Disgraced politicians never die, they just fade away. Or get a show on CNN.
TPM has covered many a politician over the years who’s been brought down by his own malfeasance, and recently some of them have re-entered the spotlight in one way or another. So where do infamous politicians go after their political careers have been ruined? Well, some go to trial, some go to prison, and apparently some enter the retail industry.
Here’s a look at where some of TPM’s favorite scandal-makers are now…
Kwame Kilpatrick’s tenure as Detroit Mayor ended with a bang in 2008, when he plead guilty to obstruction of justice and admitted he lied under oath. The lies were in part meant to conceal an affair with one of Kilpatrick’s aides, which was memorably documented by a series of steamy, and occasionally quite poetic, texts. But he’s back, now with more charges! Last month, Kilpatrick was sentenced to 18 months in prison for probation violations, and has now been slapped with 19 federal fraud and tax evasion charges. Kilpatrick allegedly misused over $640,000 in funds that he received from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, a non-profit he himself created to “contribute to the betterment of the lives of youth of Detroit.” And as we reported on June 23, he allegedly spent the money on Yoga lessons, summer camp for his kids, and surveillance equipment, among other things.
Jack Abramoff was a powerful D.C. lobbyist who pleaded guilty in 2006 to fraud and corruption charges. On June 8, 2010 he was released from prison after serving 3 and a half years for fraud, corruption and conspiracy. So how is he making his dough now? By making dough, of course! Abramoff just got a job at a kosher pizzeria in Baltimore, called Tov Pizza. No word yet on whether you can bribe him for extra cheese.
Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (D), was implicated in an international prostitution ring that catered to wealthy clientele. Spitzer’s once-promising career came to a halt when he resigned in 2008, after he was identified as the ring’s “Client 9.” Luckily for Spitzer, the cable news networks were willing to overlook his solicitous past, and after a series of MSNBC guest hosting gigs, CNN president Jon Klein announced on June 23 that Spitzer will co-host a primetime show on the cable network this fall, alongside conservative pundit Kathleen Parker.
Almost a year to date after Mark Sanford went AWOL from his state of South Carolina, the Republican Governor again took some “personal time” off on June 21 — unbeknownst to his Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer. Though a Sanford spokesman told TPM that he was in contact with Sanford throughout the day, the incident could not help but evoke flashbacks to Sanford’s “hike down the Appalachian Trail,” which was code for a jaunt to Argentina to meet with his lover.
Former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) made headlines in 2006 by exchanging lewd text messages with congressional pages. Today, he makes his living selling furniture from his D.C. days at a “Celebrity Consignment” shop. Foley also launched his own public affairs talk radio show in September, 2009, called “Inside the Mind of Mark Foley.” For those that want to really get “Inside the Mind of Mark Foley,” though, the infamous text of an exchange Foley had with an underage page provides some insight.
Reverend Ted Haggard was a leading figure in the evangelical movement, heading up the New Life Church in Colorado Springs while taking regular meetings with President Bush and his advisers. In 2006, he left the church he founded after revelations that he had an affair with a gay male escort. On June 2, he held a press conference to make a “big announcement” about his career path — which turned out to be that he is founding a new church. “Democrats are are welcome, Republicans are welcome, independents are welcome,” he said in the presser, but qualified that no gay marriages will be performed in his church.
No sooner had former Rep. Jim Traficant (D-OH) gotten out of prison after a seven-year sentence, when on May 3 he filed to run for Congress as an Independent in Ohio’s 17th district. Traficant (and his infamous coif) was expelled from Congress and incarcerated in 2002, after being convicted of 10 felonies, including “racketeering, bribery and tax evasion” after he demanded kickbacks from his staffers, among other things.
After going hair-to-hair with Donald Trump on Celebrity Apprentice, it was time for Rod Blagojevich to face the music for his alleged shady dealings during his time as Governor of Illinois. Blago is accused of trying to sell the appointment to Barack Obama’s Senate seat in 2008, along with other alleged schemes to use his position to obtain funds. But his ongoing trial suggests a “Where Are They Now” that could have been: In 2003, Blago apparently envisioned himself running for President in 2008, June 10 testimony revealed.
Former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik was sentenced to four years in prison in February on tax fraud charges, and for lying during his vetting to be homeland security secretary. Once a close ally of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), Kerik decided not to go quietly…so he started a blog on the free Google Blogger service Blogspot. Kerik told TPM in April that the blog is “all national security and terrorism stuff related to some of the threats we face, things that I think we should be looking at.”
Former Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) is known for his “wide stance” and “lewd conduct” in airport bathrooms. But did you know he can also sing? Craig resurfaced on the Daily Show on June 3, and he and correspondent John Oliver had a nice little harmonizing session, right after Oliver got Craig to talk about how much he missed the “perks” he got at the airport.
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