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In today's 24/7 news cycle, every politician is under a microscope: An accidental yawn during the "Star Spangled Banner," a picture capturing a glance at a passing woman's cleavage, a summer in college spent performing panda abortions; the public is willing to hamstring you for even the slightest, most well-intentioned violations. So when it's revealed that a politician has a legitimately reprehensible history--the kind of past that no one, regardless of political affiliation, could defend--surely their career is over. Unless, you know, the voting public just straight doesn't give a shit.

5
Wilbur Mills

As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Arkansas Congressman Wilbur Mills, 65, savored his reputation as the most powerful man in Congress. He also savored a nice cold drink and some pipin' hot stripper-crotch:

On October 7, 1974, Washington D.C. police stopped a car for driving with no headlights. Mills emerged from the vehicle, bleeding and intoxicated--standard fare for a politician these days. Hell, we'd be concerned if there was a politician who didn't periodically emerge from vehicles drunk and wounded. It's the same reason why Disneyland is creepy: if the facade is that squeaky clean, they must be really good at hiding the seriously dark shit.

But things jumped to Andy Dick-levels when a local stripper booted open the passenger side door, sprinted out of the car and leapt into the nearby waters of the Tidal Basin and began fucking swimming away in an attempt to escape.

The woman, who performed under the stage name "Fanne Foxe, the Argentine Firecracker" was arrested and taken to the hospital for the two black eyes that she had received from Mills in a prior escape attempt. That's right, the epically panicked suicide-fleeing wasn't from the cops, it was from the politician!

Obviously, she later admitted to a sexual relationship with the married, 65-year-old congressman. That's par for the course for a politician, but the beatings and implied whore-napping are what really set Mills apart from the pack.

Voters' (Ill-Advised) Response:

Mills was reelected to Congress with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Less than a month after reelection, Mills rewarded the voters' trust by drunkenly joining Foxe (yes, they got back together; you just can't keep star-crossed lovers apart, even if those stars are from the repeated punches to the face she gets for trying to exit his Corvette) onstage at The Pilgrim Theatre in Boston, a burlesque house where Foxe was performing. He then held a press conference from Foxe's dressing room.


Usually strippers aren't afraid of shit.

Ha ha! Seriously?! That's so ballsy we can't even condemn it. You've got our vote, you shameless bastard.

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4
Buddy Cianci, Jr.

Buddy Cianci, Jr. is a prominent Rhode Island political figure. As a young, charismatic ex-soldier running on an anti-corruption stance, Cianci was first elected mayor of Providence in 1974. Over the next decade, he would become so popular that he was considered as a candidate for national-level political positions as prestigious and high-ranking as the role of Vice President. All the more impressive when you realize that this could have had absolutely nothing to do with physical charisma:

In 1984, Cianci was forced by law to resign after pleading guilty to kidnapping and assaulting a contractor. His motive? He thought his wife was cheating on him... so he beat the man with an ashtray, burnt him with cigarettes and pummeled him relentlessly with a fireplace log. Vote Buddy Cianci! Because he totally wanted to burn that guy to death, but managed to restrain himself!

Voters' (Ill-Advised) Response:

In 1990, Cianci was elected back to his position as mayor. Deciding to stick with the theme, Buddy would again disgrace the office roughly 10 years later. In 2001, he was indicted and convicted of racketeering conspiracy (running a corrupt criminal enterprise) and sentenced to five years in jail. He was released in 2007; earlier this year he indicated that he intends to run for a seat in the House. That's right; he's setting his sights higher now that he's been imprisoned twice.

Buddy Cianci apparently thinks political ambition works like gangland status; you've gotta spend significant time in the joint before anybody takes you seriously enough to promote, and on your first day in office you either become somebody's bitch, or beat a man half to death with a Duraflame.

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3
Alcee Hastings

Originally appointed to the lifetime position of U.S. District Judge by Jimmy Carter in 1979, Alcee Hastings soon faced allegations that he was accepting bribes in exchange for favorable decisions in the court room.


Dammit, Carter!

Here's what went down: Two brothers, Frank and Thomas Romano, were accused of stealing a million dollars from a union pension fund (because it's always a good idea to steal from the unions; no way they have backup). The brothers were to be convicted in Hastings's court, when a friend of Hastings, serving as the go-between for the parties, approached an associate of the brothers and asked for a $150,000 bribe. An undercover FBI agent posing as Romano paid Hastings's representative a $25,000 down payment, because apparently bribing the US Justice system has the same payment plan as buying a used Kia.

When it became clear the agent was not Romano, Hastings quickly threw out the judgment and made a big show of making the brothers give the stolen million dollars back. Regardless, the FBI moved in and arrested his associate. Hastings, after hearing of the arrest, fled to Florida--which every good criminal knows is a lawless wasteland where life itself struggles to exist.

Even still, the FBI managed to arrest him shortly after.

However, Hastings subscribed to the Barry Bonds school of avoiding justice: His friend and associate chose to go to prison himself rather than testify against Hastings. After a jury found him not guilty, the Senate decided to take another look, and ultimately convict him and remove him from office.

Voters' (Ill-Advised) Response:

In 1992, just three damn years after Alcee Hastings ran from the cops to Florida, he ran and was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. Because shit, it's Florida: Voters were just happy to finally be voting for something that wasn't a serial rapist or an alligator.

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2
Robert Byrd

As a young man, Robert Byrd impressed a venerable elder official so much he felt compelled to comment: "The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation." Byrd took the message to heart and today, he's the senior senator from West Virginia.

Of course, the inspiration becomes less Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-esque when you find out the man doling out the compliment was Joel Baskin: Mid-Atlantic Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. So what did Byrd do to impress him so much? Something unrelated, right? We understand you can't control the nature of your admirers, just look at the comments: Most of our fans are borderline-sociopaths.

Wrong! He organized 150 people to form their own chapter of the KKK, even instituting the brilliant idea to charge them $3 for the robe and hood.


We're practically giving these stylish new klan hoods away!

For his ability to coordinate the uniforms, something that's pretty run of the mill when it comes to volunteer Little League coaches, but apparently unheard of in the Klan, his newly founded chapter elected him "Exalted Cyclops." Which is like, the Klan's second coolest rank next to "Sacred Wolverine."

During his 1952 bid for the House of Representatives, his opponents revealed the former ties to the KKK, which Byrd reluctantly acknowledged, explaining that he only belonged to the Klan from "mid-1942 to early 1943" and he only joined in the first place "because it offered excitement and was strongly opposed to communism." In other words, Byrd didn't think it was that big of a deal, because he only wanted to hang black people for like, eight months tops. And really, the Klan is less like a sinister hate group and more like a white trash G.I. Joe, anyway.


Yo, Joe!

When Byrd's opponent uncovered a letter Byrd had handwritten to the KKK Imperial Wizard (the Klan's corporate infrastructure was designed by a team of 13 year old fantasy fiction geeks for whatever reason) recommending a friend and urging promotion of the Klan throughout the country, dated 1946--well after when Byrd claimed he had left the Klan behind for good--Byrd's fellow Democrats pressured him to drop out of the race.

Voters' (Ill-Advised) Response:

Byrd won the election and went on to serve six years in the House before winning his Senate seat in 1958. Today he's the longest serving Senator in U.S. History.

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1
Marion Barry

Heading into the 90s, Marion Barry, the three-term mayor of Washington, D.C., was looking towards a new decade of progress and success, riding high on a wave of political popularity.

Also, crack cocaine. Just... just a whole entire wave of crack cocaine.

Barry and his ex-girlfriend were arrested in a joint operation by the FBI and DC Police while smoking crack in a local hotel room. Displaying the quick-wit that helped him charm voters, Barry found the only way to make getting caught smoking crack in a run-down hotel worse, when he muttered "bitch set me up" in response. Footage of the arrest (and quote) was widely shown on television, and Berry was convicted and sentenced to a six-month prison term.


Fortunately, this event predated the Internet meme.

Voters' (Ill-Advised) Response:

After being released from prison, Barry ran for a seat on the city council under the laughably inappropriate slogan "He May Not Be Perfect, But He's Perfect for D.C."

Either voters' long-term memory was so shoddy that they completely missed the implied dig at their hometown ("Ladies and Gentlemen, I may be a crackhead, but what better man to lead Crackville?!") or the earnest slogan simple mobilized the notoriously active tweeker demographic, because he won easily.


Not a good thing.

Barry would again run into problems with the law when it was revealed that he failed to file tax returns... for nine of the last 10 years. And failed the mandatory drug testing during the hearing. And was arrested and charged with stalking Donna Watts-Brighthaupt in 2009.

Jesus, Barry! You know, this raises an interesting conundrum: Maybe D.C.'s reputation as a drug-plagued criminal wonderland is undeserved; at this point, it is not unreasonable to assume that all that crack and every single crime committed in the name of it is Marion Berry out there in the back-alleys somewhere, just being an overachiever.

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