UPDATED: Comparing Presidential Administrations by felony arrests and convictions (as of 9/17/2018)
By Royal Scribe
In January of 2017, little more than a week before Donald Trump’s inauguration, I wrote a diary comparing U.S. Presidential Administrations by the number of people arrested, convicted, and imprisoned since Richard Nixon’s Administration.
The original diary was written as a warning to Trump, who was quickly putting up Administration nominees with little vetting and before their ethical reviews could be completed. I warned that many of those candidates might find themselves in legal jeopardy if they didn’t disentangle themselves from their conflicts of interest. I really felt that a lot of his appointees would blunder their way into indictments.
The diary, which was based on Wikipedia’s list of federal political scandals in the U.S., is the closest I’ve come to having something go viral. DK’s counters show that 349 people recommended it and it was posted to Facebook 11,133 times. Since then, I’ve seen numerous people post screen captures of the table comparing crimes by Administration. And lately, I’ve seen a modified version that adds Trump Administration – but inaccurately, or at least with a different methodology.
My initial report covered number of people indicted, convicted, and imprisoned. The modified table floating around uses the total number of indictments and total convictions for each indictment, artificially inflating the already-burgeoning Trump figures compared to his predecessors.
I planned to update my analysis after the midterms to give a full two years to Trump’s portion. Given the misinformation that’s spreading due to differing methodologies, I decided to expedite the update.
Nixon’s Presidency remains the most criminal, with 76 different individuals charged with felony indictments and 55 of them convicted or pleading guilty. But Trump is hot on his heels. Though we aren’t even two years into his Administration, already 35 individuals (including 28 foreign nationals) have been indicted – more than any administration except Nixon’s. And seven have been convicted and/or pleaded guilty, more than every Democratic Administration in the past 50 years combined.
Read on for:
- How the Trump Campaign provides unprecedented complications for this analysis.
- A breakdown of felony indictments, convictions, and imprisonments for members of the Trump Organization, Campaign, and Administration.
- How the Trump data compares with other Administrations over the last 50 years.
- A review of my methodology.
- Details of all of the people included in the Trump data. (Please refer to the original article for similar details for past administrations.)
- Revisiting the data used for the previous administrations.
Including Trump’s Company, Campaign, and Administration
When I wrote the original diary in January 2016, I really thought the biggest legal issues Trump’s Administration would face would come from unvetted conflicts of interest. I really expected that if there were any arrests, most would come from his Administration itself.
I wasn’t quite prepared for how many people involved with his campaign would end up being arrested. We knew there was some funny business going on with Russia. The only thing the campaign changed in the GOP’s platform – written largely by members of the religious right – was its stance on the Russian invasion of Crimea. There was funny stuff with Paul Manafort, who was forced to resign as Campaign Chair in August. And we knew before the inauguration that Mike Flynn had made suspicious calls to the Russian Ambassador during the transition. But what we knew before the inauguration versus what we know now … whew!
(That could change…soon. Trump’s FEMA Director, William “Brock” Long, is under criminal investigation. Former Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price could still face an insider trading indictment for crimes similar to Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY). Former EPA Director Scott Pruitt and many others remain under criminal investigation. And so many others remain under investigation.)
The unprecedented degree of foreign interference with our elections complicates this analysis different than any previous Administration.
Trump complicates things
Under previous presidents, it was easy to focus on criminal activities of officials who were paid employees of the federal Executive Brach or paid by the president’s election campaign. (As far as I can tell, Nixon was the only previous president whose campaign staff faced felony indictments. Those individuals were included in my original report.) But under Trump, everything is complicated.
A lot of people involved the Trump Campaign worked for “free.” Not just his family, but others also Paul Manafort and others who hoped to used their role in the campaign to grift or get compensation from foreign nationals. I’ve certainly included them if they had an official campaign title or played a significant role in the campaign.
But what about illegal foreign influence? So far, 28 foreigners have been charged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller or by U.S. Attorneys acting on Mueller’s referrals. Should they be included? If it’s demonstrated that the Trump Campaign knew about their activities and actively conspired with them, then yes, they should be. But what if it’s never proven that the Trump Campaign knew about their activities, and the foreign efforts were completely independent?
For now, I’ve separated the indicted individuals into groups. You can decide for yourselves which merit including.
Felonies by Presidential Administration
Donald Trump is continuing the GOP’s trend of being the party with the most corrupt Administrations. We can measure this with more that fevered tinfoil hat conspiracies of pizza parlor pedophile rings. We can actually use indictments, convictions, and incarcerations as an impartial, statistical measure.
Trump Campaign & Administration Felonies
To date, more people in the Trump camp – including foreign nationals – have been indicted for felonies than any administration in the last 50 years except Nixon’s. These include seven Americans and 28 foreign nationals.
Felony Indictments in the Trump Campaign & Administration (to date)
|Relationship to Trump||# People Indicted||Total # of Indictments||# People Convicted||Total Guilty Counts||# of People Imprisoned|
|Trump Organization, Campaign, or Administration||5||55||5||22||2 (+3)*|
|Outside Campaign Consultants (U.S. citizens)||2||2||1||1||0 (+1)*|
|Foreign Assistance to Trump Campaign||26||153||0||0||0|
|Foreign, direct involvement to Trump Unclear||2||2||1||1||1|
Source: RoyalScribe / @kgoebel, tinyurl.com/POTUSFelonies201809
# of People Imprisoned: The initial number includes everyone whose sentence includes prison time, even if they have not yet reported to prison (e.g., George Papadopoulos). The +[number] represents other individuals who have been convicted and/or pleaded guilty, and whose sentences are expected to include prison time, but because they have not yet been sentenced, we don’t yet know for sure.
Trump Organization, Campaign, or Administration: For every previous Administration, this would be everyone: people who worked with the President before they ran, during their campaign, and after inauguration. For Trump, the loose affiliation of outsiders complicates how we identify these individuals. This section currently includes Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, and Michael Cohen.
Outside campaign consultant (U.S. national): These are U.S. citizens were not an official part of the Trump Campaign, but who provided illegal assistance to the campaign (specifically, Richard Pinedo and W. Samuel Patton).
Foreign assistance to Trump Campaign: This includes 26 Russians indicted for hacking the DNC servers and for other U.S. election-related crimes. It does not include the three Russian companies that were also indicted.
Foreign, direct connection unclear: This includes Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch citizen who has already served his prison sentence, as well Maria Butina, a Russian national who remains in U.S. custody. Both were arrested as part of the Mueller investigation, but it’s not yet clear whether they were involved in crimes relating to Trump, or got scooped up while investigating Trump’s corrupt associates.
For more details about the specific people involved, see People Included in the Trump Data below.
Comparing Administration Felonies
Number of Individuals with Felonies by Presidential Administration
|President||Party||Years in Office||# People Indicted||# People Convicted||# People Imprisoned||Convictions Per Year|
|Donald Trump||R||1.7*||7 **||6 ||2 (+3) [3 (+4)]||3.5 [4.1]|
|George W. Bush||R||8||16||9||9||1.1|
|George H. W. Bush||R||4||1||1||1||0.25|
* Through September 17, 2018. ** Number in [brackets] includes foreign nationals.
Source: Kevin Goebel. DailyKos: RoyalScribe / Twitter: @kgoebel, tinyurl.com/POTUSFelonies201809
This includes individuals associated with each President’s private business, campaign, or appointed executive office. For Trump, the top number represents Americans, while the second number in [brackets] represents both Americans and foreign nationals.
If you don’t include foreigners involved in the Trump Campaign, Team Trump already has more people indicted and convicted that any Democratic President in the last 50 years.
And if you do include foreign nationals, the Trump camp has more indictments than any other President regardless of party except Nixon. And we’re not even two years in yet.
Note that Trump’s figures currently skew heavily towards “Indicted but not yet Convicted” because of trials that are still pending, and because of the high number of Russians who may continue to evade arrest.
Note also that Clinton’s numbers have changed slightly since the last article. Please refer to Revisiting Past Administrations below for more details.
Comparing Political Parties by Felonies
Over the last 50 years, Republican Administrations have been far more felonious than Democratic Administrations, whether or not you include foreign influence.
|President’s Party||# People Indicted||# People Convicted||# People Incarcerated|
|Republican||127 ||95 ||26 |
* The number in [brackets] includes foreigners arrested for crimes committed on behalf of the candidate or president. The first number only represents U.S. citizens.
Of course, Republicans have held the Presidency for 29.7 of the last 50 years versus 20 years for Democrats. But even if we normalize by averaging the numbers by year, Republicans still come off pretty bad.
|President’s Party||# People Indicted||# People Convicted||# People Incarcerated|
|Republican||4.28 [5.22]||3.20 [3.23]||1.21 [1.25]|
* The number in [brackets] includes foreigners arrested for crimes committed on behalf of the candidate or president. The first number only represents U.S. citizens.
A brief review of methodology
My original source came from Wikipedia’s List of political scandals in the United States. I supplemented Trump’s from the same source, along with information from their Special Counsel investigation (2017-present) page as well as other sources listed at the end of this article.
Some quick highlights about my data:
- Not all scandals are included, just those involving felonies.
- This covers the total number of people indicted, convicted, and imprisoned. If someone is charge with 18 felonies, they are still only counted as one person indicted.
- This only covers felony indictments, convictions, and prison sentences. It does not include misdemeanors.
- Guilty pleas count as a conviction both in a legal sense and in my data. They also count as an indictment even if the plea is entered simultaneously (like with Michael Cohen).
- Imprisonment only includes incarceration as a penalty for conviction. People who were held pending bail (or if bail is revoked or denied) are not included.
- My data only includes individuals. The three companies that have been indicted as part of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation are not included in these tallies.
- This includes all crimes the individuals committed during their association with the President, even if the crimes didn’t involve that President.
- This covers everyone involved in higher levels of the President’s election campaign and/or Administration.
Not all “scandals” are included
The term “scandal” can be subjective. When Clinton’s Surgeon General, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, said that masturbation could help avoid the spread of AIDS, it was a scandal in that it made headlines and ultimately forced her resignation, but it wasn’t criminal – and some would argue that she was right to say it. Benghazi was tragic, but was it really a scandal justifying ten separate investigations that may have cost upwards of $30 million?
In the end, I decided that the criminal justice system provided the closest thing to an impartial, empirical source. For that reason, only scandals involving indictments are included.
That means quite a lot of Trump Administration scandals are not (yet) included, like the abuse of funds by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Should any of them later be charged with a crime – Price’s insider trading activities similar to Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) make him a strong possibility – they will be included with future updates.
People indicted vs. total indictments
My data has focused on the number of people indicted, convicted, and imprisoned, not the total number of indictments or the total number of charges they were convicted for.
In the Nixon Administration, for example, Secretary of Commerce Maurice Stans pleaded guilty to five felonies. In my table, this counts as only one of the people indicted under Nixon as well as one of the people convicted under Nixon. (He paid a fine but was not incarcerated.)
I counted by number of people rather than number of charges for a few reasons. First, the number of indictments can change. If a person is indicted under a dozen charges, for example, but then makes a plea bargain where they plead guilty to two of the charges under a superseding indictment, does that now change the dozen indictments to two? Or should the table reflect initial charges, even those later dropped by prosecutors?
Keeping track of all of these changes would be hard enough for current events. It’s even more challenging to do that reaching back to the Reagan and Nixon Administrations. Focusing on individuals rather than charges was, in my mind, both easier and more illustrative of the breadth of criminal behavior by Administration.
The imprisonment data is only meant to include people who have been incarcerated as part of their penalty for conviction. It is not meant to cover people who are jailed while waiting to make bail, or for whom bail was denied or revoked.
Paul Manafort is included under Trump’s imprisonment stats. On June 15, 2018, his bail was revoked following additional charges of witness tampering. This would normally not count under my incarceration criteria. But following his convictions on August 21st in Virginia and his subsequent guilty plea on September 14th in D.C., he remains in custody pending his cooperation with Robert Mueller and subsequent sentencing. This time will count towards his total incarceration time, and I have therefore included him as one of the three people already imprisoned.
The imprisonment data also includes George Papadopoulos, who has been sentenced to 14 days but has not yet reported for custody. It also includes Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch citizen who served 30 days before being deported. (See the Trump complicates things section for further discussion about including van der Zwaan and other foreign nations.) It does not yet include Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, or Richard Pinedo, who have all pleaded guilty but have not yet been sentenced.
Individuals, Not Corporations
Federal prosecutors almost always only indict individuals, not companies. Individual executives may be charged, but it’s rare for the company itself to be charged. Enron and its accounting firm, Arthur Anderson LLP, are notable examples where the companies were charged because of pervasive, willful corporate fraud and corruption.
In the Trump/Russia investigation, Special Counsel Mueller has indicted three Russian companies: Internet Research Agency LLC, Concord Catering, and Concord Management and Consulting LLC. These companies are not included in my charts, but the 13 Russian individuals simultaneously charged are included. (See Trump complicates things for more about the inclusion of foreign nationals.)
As a reminder, a guilty plea counts as both an indictment and a conviction. Sometimes the plea is concurrent with the indictments (e.g., Michael Cohen). Sometimes the indictments are sealed and kept secret from the public until a guilty plea is filed (e.g., George Papadopoulos). Sometimes the guilty plea comes long after indictments (e.g., Rick Gates) or even after conviction of some of the charges (e.g., Paul Manafort). But in any event, a guilty plea is always part of an indictment and counts as a conviction.
Crimes that don’t involve the President
Many of Trump’s defenders have tried to argue that so far, those indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices do not directly allege that President Trump has committed crimes himself. While that isn’t strictly true (Michael Cohen, for example, said that Trump personally ordered him to commit two of the crimes he pleaded guilty to), it’s also not relevant for this analysis. Quite a lot of the indictments included in the previous analysis had nothing to do with the President. The point was to try to show whether a culture of unethical and criminal behavior was fostered or allowed to fester in a campaign or Administration, and whether or not the President really did pick the best people and did a proper vetting.
Administration v. Campaign
My original article used the term “Administration” to include both White House officials as well as other Cabinet and Executive Branch officials (such as Mike Espy, Clinton’s Secretary of Agriculture). It was intended to be broad, but it was nevertheless imprecise because it did not explicitly state that it included campaign officials.
This was an oversight in terminology but not in data. The crimes under the Nixon Administration included several people involved with Nixon’s re-election campaign but not his administration, including Jeb Stuart Magruder, Herbert L. Porter, G. Gordon Liddy, Donald Segretti, and the Watergate burglars themselves. Note: Michael Cohen was employed by the Trump Organization and also served as Deputy Finance Chair for the Republican National Committee. He pleaded guilty to election-related crimes directly involving the candidate, and therefore counts as part of the campaign regardless of who paid his salary.
To my knowledge, Nixon was the only other president before Trump where members of the campaign were criminally indicted and convicted. Please let me know if you are aware of others.
Who isn’t included
The goal is to include people who committed crimes on behalf of the President, or whose crimes may represent a failure in the vetting process. This doesn’t include civil service or career federal employees, nor local and regional campaign workers unless they have a direct relationship with the candidate. Anne Aroste, a Social Security Administration employee arrested in June for embezzling $680,000 in benefits, doesn’t count towards the Trump Administration arrests. Nor am I counting Ralph Shortey, a former Republican state senator in Oklahoma and the Oklahoma state chair for the Trump Campaign, who just accepted a 15-year sentence in a plea bargain over a case involving child pornography and sex with a 16- or 17-year-old boy. In my mind, they’re too far removed from Trump himself, and including them complicates data collection for previous presidencies.
Nor do I include problematic family members unless their crimes directly involve the President’s business, campaign, or Administration. Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy, Bill Clinton’s half-brother Roger, and Neil Bush – the son of one President and brother of another – committed crimes that don’t seem to directly relate to the President. That said, if Donald Trump, Jr. ends up getting arrested over the Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives, that would count as a campaign-related arrest. If Jared Kushner is arrested for using his White House position for personal enrichment, that would be a ding on the Administration. And the whole Trump family, including President Trump himself, is being investigated over the illegal actions of the Trump Foundation. Should arrests be made for family members relating to the President’s campaign, business, or Administration, they’ll be included. If Tiffany were to be arrested for shoplifting, it wouldn’t be.
I chose not to include Bill Clinton’s impeachment, as impeachment is an inherently political process. (Nixon’s wouldn’t be included regardless, as he resigned before the U.S. House completed impeachment proceedings.) This is discussed in greater detail under Revisiting Past Administrations below. If you disagree, add one more for Clinton under Indictments (as impeachment by the House is the equivalent of a Grand Jury indictment), but nothing else under Convictions, as the U.S. Senate failed to achieve the 2/3rds vote necessary convict him and remove him from office.
People Included in the Trump Data
The following individuals are included in the Trump portion of the table.
Trump Organization, Campaign, and/or Administration
- Paul Manafort — Office: Campaign Chair, Trump Presidential Campaign. Crime: 2 counts: conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice; 18 counts: filing false tax returns (×5), failure to report foreign bank and financial accounts (×4), bank fraud conspiracy (×5), and bank fraud (×4). Result: convicted and pleaded guilty, cooperating, not yet sentenced
- Rick Gates – Office: Deputy Campaign Manager, Trump Presidential Campaign; deputy chair, Donald Trump Inauguration Committee; founder of pro-Trump America First Policies organization. Crimes: 2 counts: conspiracy against the United States and false statements; 23 counts: assisting in the preparation of false tax returns (×5), subscribing to false tax returns (×5), filing a false amended return, failure to report foreign bank and financial accounts (×3), bank fraud conspiracy (×5), and bank fraud (×4). Result: pleaded guilty, cooperating, not yet sentenced
- George Papadopoulos – Office: Foreign policy Adviser, Trump Presidential Campaign. Crime: 1 count: false statements (negotiated before indictment). Result: pleaded guilty, cooperated, sentenced to 14 days in prison, a $9,500 fine, 200 hours of community service, 12 months’ probation
- Michael Flynn – Office: Adviser, Trump Presidential Campaign; National Security Adviser. Crime: 1 count: false statements (negotiated before indictment). Result: Pleaded guilty, cooperating, not yet sentenced
- Michael Cohen – Office: VP, Trump Organization; Special Counsel to Donald Trump; Deputy Finance Chair, Republican National Committee. Crime: 8 counts: tax evasion (x5); false statements; unlawful campaign contributions; excessive campaign contribution (negotiated before indictment). Result: pleaded guilty, cooperation agreement under negotiation, not yet sentenced
Outside campaign consultants (U.S. nationals)
- Richard Pinedo – Operated Auction Essistance, a web-based business that brokered bank account numbers, enabling people who had been barred from websites like eBay and PayPal to return to those websites under a different identity. Crimes: 1 count identity fraud (negotiated before indictment). Result: pleaded guilty, not yet sentenced
- W. Samuel Patton – American political consultant affiliated with Russian intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik. Crime: unregistered agent of a foreign principal. As part of his guilty plea, Patten admitted that he laundered a $50,000 contribution from Kilimnik to the Trump inauguration committee, by having the money transferred from a Cypriot bank to his company and from there to an unnamed American who sent it to the committee. Result: pleaded guilty, cooperation unclear, not yet sentenced
Foreign assistance to Trump Campaign
- Dzheykhun Aslanov – 8 counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft (×6). Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Gleb Vasilchenko – 8 counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft (×6). Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Irina Kaverzina – 7 counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States, and aggravated identity theft (×6). Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Vladimir Venkov – 7 counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States, and aggravated identity theft (×6). Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Anna Bogacheva – 1 count: conspiracy to defraud the United States. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Maria Bovda – 1 count: conspiracy to defraud the United States. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Robert Bovda – 1 count: conspiracy to defraud the United States. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Mikhail Burchik – 1 count: conspiracy to defraud the United States. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Mikhail Bystrov – 1 count: conspiracy to defraud the United States. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Aleksandra Krylova – 1 count: conspiracy to defraud the United States. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Vadim Podkopaev – 1 count: conspiracy to defraud the United States. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Sergey Polozov – 1 count: conspiracy to defraud the United States. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Yevgeny Prigozhin – 1 count: conspiracy to defraud the United States. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Konstantin Kilimnik – 2 counts: obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Boris Antonov – 10 counts: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft (×8), and conspiracy to launder money. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Dmitriy Badin – 10 counts: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft (×8), and conspiracy to launder money. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Nikolay Kozachek – 10 counts: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft (×8), and conspiracy to launder money. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Aleksey Lukashev – 10 counts: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft (×8), and conspiracy to launder money. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Artem Malyshev – 10 counts: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft (×8), and conspiracy to launder money. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Sergey Morgachev – 10 counts: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft (×8), and conspiracy to launder money. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Viktor Netyksho – 10 counts: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft (×8), and conspiracy to launder money. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Aleksey Potemkin – 10 counts: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft (×8), and conspiracy to launder money. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Ivan Yermakov – 10 counts: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft (×8), and conspiracy to launder money. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Pavel Yershov – 10 counts: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft (×8), and conspiracy to launder money. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Aleksandr Osadchuk – 11 counts: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States (×2), aggravated identity theft (×8), and conspiracy to launder money. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
- Anatoliy Kovalev – 1 count: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States. Result: Arrest unlikely (outside U.S. jurisdiction)
Foreign, direct connection to Trump unclear
- Maria Butina – 1 charge: acting in the United States as an agent of a foreign government (the Russian Federation), without prior notification to the Attorney General, a conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States. Result: held without bail due to be an extreme flight risk, trial pending
- Alex van der Zwaan – 1 charge: making false statements to the FBI. Result: Fined $20,000 and sentenced to 30 days in prison
Revisiting Past Administrations
In revisiting this article, I noticed there are some changes in the original Wikipedia article that helped form a basis for my research. I have made a few adjustments as a result.
The original Wikipedia entry did not include (to the best of my recollection) any discussion of General David Petraeus’ leak of confidential information to his mistress/biographer. Because he ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor (see the Petraeus subsection in the next section), it still isn’t included as I’ve only included felonies. I will revise this if it appears that other misdemeanors have been included with the rest of my data, or if there’s strong sentiment that he should be included.
There’s a new entry for Darleen A. Druyen, Principal Deputy United States Under Secretary of the Air Force, that did not appear in the Wikipedia page when I accessed it more than 18 months ago. Druyen pleaded guilty of a felony for inflating contract prices for Boeing, her future employer. Since she served nine months in jail as part of her sentence, this adds one more to indictments, convictions, and imprisonments under the Clinton Administration.
Explaining methodology of original article
In the comments of my original article and subsequently on Twitter, some people have questioned a few items in my report. I want to address them here.
Some have questioned why I didn’t include President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. I went back and forth on this. The impeachment process is inherently political, and many Americans believe that Clinton’s impeachment was an overreach based on politics rather than the merit of the underlying criminal allegations. Other political but not criminal scandals weren’t included (such as appointees who resigned for misuse of helicopters, traveling first class, or other abuses).
Bear in mind that an impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives should be considered to be the equivalent of an indictment. Treat the House as the equivalent of a Grand Jury deciding whether to grant the prosecutor permission to go forward with charging a defendant. The charges would then be tried before the U.S. Senate, with Senators serving as the equivalent of the trial jury.
In the end, I chose not to include it. If you disagree, add one more under the Clinton Administration for indictments. The Senate did not reach the necessary 2/3rds vote (which would have to be unanimous in a criminal trial), so Convictions and Imprisonments would remain the same. Nothing would change with the Nixon Administration. When Nixon was warned that his own party was defecting (nearly two-thirds of Republican Senators were already signaling that they would convict him and remove him from office, along with probably all of the Democratic Senators), he chose to resign before the U.S. House could finish their impeachment proceedings.
Some have questioned why Obama’s pristine record isn’t marred by General David Petraeus, Director of the CIA, who was accused of giving classified information to Paula Broadwell, his official biographer who was later discovered to be his mistress. Petraeus wasn’t included because (though I failed to make this clear in the original article), all of the data I included is about felony indictments and convictions. Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, and therefore isn’t included.
(If I’ve mistakenly included misdemeanors elsewhere, please let me know and I investigate revising.)
Starting with Nixon
In my original article, I mentioned that I started with Nixon for a number of reasons. Nixon was elected about 50 years ago, and it seemed like a nice, round number to start with. In addition, not including the only president forced to resign due to his criminal behavior would be a bizarre choice.
I could have gone back farther. Many view the modern presidency as everything after World War II, which could have been a good place to start. But while there were resignations under scandal in previous post-war administrations, none of them involved anyone getting indicted. If we extend it back to the turn of the 20th century, there was one Executive Branch conviction under Franklin Roosevelt, one or two under Calvin Coolidge, three convictions under Warren Harding, and one under William McKinley. Eight other Administrations in the 20th century (Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson) did not have any Executive Branch indictments.
With that, I maintain that Nixon remains a logical place to start.
Using Wikipedia as a source
I know that high schools and universities would never allow Wikipedia to be cited as a primary source. I could track down all of the original sources in the Wikipedia entries. That would confirm the ones included, but wouldn’t necessarily validate any omissions.
I am not a professional historian. I welcome critiques that can provide citable data showing what I may have missed, and I will update this article again if need be.
Partial List of Sources
Faturechi, Robert, “Tom Price Intervened on Rule That Would Hurt Drug Profits, the Same Day He Acquired Drug Stock,” ProPublica, March 31, 2017.
Hakim, Danny, “New York Attorney General Sues Trump Foundation After 2-Year Investigation,” The New York Times, June 14, 2018.
Hsu, Spencer S., “Special counsel Mueller initiates sentencing process for 2nd cooperating defendant,” The Washington Post, May 29, 2018.
“List of federal political scandals in the United States,” Wikipedia, accessed most recently on September 18, 2018.
“Michael J. Hogan,” Wikipedia, accessed most recently on September 18, 2018.
Miroff, Nick; Wan, William, “Embattled FEMA chief Brock Long facing possible criminal investigation,” The Washington Post, September 17, 2018.
“Petraeus scandal,” Wikipedia, accessed most recently on September 18, 2018.
RoyalScribe, “Comparing presidential administrations by arrests and convictions: A warning for Trump appointees,” DailyKos, January 11, 2017.
Savage, Charlie, “The different ways Donald Trump Jr could be in trouble with the law,” Independent (UK), August 7, 2018.
Scotti, Ciro, “Investigating Clinton: How Many Millions Were Spent on Email, Benghazi Probes?” The Fiscal Times (found under Yahoo Finance), July 5, 2016.
Siegel, Benjamin; Katersky, Aaron, “Rep. Chris Collins arrested on insider trading charges,” ABC News, August 8, 2018.
“Special Counsel investigation (2017-present),” Wikipedia, accessed most recently on September 18, 2018.
Venook, Jeremy, “Is Kushner Companies Taking Advantage of Its Connection to the President?” The Atlantic, May 9, 2017
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