The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

More than two dozen members of Congress have been indicted since 1980

The Justice Department says Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) and four of his associates have been charged with participating in a racketeering conspiracy. (Video: Reuters)

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) was indicted Wednesday for -- what else -- allegations of mishandling money.

And he's in plenty of company. More than two dozen members of Congress have been indicted since 1980. A handful of the indictments were about sex, and one was about lying about military service. But the vast majority, like Fattah's, are about money -- specifically, members of Congress accused of accepting bribes in exchange for pulling strings on their end. You see the word "racketeering" pop up a lot while reading about their charges. Everyone's looking to get ahead, and for some members of Congress, the pull of using their office for personal gain is too strong.

Here's a recap of members indicted since 1980. Did we miss any? The comments section awaits.


Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.): on 29 counts (with others involved), accused of racketeering and misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars following his failed run for mayor of Philadelphia in 2007.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.): on 14 counts, including eight counts of bribery, in connection with helping a friend and supporter with his business interests. The case is still open, and Menendez is still in the Senate, vowing to fight.


Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) : on 20 counts, including five counts of mail and and wire fraud and three counts related to filing false tax returns, in connection with a Manhattan restaurant he ran called "Healthalicious." He was sentenced this month to eight months in prison.


Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska): on seven counts, including making false statements, in connection with more than a quarter of a million dollars allegedly gifted from oil company executives to upgrade his home. His subsequent conviction was later overturned.

Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.): on 35 counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering, and accused of influencing a land deal in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars. He was sentenced to three years in prison.


Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.): on 16 counts, accused of accepting about $500,000 in bribes. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison. The FBI found $90,000 in his freezer.


Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas): accused of conspiring with political associates to influence Texas state legislative races through a PAC that illegally gave corporate contributions for candidates. He was convicted, but the conviction was overturned by a court in 2013.


Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio): on multiple counts, including bribery, tax evasion and accepting illegal gifts, and accused of a "pattern of racketeering" by soliciting bribes in return for official favors. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.


Rep. Wes S. Cooley (R-Ore.): on two counts, for allegedly lying to voters about his military service in official state voter guides. He accepted a deal to avoid jail time, but he lost his reelection.

Rep. Nicholas Mavroules (D-Mass.): accused of accepting illegal gifts and misusing his office for private gain. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison.


Sen. David Durenberger (R-Minn.): indicted in 1993 and re-indicted in 1994 for misuse of public funds and improper reimbursement. He pleaded guilty to five misdemeanors in 1995 and served no jail time.

Rep. Mel Reynolds (D-Ill.): on 20 counts including child pornography and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child, in connection with allegations he had sex with a female teenage campaign worker and asked her to take pornographic photos. He served in prison until 2001, when then-President Bill Clinton commuted a later sentence for bank fraud.

Rep. Walter R. Tucker III (D-Calif.): on 10 counts, including extortion and filing false tax returns, and accused of accepting bribes from Compton Energy Systems. He was sentenced to 27 months.

Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.): on 17 counts, was accused of corrupt activity including having 14 "ghost employees" who performed little or no official work but instead did things like house and yard work for him. He served 15 months in federal prison.

Rep. Joseph Kolter (D-Pa.): on five counts, accused of embezzling more than $40,000 in taxpayer money, in relation to the Rostenkowski case. He was sentenced to six months.


Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.): on a misdemeanor count and four felony charges, in connection with allegations she used state employees and time to conduct political and personal business. She was acquitted and served two more decades in the Senate.

Rep. Albert Bustamante (D-Tex.): on 10 counts, and accused he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and used his office for criminal racketeering. He was convicted.


Rep. Donald E. Lukens (R-Ohio): on misdemeanor chargers he had sex with a teenage girl. He was also accused of paying the girl's mother to have sex with her daughter. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and resigned.


Rep. Patrick Swindall (R-Ga.): on 10 counts, and accused of lying about his knowledge of drug profit laundering money that was used as the source of a home loan he tried to obtain. He was sentenced to one year.

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-N.Y.): on seven counts, in connection with the same company as below. He served three months in jail.


Rep. Mario Biaggi (D-N.Y.): on 21 counts, accused of accepting bribes and extorting money from Wedtech, a New York company. He was sentenced to two and a half years.


Rep. George Hansen (R-Idaho): on four counts of filing false financial disclosure statements. He was accused of not reporting major financial transactions. He served 15 months.


Sen. Harrison A. Williams (D-N.J.):  on nine counts of bribery and conspiracy in connection with an FBI operation involving agents pretending to be Arabs seeking political favors known as Abscam. He was convicted. The film "American Hustle" was inspired by Abscam.

Rep. John Jenerette (D-S.C.): in the same FBI operation as above. He was convicted.

Rep. Richard Kelly (R-Fla.): in the same FBI operation as above. He was convicted.

Rep. Raymond Lederer (D-Penn.): in the same FBI operation as above. He was convicted.

Rep. Michael Myers (D-Penn.):  in the same FBI operation as above. He was convicted.

Rep. Frank Thompson (D-N.J.): in the same FBI operation as above. He was convicted.

Rep. John Murphy (D-N.Y.): in the same FBI operation as above. He was convicted.

Note: This list doesn't include members of Congress who pleaded guilty to wrongdoing but weren't indicted, like Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who pleaded guilty to corruption charges in 2006, and Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.), who admitted to taking bribes and resigned in 2005.