States was a party, in violation of the law. Senate exonerated him based on committee report which found his retainer related to litigation in the state courts and not before any government department. Subsequently acquitted in court.

Edward J. Gurney (R-Fla.)

Served in the Senate from Jan. 3, 1969, to Dec. 31, 1974. Indicted on July 10, 1974, for lying to a grand jury and bribery. Did not stand for re-election. Acquitted on Oct. 27, 1976.

Harrison A. Williams Jr. (D-N.J.), Convicted

Served in the Senate from Jan. 3, 1959, to March 11, 1982. Indicted on Oct. 30, 1980, on charges of corruption for taking money in return for obtaining a government contract. On May 1, 1981, he was convicted on one count of conspiracy and two counts each of bribery, conflict of interest, receiving a criminal gratuity, and interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprise.

The Senate Ethics Committee recommended his expulsion; but after a debate on the Senate floor, Williams resigned before a vote on expulsion could be taken. He was sentenced to three years in prison, of which he served 21 months.

David F. Durenberger (R-Minn.)

Served in the Senate from Nov. 8, 1978, to Jan. 3, 1995. Indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington D.C. on April 2, 1993, on two criminal charges of conspiring to file fraudulent claims for Senate reimbursement of $3,825 in lodging expenses during 1987 and 1988.

On Dec. 6, 1993, federal district judge Warren Urbom dismissed the indictment on grounds that the Justice Department improperly presented to the grand jury portions of reports by the Senate Ethics Committee and its special counsel in violation of the Constitution's "Speech and Debate" clause. On Feb. 25, 1994, the Justice Department obtained a new two-count indictment similar to the indictment of April 1993.

On Aug. 22, 1995, Durenberger pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of converting public funds to his personal use in return for an agreement by the Justice Department to drop the pending felony charges and not recommend prison time. On Nov. 29, 1995, a U.S. District Court judge sentenced Durenberger to one year of probation and a $1,000 fine.

Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)

Served in the Senate from June 5, 1993, to the present. Indicted by a federal grand jury in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 27, 1993, on three counts of official misconduct connected with using her position as state treasurer for her "personal benefit" while preparing for her Senate campaign, and two counts of tampering with evidence to impede an investigation of these charges.

On Oct. 22, 1993, the Travis County district attorney withdrew all five indictments because the grand jury had been illegally impounded. The charges were subsequently presented to a new grand jury and identical indictments were returned on Dec. 8, 1993. On Jan. 6, 1994, a third, new indictment accused Hutchison of misuse of treasury employees, using computers for personal and political purposes and altering computer archives.

On Feb. 11, 1994, Judge John F. Onion Jr. ordered her acquittal after the Travis County district attorney refused to present his case until the judge agreed to rule on the admissibility of certain key evidence.

Source: Senate Historical Office.