Published On: Oct 24 2011 09:55:10 AM CDTUpdated On: Oct 31 2014 01:23:08 PM CDT
Politics has been marred by sex scandals throughout American history. Take a look at some of the biggest past scandals.
It has long been suspected that former President Thomas Jefferson was the father of several children with his slave, Sally Hemmings.
Shortly after the death of South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond on June 26, 2003, Essie Mae Washington-Williams revealed that she was Thurmond's illegitimate daughter.
Since former President John F. Kennedy's death in 1963, allegations have been made that Kennedy carried on extramarital affairs during his presidency, including with actress Marilyn Monroe.
In 1988, reports emerged of an affair between Democratic presidential hopeful Colorado Sen. Gary Hart and 29-year-old Donna Rice. Following the reports, the National Enquirer published photographs of Rice sitting on Hart's lap aboard a motor yacht called Monkey Business. Five days later, Hart dropped out of the race.
In 1990, the House voted to reprimand Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank when it was revealed that Steve Gobie, a male escort whom Frank had befriended after hiring him through a personal advertisement, claimed to have conducted an escort service from Frank's apartment when he was not at home. The House Ethics Committee found no evidence that Frank had known of or been involved in the alleged illegal activity. Gobie disputes Frank's account.
In 1998, news broke of an affair between then-President Bill Clinton and 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The resulting investigation eventually led to the impeachment of Clinton by the U.S. House of Representatives and his subsequent acquittal on perjury and obstruction of justice charges in a 21-day Senate trial.
In 1998, Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt said he had evidence that U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston had strayed outside of his marriage and he was preparing to publish the information. Livingston got word that the article was pending, and on Dec. 19, 1998, he stepped down as Speaker-elect and announced he would resign from the House in May 1999. Republican David Vitter was elected to replace him. Flynt claimed July 9, 2007, to have made the link between Vitter and so-called "D.C. Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey.
In May 2001, California Rep. Gary Condit became the subject of national news coverage after the April 30 disappearance of Chandra Levy, a Washington, D.C., intern originally from Condit's district. After being questioned by police several times, Condit confessed that the two had an affair.
On Aug. 12, 2004, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey announced: "I am a gay American." The married governor said he had "engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man" -- whom his aides immediately named as his homeland security adviser Golan Cipel -- and that he would resign effective Nov. 15, 2004.
On Aug. 30, 2004, Virginia Rep. Ed Schrock said he would not attempt a third term in Congress amid rumors of homosexuality. After Schrock's announcement, blogACTIVE.com posted links to audio recordings of what the site said was Schrock soliciting sex on a gay phone-sex chatline.
In September 2006, ABC News reported that Florida Rep. Mark Foley had sent sexually explicit e-mail messages and instant messages to a former congressional page. The revelations prompted even more pages to come forward, alleging a history of inappropriate conduct by Foley dating back at least 10 years. Foley resigned from office on Sept. 29, 2006.
In March 2007, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich admitted in an interview that he was having an extramarital affair during the same period as when the House investigated and then impeached President Bill Clinton for his conduct with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Gingrich divorced his second wife in 2000 after his attorneys acknowledged his relationship with his current wife, Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide.
U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after being accused by an undercover officer of soliciting sex at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport on June 11, 2007. Craig later called a news conference to deny that he is gay and announced his intent to resign from the Senate. He later changed his mind, deciding to finish out his term, which expired in January 2009.
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet in a Washington hotel room Feb. 13, 2008, with a prostitute from a call-girl business known as the Emperors Club VIP. Spitzer was not named in the complaint but was referenced as "Client 9," according to law enforcement officials. The complaint indicated that he had used the prostitution service before, although it was not known how often. Spitzer resigned from the governor's post, but has made a comeback in 2013 to run for New York City controller.
Former Sen. John Edwards admitted on Aug. 8, 2008, that he engaged in an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a filmmaker who produced clips of Edwards' presidential campaign. Edwards fathered a child with Hunter.
After his whereabouts were unknown for several days, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford admitted he had affair with a woman from Argentina. Sanford resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors Association and he and his wife eventually divorced.
On Feb. 9, 2011, New York Rep. Christopher Lee resigned after the gossip website Gawker reported that the married congressman had sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman whose Craigslist ad he answered. He said he was quitting because he regretted actions that hurt his family and others.
In May 2011, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, separated after she learned he had fathered a child more than a decade ago with a member of their household staff, the Los Angeles Times reported.
On June 6, 2011, after a week of denials, Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., admitted an explicit photo on his Twitter account was in fact him and that he had been carrying on inappropriate relationships with women he'd met online. Weiner announced 10 days later that he would resign from Congress and he formally resigned on June 21. However, in May 2013 he announced via a YouTube video his intent to run for New York mayor. On July 23, 2013, Weiner confirmed that more sexually-explicit text messages had been sent during his sexting scandal. He fell from first place to last place among Democratic candidates in polling and lost in the primary.
Rep. David Wu resigned in July 2011 after being accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward a fundraiser's daughter.
CIA director DavidPetraeus submitted his resignation to President Barack Obama on Nov. 9, 2012, citing personal reasons. He admitted to having an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell (pictured).
GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain suspended his campaign on Dec. 3, 2011, amid several accusations of sexual misconduct and an allegation by one woman that she had a 13-year affair with the former Godfather's CEO. Cain strongly denied all allegations, but he said the claims were an ongoing distraction and caused his family pain.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, battling a tide of sexual harassment allegations, entered a two-week intensive behavior therapy program on July 29, 2013. When the allegations first began, Filner acknowledged "I need help," and added, "I'm clearly doing something wrong." Weeks later, he resigned.
In April 2014, newly elected Rep. Vance McAllister asked for forgiveness from God, his family and his constituents after a local newspaper published surveillance video of the married Louisiana Republican kissing a female staffer. Later that month, he announced he would not seek re-election.