In honor of April Fools’ Day, Townhall Magazine came up with a list of 10 politicians we can’t believe ever got elected or—even worse—re-elected to office after engaging in outrageous and oftentimes illegal behavior. It’s no surprise there’s dysfunction in government, considering some of the people voters have sent over the years to represent them. The joke’s on all of us.
Excerpted from Townhall Magazine's April installemnt of The A-List, "10 Politicians We Can't Believe Ever Got Elected-Or Re-Elected," by John Hanlon:
1.) Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
The brother of a former president and a former presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Kennedy had limitless political possibilities ahead of him in the 1960s. But in 1969, a car Kennedy was driving went off a bridge and Mary Jo Kopechne—his fellow passenger— was killed. Kennedy failed to report the accident until the next day and “pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident,” according to CNN.com. But the voters didn’t hold that against him. He was re-elected senator until his death in 2009.
2.) Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)
In 2005, FBI agents “found $90,000 in marked bills in [Congressman William] Jefferson’s freezer,” according to The New York Times. He won re-election in 2006 but was eventually defeated in 2008. He was later sentenced to a 13-year prison sentence “on a slew of federal corruption charges,” according to Politico.
3.) Rep. Charles Diggs (D-MI)
The late Rep. Charles Diggs “was indicted on charges that, among other things, he had taken kickbacks from three of his Congressional employees” in 1978, according to The New York Times. As the paper reports, he was found “guilty of all 29 counts against him in October 1978” before winning re-election. He was eventually censored and went to prison.
4.) Alderman/Rep./Mayor/Gov. James Michael Curley (D-MA)
According to Slate.com, Massachusetts Democrat James Michael Curley “won an alderman’s seat in 1904 while serving time for impersonating a friend and taking the civil-service exam.” He was later elected representative, mayor of Boston and the governor of Massachusetts. His criminal record continued into his career. According to Slate, “he was convicted of mail fraud” and spent time in jail as mayor before President Harry Truman intervened.
5.) D.C. Mayor/ Councilman Marion Barry (Democrat)
Marion Barry is now a councilman in the nation’s capital but previously served as the city’s mayor. As mayor, Barry was caught “smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room” in 1990, according to CNN.com. Four years later, he was re-elected mayor.