15 Politicians Who Were Caught Taking Bribes Politicians
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15 Politicians Who Were Caught Taking Bribes

List of politicians who have been caught taking bribes.Politicians are elected with the purpose of serving office with the need of his or her constituents on their mind. They’re supposed to do what’s best for the people of their district and represent their needs. However, politics often tempts greedy and corrupt people to take office in hopes of using their political power to gain influence in the world and fill their bank accounts. The biggest political scandals are often about politicians who have taken or solicited bribes for their own benefit.


Bribery is such an offensive crime to most people because politicians are not supposed to think of their own needs before the needs of those who elected them. Bribes are usually taken to push forward a piece of legislation that is beneficial to a business person or corporation. Sometimes bribes are taken to help put somebody unsavory in office or in a position of power which they didn’t earn. No matter what the reason, bribery in politics is not only worth jail time, it earns the distrust of every constituent.


Which politicians have been caught taking bribes? This list features many politicians who have been caught taking bribes, many of whom served time.

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  1. The 39th Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew, was investigated in 1973 for extortion, tax fraud, conspiracy, and bribery. He was accused of accepting more than 100k in bribes. As a result, Adnew resigned from office, leading to Gerald Ford's appointment to office.

  2. Carl Kruger

    New York state Senator Carl Kruger was caught taking bribes to keep Walmart out of NYC, along with seven other people. In 2011, he was accused of taking $1 million in bribes in return for supporting legislation and asking for favors for those who paid. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

  3. William Boyland, Jr.

    The Assemblyman William Boyland was among the eight men accused of taking millions in bribes to keep Walmart out of NYC, along with other corrupt legislative issues. Although he was acquitted of federal corruption charges, he was arrested on a separate bribery charge. In 2013, he plead not guilty to the bribery and additional mail fraud charges.

  4. Marcelo Co

    In January 2013, Moreno Valley City Council Man Marcelo Co was caught on tape accepting a $2.36 milllon bribe from an undercover FBI agent. The agent was pretending to be a land broker who needed council land-use decisions that would help his business. The bribe was the largest bribe ever accepted in a U.S. sting operation. He plans to plead guilty to bribery and tax fraud.

  5. In 2005, Rep William J. Jefferson was video taped accepting $100k from an FBI informant. Nonetheless, he was re-elected that year. In 2007, he was indited on 16 felony charges. He received 13 years in jail, the longest sentence for bribery.

  6. Eric Stevenson

    Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson was caught up in a bribery scandal when his crooked partner in crime turned into an FBI informant. He took bribes in exchange for pushing forward legislation to help those who bribed him. Stevenson has been charged but has yet to be sentenced. 

  7. Dennis Malone

    Frank Sparaco, a Republican Rockland County legislator, was offered multiple bribes to help put Dennis Malone, a Democratic candidate hopeful, on the ballot to become Clarkstown Highway Superintendent. Sparaco immediately went to officials and made secret audio recordings to catch Malone in the act. 

  8. Former Massachusetts Senator Dianne Wilkerson was arrested by the FBI for accepting bribes totaling $23,500. She resigned from office in 2008 and was convicted to 3.5 years in prison.

  9. Chuck Turner

    Chuck Turner sullied his reputation as a a 60s activist when he abused is position on the Boston City Council by accepting $1,000 in exchange for help getting a liquor license. He became the first Boston City Council member to ever be expelled. Turner was sentenced to three years in prison but was released after 28 months. 

  10. California Senator Ronald Calderon's offices were raided by the FBI in 2013, as well as his office of California' Latino Legislative Caucus. Suspicions of Calderon accepting a bribe of 88k from an undercover FBI agent were leaked to Al Jazeera America. Charges have yet to been pressed, but Calderon was suspended from his committee assignments.

  11. In 2008 New York Senator Malcolm Smith did what many politicians do during election years: he held a golf fundraiser with a group of lobbyists. However, it was the claim that Smith told the group that campaign contributions were like an IPO, inferring that the sooner they give him money the more influence they'd have when he was in office. A grand jury has investigated his crimes, but no charges have been pressed. 

  12. New York City Councilman Dan Halloran was arrested in 2013 under federal corruption charges. Halloran allegedly helped Malcolm Smith accept bribes to secure a spot on the Republican ballot for the mayoral election. He has yet to be charged, but he has decided against seeking re-election for city council.

  13. Derrick Smith

    Chicago representative Derrick Smith was arrested in 2012 for accepting a $7,000 bribe to write a letter of support for a daycare that was looking for a state grant. The daycare, however, turned out to be fictional as part of a sting operation. 

  14. Rod Blagojevich became a national joke when he was arrested on many political corruption charges including conspiracy to solicit bribes. While looking for a somebody to fill the Senate seat after Obama's presidential election, Blagojevich looked for bribes for the seat. In 2011, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

  15. Isaac Carothers

    Alderman Isaac Carothers accepted $11,000 in 2007 from a FBI undercover informant who was pretending to be a developer in need of help with zoning changes. He also allegedly accepted 40k in home improvements to make zoning changes for a developer. He plead guilty and received a 28 month prison term. 

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