Republican vs Democrat Indictments
A history of political corruption and what it means for the 2020 election
As news emerges that two indicted Democrats are being allowed back into congress this January, the integrity of American politics is once again called into question. Duncan Hunter, a Democrat rep, was accused of illegally using campaign funds for his own personal expenses, whilst Chris Collins provided confidential information on a pharmaceutical company to his son before a stock exchange. However, despite these indictments, the party did not consider the offenses serious enough to make them leave congress. So what does this say about the state of US politics? Is corruption becoming an accepted norm in The White House? To fight against this, it is more important than ever to promote transparency around the 2020 election.
With Trump at the helm, many are looking to the Democrats to save American politics, but it is important to recognize that no party is without scandals and corruption. So as we edge closer to the all-important election, here’s a look at some of both party’s major scandals and indictments.
The Republican Party
Trump’s Campaign Chairman: Financial Crimes
- In June 2018, Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was charged with hiding millions of his earnings and lying to get bank loans. He was found guilty on eight counts by a jury in Virginia and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
National Security Advisor: Lying to Investigators
- Former national security advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in July 2018. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kisylak. However, he is now assisting the FBI’s investigations into further corruption.
White House Official: Domestic Abuse
- David Sorensen resigned from his role in the White House after his wife came forward with allegations of domestic abuse. His wife, Jessica Corbet, described him as violent and abusive throughout the course of their relationship. He denied all of these allegations; however, he still resigned a couple of days later.
Trump’s Personal Lawyer: Tax and Bank Charges and Lying to Congress
- Former personal lawyer to Trump, Michael Cohen, was found guilty of tax and bank charges, campaign finance violations and lying to congress. Being very close with Trump and his personal lawyer, Cohen both oversaw and was complicit in Trump’s unlawful exploits. Cohen paid Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her affair with Trump. He also pleaded guilty to a multiplicity of financial crimes such as tax fraud and unlawful corporate contributions. He is currently serving a three year prison sentence.
The Democratic Party
Ex Obama Aide: Lying to the Justice Department
- Obama’s former aide, Gregory Craig, was indicted for making false statements and concealing material information. He was particularly criticized for concealing information regarding work he did in Ukraine in 2012. However, Craig’s lawyers are disputing the indictment, labelling it misleading.
Director of the Office of Personnel Management: Cyber Intrusions
- Katherine Archuleta, who was responsible for personnel management, resigned from her role in 2015, claiming responsibility for the cyber intrusions in her department. These intrusions led to the theft of 22 million people’s data.
Attorney General: Withholding Government Documents
- Eric Holder was held in attempt of congress after refusing to release documents relating to The Fast and Furious gun operation.
Director of the CIA: Mishandling Classified Materials
- David Patraeus, the former CIA Director was found guilty of mishandling classified materials. He was charged $100,000 and put on probation for two years. To read more about the scandal, click here.
It is evident that both the Republicans and the Democrats have had a recent history of corruption and deceit. Has the Trump era of secrecy and scandal infiltrated American politics as a whole, with politicians believing lying and deceit to be the key to success in their field? And, with this behaviour defining politics, will anyone know who to vote for in the 2020 election?