A look at governors who left office in disgrace
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced his resignation on Friday amid mounting questions and investigations into his fiancée, who was accused of using her position as first lady to enrich herself and benefit private consulting clients. Kitzhaber, 67, was elected to a fourth term as governor in November, a rare feat in American politics.
A look at other governors who left office under pressure in recent years:
__VIRGINIA: Kitzhaber’s case has drawn comparisons to former Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican who last month was sentenced to two years in prison on charges that he and his wife accepted more than $165,000 in gifts from a vitamin executive in exchange for special favors. The FBI started investigating the allegations toward the end of McDonnell’s term in 2013.
__ILLINOIS: The state has a long history of public corruption with four governors going to prison in the last 50 years. Most recently, Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, was impeached and removed from office by the state Legislature in early 2009 following his arrest on federal corruption charges. The allegations included that he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama after he was elected president. Blagojevich is serving a 14-year sentence in a federal prison in Colorado.
___SOUTH CAROLINA: Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, stayed in office after admitting to an extramarital affair in the summer of 2009. He paid a $70,000 fine for using public money on a trip to Argentina with his mistress, which he told staff was for hiking the Appalachian trail. Despite the scandal, Sanford finished two terms as governor in 2011 and was elected to his old seat in Congress in 2013.
___NEW YORK: Gov. Elliot Spitzer, a Democrat, resigned two years into his term in 2008 amid revelations he slept with prostitutes. Spitzer was exposed as a patron of a high-priced prostitution ring during a federal investigation, but he was never charged. His attempt at a political comeback failed when he lost his bid to become New York City’s comptroller in 2013.
___NEW JERSEY: Gov. Jim McGreevey, a Democrat, made history as America’s first openly gay governor when he announced his resignation in 2004 and revealed he had an extramarital affair with a male staffer. He faced criticism for appointing that staffer, who later denied the affair, as a homeland security adviser despite having few qualifications. Two of McGreevey’s campaign donors later went to prison after pleading to corruption charges.
___CONNECTICUT: Gov. John Rowland, a Republican, resigned in 2004 over a corruption scandal that included allegations of accepting thousands of dollars in illegal gifts. He was released from prison in 2006 after serving 10 months, but he now faces another corruption case. He is awaiting sentencing after he was convicted in September on federal charges that he conspired to hide payment for work on two congressional campaigns.