How the careers of politicians broke down due to sex scandals

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo was forced to resign this week after 11 women immediately filed harassment charges against him. Denying his guilt, Mr. Cuomo nevertheless decided to leave the post. Kommersant recalls other prominent politicians whose careers were interrupted by love.

Sex scandals (adultery, harassment, relationships with prostitutes) are not uncommon in the world of politics. They include both representatives of local authorities and presidents, ministers and heads of international organizations. Some are lucky. Donald Trump was not prevented from becoming president of the United States by accusations of harassment. François Hollande’s numerous mistresses did not cost the Elysee Palace. Finally, Silvio Berlusconi’s life was spoiled more by accusations of corruption than by rumors of fantastic orgies that he had in his villa. But for some, such revelations turn into the end of a career that has been built throughout their lives.

Governor of Selling Love

New Yorkers should get used to this by now. The second governor in a row is leaving office after a sex scandal. Andrew Cuomo at one time replaced Eliot Spitzer, whose career was cut short by, as they would say in the USSR, “immorality.”

Taking office on January 1, 2007, Mr. Spitzer served as head of state for just over a year. Already in March 2008, the media learned that the governor had spent about $ 80,000, some of which turned out to be budgetary funds, on the services of elite prostitutes. Then it turned out that one of the most popular and promising US Democratic politicians was a regular customer of the Emperors Club VIP – a luxurious elite brothel that was run by a certain Kristen Davis. She argued, and Mr. Spitzer did not argue with this, that the governor of New York had repeatedly ordered her girls.

The politician was threatened with charges of transporting people across state lines for the purpose of prostitution (the governor paid for a trip from New York to Washington for one of the priestesses of love) and assistance in laundering the money of that very brothel. In order not to tempt fate and not be subject to impeachment proceedings, Mr. Spitzer decided to withdraw himself. In 2013, he made an attempt to return to politics by running for the post of Chief Auditor of New York, but lost the fight for the post. During the election campaign, he was recalled, among other things, how he spent budget money to satisfy his passions.

The one who did not become president

Gary Hart was a young and promising politician who won two Senate elections from Colorado. And in 1987 he decided to compete for the US presidency.

Mr. Hart was the clear favorite among the Democratic candidates and was ultimately expected to represent the party in the elections. It was said that if anyone could oppose the Republican candidate supported by Ronald Reagan himself, then only Gary Hart.

But Mr. Hart’s political career ended literally in one day, on May 3, 1987.
It was then that two materials appeared in the media almost simultaneously. The first is an interview with a politician in The New York Times, where, among other things, he quite smartly dismissed the accusations of adultery: “Follow me everywhere. Seriously. I don’t care … You will be disappointed. ” But at the time of the interview, the senator did not know that journalists from The Miami Herald had already followed him and they were definitely not disappointed with their mission: they managed to capture how his 29-year-old mistress Donna Rice was leaving the Hart house. And it just so happened that they decided to publish their material about this on May 3, too.

Mr. Hart continued to deny everything, and his wife sided with him. But for the voters, this no longer mattered. His support rating immediately collapsed, and in the primaries in New Hampshire, he lost 10 points to Michael Dukakis (who, in the end, will represent the Democrats in the presidential election, but will outright lose them to George W. Bush). And on May 8, Gary Hart withdrew his candidacy.

In December of the same year, Mr. Hart will also unexpectedly return to the race. But not a trace remained of his former popularity.
Losing one state after another, Mr. Hart finally pulled out of the fight in March 1988. Since then, he did not return to politics, taking up legal practice, writing a dissertation, which he successfully defended, and books. And about his failure in the 1988 elections, the film “How not to become president” was filmed.

Rabbit fright

Leader of the British Liberal Party and Member of Parliament Jeremy Thorpe was in the dock in May 1979 on charges of conspiracy to murder. And Norman Scott (at birth, Josiff) was supposed to be his intended victim. In any case, that’s what Scott himself said.

In fact, Scott and Thorpe have been lovers since the early 1960s and in their correspondence they called each other “bunnies,” which the politician, of course, did not want to talk about. The criminalization of same-sex sex in England was abolished in 1967, but such news would hardly have added to the popularity of Thorpe and his party. And Scott, who suffered for a long time From time to time from mental disorders, he constantly threatened the parliamentarian to reveal their secret.

Scott made several attempts to publicize their relationship, but all investigations, both within the party and the police, ended in an acquittal of a prominent politician.
Nevertheless, by the mid-1970s, Scott’s blackmailing had finally tired Jeremy Thorpe, and he decided to silence his former lover.

In October 1975, as Scott himself claimed in court, Andrew Newton (a pilot who Thorpe found through intermediaries and agreed to become the perpetrator of the murder for 10 thousand pounds) came to his house. Newton shot Scott’s dog, which later died, and also intended to kill Scott himself. Newton admitted in court that he received money from Thorpe, but did not intend to kill his lover. And the pistol was pointed at Scott only to intimidate him.

As a result, Newton was sentenced to two years in prison. Thorpe escaped punishment, but his career went downhill. On May 10, 1976, he resigned from the post of party leader, and after a couple of years, amid a new investigation, he began to stay out of public attention altogether. Despite the final acquittal, in 1979 Mr. Thorpe finally left the party and politics. By the way, this scandal did not go unnoticed by television figures: in 2018, the series “A Very English Scandal” was filmed about it.

Spy triangle

And again Great Britain of the 1960s. The era of incessant spy scandals and revelations. John Profumo got into one of them.

Mr. Profumo was the heir to a multimillion-dollar fortune, married to actress Valerie Hobson and in 1960 received the post of Minister of War. Nevertheless, all this did not save him from a short-term affair on the side – with 19-year-old dancer Christine Keeler.

Mr. Profumo in every possible way denied the connection with the girl, and perhaps no one would have ever remembered their story if it had not been for the shooting in London at the end of 1962. Keeler’s two other lovers are associated with her, and both were celebrities from the world of jazz – singer Lucky Gordon and promoter Joni Edgecomb. Once Edgecomb slashed the singer in the face with a knife out of jealousy, after which Keeler finally broke off relations with him. But in December he came to her house and fired five shots at the wall of the building. After that, he was arrested, all local newspapers wrote about the incident, which immediately began to unearth information about the involuntary culprit of the incident.

It was then that it turned out that Keeler had been meeting with Minister Profumo for several weeks. Adultery would most likely spoil the image of the military, but it would hardly put an end to his career.

Much more terrible for him turned out to be the second detail found out by journalists: Keeler at the same time met with Yevgeny Ivanov, an assistant to the naval attaché in Great Britain, and at the same time a colonel of the GRU of the USSR and a Soviet intelligence officer. This means that he could receive the information he needed through Keeler, which he shared with the girl Profumo.
The Minister of War made a speech in Parliament in March 1963, where he denied sexual relations with Christine Keeler. But his letter to the dancer, published soon after, put an end to this story. Lies in parliament were not forgiven then. John Profumo lost his position and left the world of politics forever.

Shahi Reza’s Tale

In the career of Paul Wolfowitz, an influential American politician who spent many years serving in the US State Department and the Pentagon, there were two significant scandals. Both happened in 2007 and both are associated with the Arab world. Then he already served as the head of the World Bank (WB).

In January, when visiting the mosque, Wolfowitz had to take off his shoes, as it is not allowed to wear shoes in mosques. Then it turned out that the head of the World Bank had holey socks. The embarrassment turned into the creation of a playful international fund for new socks for Mr. Wolfowitz.

But after the second scandal, Paul Wolfowitz was no longer laughing.

In April of the same year, it was revealed that Wolfowitz had used his official position to arrange a fabulous life for his longtime mistress, 52-year-old British Libyan-born Shahi Reza.
The WB leadership, having learned about their relationship, decided to make sure that Wolfowitz could not have a conflict of interest. Paul Wolfowitz was elected president of the bank in June 2005, and in September Shaha Reza resigned from there. She received a new position in the “Fund for the Future” subordinate to the US State Department. But at the same time, Paul Wolfowitz could assign her any salary at his discretion. He appointed. As a result, in 2006 she earned $ 193,000 in her new position — $ 60,000 more than her salary at the World Bank, and even $ 7,000 more than her boss, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The case was examined by the WB committee on corporate ethics for almost a month and came to the conclusion that the head of the WB “by his actions violated the internal code of conduct of the bank’s employees.” As a result, Paul Wolfowitz resigned.

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