Updated at 4:30 p.m.
This week, Rep. Vance McAllister (R) joined the most welcoming society in Louisiana politics. After getting caught kissing a staffer, he is now one of many politicians in the state to have a scandal appended to his Wikipedia page, another data point in the argument that there must be something in the water there that makes politicians a magnet for bad behavior. Here is anthology of some of those scandals and political oddities, from the state consistently ranked one of our most corrupt.
Joseph Acklen: The Louisiana representative was "young, rich, eccentric and a bachelor," which meant Washington, D.C,. was quite enamored with the plantation owner from 1878 to 1881. However, he was also not the most upstanding of citizens. In the late 1870s, former Confederate General Tom Rosser allegedly found Acklen with a woman at Welcker's hotel. According to a California newspaper, he "presuppos[ed] that a lady was in distress, burst in the door, and found Mr. Acklen and Mrs. Godfrey together in something of a disordered condition." Everyone expected a duel would happen (it didn't), and Acklen offered Godfrey marriage (she "indignantly declined"). The House of Representatives later deliberated whether they wanted to address the scandal. (The New York Times reported that his colleagues had "no sympathy with the man whose moral excesses have made him the hero of two or three social scandals.") Senator Reagan from Texas thought, according to the Times, that "it would be a very awkward affair and would establish a very awkward precedent" if the House intervened in judging Acklen's virtue. Acklen denied all of the accusations, writing several letters to the editor to explain his innocence. According to Acklen, he and Mrs. Godfrey -- whose brother was a New York representative -- were merely enjoying some cheese and crackers in her hotel room.
Acklen did not run for his seat in 1880, and declined to accept an appointment as a Louisiana judge. He did not win an election to take back his seat in 1882.
Aaron Broussard: Broussard worked as a politician in Jefferson Parish for 35 years before being convicted of stealing money from local government, giving his girlfriend a high salaried government position and conspiring to commit bribery and wire fraud. He resigned from his position as Jefferson Parish president in 2010, and was indicted in 2012.
Besides corruption, he is also well-known for colorful copy. When he arrived at the New Orleans courtroom in late 2012, he told reporters, "This might be my last quote. At 23 years old, I came into politics as a dragon slayer. At 63 years old, I'm going out as a dragon."
He is currently in a prison in Tallahassee, Fla., and is scheduled to be released in September 2016.
Jim Brown: Brown -- who is the father of CNN anchor Campbell Brown -- served in the state Senate, as secretary of State and unsuccessfully ran for governor. In 2000, he was charged with lying to the FBI, and served six months at a federal corrections facility. He still denies that he lied. He now blogs.
Manny "Chevrolet" Bruno: Manny Chevrolet ran for mayor of New Orleans in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. His platform was not to have a platform, and he never won more than 1 percent of the vote. Despite never resonating with voters, perhaps because he gave them nothing to work with, he always proved an entertaining addition to mayoral races, as evidenced in a televised debate this January.
Bruno, who suggested that importing Amish workers could solve the city's blight problem, also pledged to make City Hall more customer-friendly by hiring "hostesses" and "some women from Bourbon Street, possibly."
Unable to provide an estimate for the city's current $500 million-plus bonded debt, he told Robinson: "I don't know, but I bet it's a lot."
But Bruno saved his best for last, offering a twisted take on the city's state of affairs in his closing statement.
"All the great leaders are gone," he said. "Ghandi is gone. Kennedy is gone, Martin Luther King is gone. And I'm not feeling really well myself right now," eliciting some of the loudest laughter of the night.
He decided to withdraw from the election under mysterious circumstances, saying in his announcement that he was challenged "on trivial grounds that have never been brought up in my three previous campaigns for mayor. ... The circumstances of the challenge are surprising and not a little suspicious."
He ended by saying, "If I were a typical politician, this is the point where I'd say something about wanting to spend more time with my family," Bruno said. "But who'd believe that? I mean, have you met my family?"
Before his strange disappearance from the race, however, he released an entertaining campaign ad/send-off.
Gil Dozier: In 1980, the former state agriculture commissioner was convicted of extortion and racketeering. According to the Toledo Blade, he was the "third major Louisiana political figure to face a federal jury in two years." During his trial, he was called "Darth Vader." He served four years in federal prison, until President Ronald Reagan commuted his sentence.
He resurfaced later during the endless Edwards investigations, when it was revealed he had been mailing checks to the governor written to "CASH."
Edwin Edwards: Edwards served as the governor of Louisiana three nonconsecutive times during the '70s, '80s and '90s. His gubernatorial career definitively ended in 2000, when he was convicted of receiving kickbacks in exchange for organizing boating license sales. However, this was far from his first or last scandal. In 1976, he was accused of receiving gifts from a former Korean government agent. He was not indicted.
His deeds weren't his only scandalous muse. His words did fine on their own, too. During the 1984 gubernatorial race, he said, "The only way I can lose this election is if I get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."
In 1985, he was indicted by a federal grand jury for selling hospital certificates, a practice that led to $10 million for Edwards and the people who helped him with the scheme. He got off on a mistrial, and the charges were dropped. In 1986, he was questioned about selling pardons and selling land to Texaco in return for campaign contributions. He was not charged.
He lost his first election in 1987. Buddy Roemer, who replaced Edwards as governor, described his administration as "a sinkhole of dirty corrupt politics." In 1992, Edwards retook his former gubernatorial seat, besting former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke and Roemer -- who came in third. Edwards said of his opponent, "We're both wizards in the sheets."
In 1999, he was convicted of extracting at least $3 million from people in exchange for casino licenses in the state. The indictment against Edwards, according to "Political Corruption in America: An Encyclopedia of Scandals, Power, and Greed," accused Edwards and his accomplices of violating "The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, committ[ing] extortion, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, interstate travel and communications in aid of racketeering, false statements, illegal wiretapping and conspiracy."
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and served eight.
Now 86, with a seven-month-old son and a 35-year-old wife, he is running for Congress. He had originally wanted to try for governor again, but he is barred from doing so because of state law.
He starred in a reality TV show on A&E. It was canceled because of low ratings, but it may return to film Edwards' campaign.
Mike Foster: In 1999, the New York Times wrote of Louisiana politics, "The tranquillity that descended over Louisiana politics for the last four years had become positively Midwestern, and that is not a compliment in the state that invented Tabasco. It had been years since anyone in office was indicted, marriage vows were staying intact, and leading officials of the two parties respected each other so much that they had actually agreed to a non-aggression pact."
That is until Republican Gov. Mike Foster spent $150,000 for a list of supporters of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard and gubernatorial candidate David Duke. That sum of money is considerably above what such a list would normally go for, so many assumed Foster paid Duke -- who ended up endorsing Foster -- to stay out of the 1996 election. Foster also failed to report the payment on his tax forms. Foster quickly said he regretted buying the list, which he didn't even end up using.
The director of Tulane University's Southern Institute for Education and Research said of the matter, "We've got a unique political culture here, and I guess you could say it's come out of remission.''
Jack P.F. Gremillion: Gremillion served as state attorney general in Louisiana for 16 years before being convicted of perjury in 1971. A decade earlier, he fought a federal order to desegregate schools, calling the federal district court a "den of iniquity." He was cited for contempt of court, which led to 18 months of probation. Gov. Earl Long said of him, “If you want to hide something from Jack Gremillion, put it in a law book.”
His obituary labels him "colorful," which seems to be the "nondescript office building" of Louisiana politicians.
Monte Hart: Hart was a contractor sentenced to 32 months in prison during the "Louisiana scandals" in 1940. (see Huey Long). He was indicted for embezzlement, padding bills and selling the Louisiana State University hotel fixtures that they already owned. He shot himself in the mouth on the first anniversary of the first trial -- the fifth person to commit suicide in the aftermath of scandal.
William Jefferson: The Democratic representative -- Louisiana's first black representative after Reconstruction -- was sentenced to 13 years in prison for bribery in 2009, less than a year after losing his seat. It was the longest sentence ever given to a member of Congress for corruption charges.
The FBI found $90,000 worth of bribe money in Jefferson's freezer, stashed away in Boca Burger and Pillsbury boxes. Jefferson's office files and hard drive were eventually seized -- the first time a member of Congress's office had ever been raided by federal agents. Jefferson was also the first U.S. official to be charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He is currently serving his sentence in a federal prison camp in Oakville, La.
Bobby Jindal: In 2011, ethics watchdogs turned their eye toward the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children, a nonprofit run by Gov. Bobby Jindal's wife that helps students access high-tech education tools. The foundation has received large donations from companies very much affected by the whims of state regulators and have things they would like from Louisiana politicians. Jindal's office denied any connection between his wife's charity work and his office's political decisions, and the issue has mostly faded away.
Tightening state ethics rules has been a priority of Jindal's gubernatorial career.
Maurice Katz: Katz, described in his obituary as "a longtime habitue of steakhouses and Louisiana politics," served on the edges of several Louisiana political scandals. Also known as "Hippo," the insurance broker was accused of getting a contract to sell insurance to state employees through Gov. Edwin Edwards. He was also connected to the Broussard scandal, and helped a company win a contract with the Jefferson Parish school district that resulted in millions of dollars of losses.
Richard Leche: A protege of Huey Long (See Huey Long), Leche was governor during the height of the Louisiana scandals. Soon after his inauguration -- he won the election in a landslide that broke records in the state -- he said, "When I took the oath of office I didn't take any vow of poverty." Not taking this vow involved stealing millions of dollars from the state. He worked with state officials to sell trucks from allies to the Highway Department -- and took at least $31,000 in kickbacks for himself in a set of scandals --- known as the Louisiana Hayride Scandals after a book about the post-Long era of state politics -- that ended in many arrests. Leche was sentenced to prison for 10 years, served three, was pardoned by Harry Truman and then became a lobbyist.
Bob Livingston: The Republican representative, about to become the successor to Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House, resigned from Congress on the House floor the same day they voted to impeach President Bill Clinton in 1998. Hustler Magazine had been preparing an article that would have revealed the past extramarital affairs of Livingston and other members of Congress. He beat the magazine to the punch, revealing his affairs himself, and decided to resign after the uproar among social conservatives. His resignation shocked the Capitol, as the Washington Post reported:
In a year of bizarre political turmoil, the spectacle of a speaker-designate resigning on the same day the House voted to impeach the president over alleged lies in sworn testimony about sex with an intern left even the most seasoned veterans gaping and shaken.
"How many more good people are going to be destroyed next by Christmas?" asked Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), a friend of Livingston's, fighting back tears. "What are we going to do? Line them all up and mow them down?"
Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.) added: "This is all so overwhelming. There have been so many bombshells you can barely turn your back."
Huey Long: As Michael Kazin summed up in the Washington Post, the Louisiana governor and senator -- assassinated when he was only 42 -- may not have been the first corrupt politician in Louisiana, but he was the one who made it into an art.
The Kingfish (a nickname he borrowed from a character on the "Amos 'n' Andy" radio show) cursed and bullied state lawmakers until they voted his way or were hounded out of office, sometimes in rigged elections. Vowing to help farmers and laborers of all races, Long forced the legislature to finance free textbooks for schoolchildren, build thousands of miles of new roads and slap a hefty tax on Standard Oil, whose Baton Rouge refinery was the largest in the world.
Meanwhile, Long, who sometimes wore green silk pajamas while greeting official visitors, treated himself to the bounty of his realm. He ordered convicts from the state penitentiary to tear down the antebellum governor's mansion and had a near-replica of the White House built in its place. He acted as virtual coach of the Louisiana State University football team and sometimes threw tantrums on the field when they lost. And he often gave his best speeches while drunk.
The government he created and micromanaged in Louisiana was also ripe for ruin without his leadership, which is what happened after he died and many Louisiana politicians ended up in jail. Huey's brother Earl later became governor.
Vance McAllister: The Republican representative and former oil and gas businessman won a special election in 2013 — winning 60 percent of the vote after a helpful endorsement from a "Duck Dynasty" star — and has only been in Congress for a few months. When he was sworn in as a representative last November, it was the first time he'd ever been to Washington, D.C. Ashley Parker at the New York Times wrote about his first experience of the area that would soon become his milieu:
Mr. McAllister arrived at Reagan National Airport on Wednesday morning fresh off a connection in Atlanta, wheeling his own carry-on, and wearing a gray suit (and gray suspenders) with his tie draped loose around his neck. “At least it smells all right,” he said, sniffing the air as he waited in the taxi line.
But, as his taxi cruised toward his new office and the Capitol came into view, Mr. McAllister — whose northern Louisiana accent is slow and gravelly, a bit like a deep mumble — grew more animated. The representative-elect hails from Swartz, near Monroe, and seemed equal parts relaxed and confident, curious and eager.
“I’ve seen it before on TV, but it’s pretty amazing to be right where the world revolves, ain’t it?” he said. Then, turning to an aide, he asked, “Is everything right there together — the Capitol, the Pentagon, the White House?” (The Pentagon, explained his aide, is actually across the river in Virginia).
Later, walking into the Cannon House building where his office is, he observed, “I thought there was way more steps.”
“At the Capitol, there are,” explained Jennifer Dunagin, his communications director.
It didn't take him long to pick up the verve of his political forebears. On Monday, The Ouachita Citizen released footage of the representative kissing his scheduler last December in his Monroe, La., office. He released an apology Monday afternoon, "From day one, I've always tried to be an honest man. I ran for Congress to make a difference and not to just be another politician. I don't want to make a political statement on this, I would just simply like to say that I'm very sorry for what I've done."
His scheduler has resigned, and McAllister hasn't appeared in D.C. since. However, he has engaged in a lengthy text conversation with an anonymous individual who then sent his replies to Gawker. The husband of the scheduler went on CNN to say he is "freaking devastated."
Dwight McKenna: In the 2010 New Orleans coroner's race, Dwight McKenna may not have beaten the incumbent Frank Minyard (see below), but he did manage to create one of the strangest campaign ads in history.
ProPublica named it the "craziest campaign ad ever."
McKenna also spent nine months in prison after a 1992 tax evasion conviction. He underreported his income by $367,000.
J. J. McKeithen: McKeithen served as governor from 1964 to 1972. He was popular for appointing black people to his administration during a time when integration in the South caused friction, and for beginning to build the Superdome. However, his administration was also accused of working with the Mafia -- although the scandalous whispers were never connected to him.
Frank Minyard: Minyard, 84 years old, served as New Orleans coroner for 40 years; he decided not to run again in 2014. He was elected a total of 10 times. He had originally planned to retire in 1998, but was automatically re-elected after a challenger dropped out. The following election year, he intended to retire and supervise his "bull making love to my cow." And yet he's still in office, at least until the coroner-elect takes over. He is also known as Dr. Jazz and plays the trumpet.
Ray Nagin: Nagin was mayor of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. After he left office, he charged with 21 counts of bribery, money laundering, filing false tax returns and wire fraud. Federal prosecutors are currently trying to seize more than half a million dollars from Nagin, and he is set to be sentenced on June 11. The former mayor is broke, and is collecting donations for a legal defense fund -- and advertising his fund on Twitter.
He was also not the most colorful of corrupters. As New Orleans resident Tom Carson notes, "Nagin's conviction also defines the decline of what might be called corruption's aesthetic dimension. Heck, at least Edwin Edwards was a colorful rogue. My favorite Louisiana politician of all time—Earl Long, Huey's baby brother—married Shakespeare and the Three Stooges in unholy matrimony for all time. But Nagin's only vice was a relentless cupidity. That proves he's dull as well as amoral, and you get one guess which sin matters more in a city so invested in the concept of lagniappe."
Michael O'Keefe: The disbarred lawyer and former state senator has been convicted multiple times for mail fraud, obstruction of justice and various other corruption charges. His last scandal happened while he was in prison, while he was allegedly running a diploma mill. A local political columnist said he was called the "snowman." "They said he could walk across a field of snow and not leave tracks. Well, that was in the 1970s and '80s. Nowadays, with technology and the federal government having all of its vast powers, it’s very hard to weave webs that can't be seen."
His son was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison in 2009 for a house-flipping scam.
Otto Passman: The conservative Democrat and segregationist was also accused of accepting gifts from a former Korean government official in the late 70s. He was never found guilty. He was previously accused of shoddy accounting with his congressional expense accounts and bribing foreign governments. These charges were not proven either. One of his signature platforms on the Hill was an opposition to foreign aid.
Lt. Gov. William Dodd once whacked Passman at the face at the Virgina Hotel in Monroe, La. A former Louisiana State University boxer was also present, who allegedly tried to trip Passman. The representative brought charges against the two. The Times-News in Henderson, N.C. reported that "Dodd said he didn't know what started the encounter and called it 'more reflex than anything else.' The two men are bitter political rivals." In his book, "Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics," Dodd alleges that Passman gave a monologue at least once during his lifetime.
The last line of Passman's New York Times obituary notes that he told reporters he owned 48 suits.
Eddie Price: In 2008, local news outlets discovered the mayor of Mandeville had received a $500 Wal-Mart gift card from the Mandeville Police Citizen Service Fund -- also known as Toys for Tots -- in December 2006. The previous year, he had received another $500 gift card. In 2003, he was rewarded with a $300 gift card. In other years, the person who ran the fund purchased a hunting bow and a gun cabinet for the mayor -- although the fund was later reimbursed for these expenses. Eddie Price later said he thought the gifts were from the police department, and not from funds appropriated for needy children.
The person in charge of the Citizen Service Fund also used the account to pay for fruit baskets for the City Council, an annual crawfish boil and Christmas parties.
Price drunkenly drove into a toll booth in 2006, and wasn't issued a ticket until two weeks later, after a government inquiry. Also in 2006, Price intervened when a rich local businessman "attacked a 42-year-old Mandeville woman on Feb. 22, 2006, throwing her to the ground and then kicking her in the head after an argument at a local bar," according to the state attorney general's office.
Later corruption charges and tax evasion -- including paying for personal expenses with city credit cards and accepting lavish, free-of-charge golf trips -- eventually forced Price to resign.
During the hearing, Price said, "I embarrassed them and embarrassed myself. My dad is probably turning over in his grave to see me standing in front of this court."
John Slidell: A senator from Louisiana, he tried to buy his state's vote for Henry Clay in the early 1800s. It didn't work.
James Monroe Smith: Smith was the president of Louisiana State University during the Louisiana Hayride Scandals. Huey Long had installed him as president, and then gave more than $13 million to the institution to spruce it up. Smith celebrated the spending by moving his family into a mansion and buying an expensive car. Students called him "Jimmy the Stooge." Meanwhile, the faculty was making a pittance. After Long died and Smith kept getting money, he was eventually indicted for forgery and embezzlement. He was in prison for a few years until FDR pardoned him.
Rick Tonry: The Democratic representative ended up resigning from Congress after only 121 days in office. In 1977, he was convicted of accepting illegal campaign contributions over $1,000. Twenty-one polling commissioners pleaded guilty to casting fake votes for the representative too, although Tonry was never explicitly connected to the voter fraud. He served a six-month prison sentence.
David Vitter: While Vitter was in the Louisiana state legislature, he filed two complaints to the state ethics board about Gov. Edwin Edwards. He won a special election in 1999 to replace Sen. Bob Livingston, who resigned after admitting to extramarital affairs. He planned to run for governor in 2003, but dropped out after allegations regarding a relationship with a prostitute. He won a Senate seat two years later. In 2007, however, his phone number came up on records owned by Deborah Jeane Palfrey. Palfrey was convicted in 2008 for running a high-end prostitution ring. Vitter apologized, but didn't resign.
Vitter also proves the rule that scandal isn't the end of a political career in Louisiana. He was re-elected in 2010 with 57 percent of the vote -- although his scandal was wielded prominently by the opposition -- and is now planning to run for governor. A study referenced by Nate Silver in 2011 showed that "scandals involving immoral behavior cost the incumbent an average of 6.5 percentage points."
Henry Clay Warmoth: Warmouth served as Louisiana governor from 1868 to 1872. By the end of his first term, there weren't many Republicans left in his party who liked him, so they refused to nominate him again. He, in turn, supported the Democratic ticket. The legislature responded by impeaching him. He was suspended from office for the duration of his term, which came before an impeachment trial could begin. Lt. Gov. Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback served as governor for the remaining month of his term, making him the first African-American to become governor in the United States.