Blagojevich Is at Least 14th Impeached Gov

Scandals force out 22 govs
Twelve resigned in the face of political or legal problems, and 10 were removed before the end of their terms following impeachment or court orders.

Governors who resigned
amid political scandal, in chronological order:

  Governors who were removed after impeachment or legally forced from office by courts:
1. New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), effective March 17, 2008, after it was disclosed that he had hired prostitutes.

2. New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey (D), who resigned effective November 2004 after revealing in August 2004 that he had an affair with another man.

3. Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland (R), who stepped down effective July 1, 2004, in the face of impeachment proceedings and a federal criminal probe into allegations that he steered contracts to political allies and companies and accepted gifts from contractors, including renovations to a vacation home.

4. Arizona Gov. Fife Symington (R), who left office in 1997 after being convicted of federal bank and wire fraud charges that later were overturned.

5. Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker (D), who resigned in July 1996 after being convicted of two felony charges related to the Whitewater investigations. Legislative leaders and the lieutenant governor had called for impeachment proceedings.

6. Tennessee Gov. Ray Blanton (D), embroiled in a pardon-selling scandal, who quit his post with just three days left in 1979. He was acquitted of those charges but later convicted of unrelated extortion and conspiracy crimes.

7. Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel (D), who resigned in 1977 after being convicted of racketeering and mail fraud. He served 19 months in prison before his conviction was overturned. President Ronald Reagan (R) commuted Mandel's sentence in 1981 and his conviction was overturned in 1987.

8. Louisiana Gov. Richard Leche (D), who resigned in 1939 after a federal mail fraud conviction.

9. Indiana Gov. Warren McCray (R), who was convicted of mail fraud and resigned in 1924.

10. Mississippi Gov. Adelbert Ames (R), who resigned after being impeached in 1876 but before the Legislature could convict and remove him.

11. Georgia Gov. Rufus Brown Bullock (R), who resigned in 1871 while under investigation for a number of crimes.

12. Mississippi Gov. John A. Quitman (D), who resigned in 1851 before his arrest by a federal marshal and after an 1850 indictment for violating the federal Neutrality Act.
  1. Alabama Gov. Guy Hunt (R), who was legally removed in 1993 after being convicted of illegally using campaign and inaugural funds to pay personal debts. He was later pardoned.

2. Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham (R), who was impeached in 1988.

3. North Dakota Gov. Thomas H. Moodie (D), who was legally removed from office by the state Supreme Court in 1935, less than a month into his term, after it was determined he was in violation of state residency requirements.

4. North Dakota Gov. William Langer (Non-Partisan League), who was legally removed from office by the state Supreme Court in 1934 after being charged with soliciting money from state workers.

5. Oklahoma Gov. Henry S. Johnston (D), who was impeached in 1929.*

6. Oklahoma Gov. John C. Walton (D), who was impeached in 1923.

7. Texas Gov. James E. Ferguson (D), who was impeached in 1917.

8. New York Gov. William Sulzer (D), who was impeached in 1913.

9. Nebraska Gov. David Butler (R), who was impeached in 1871.

10. North Carolina Gov. William W. Holden (D), who was impeached in 1871.

Two governors also have been recalled by voters in the nation's history: California Gov. Gray Davis (D) in 2003 and North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (D) in 1921.

*Johnston also was impeached in 1927, but not removed from office
Sources: reporting and the National Governors Association database and the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research

Updated 3:20 p.m.EST, Jan. 10, 2009)

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) Friday (Jan. 9) became at least the 14th governor to be impeached, after the Illinois House voted 114-1 to give the Senate the chance to remove him.

"The governor has clearly, clearly been unable to govern for far too long," state Rep. Susan Mendoza (D) said on the House floor shortly before the vote. "It's been an ugly and shameful spectacle. Rod Blagojevich, you should be ashamed of yourself. ...Take your sullied place in history."

Blagojevich's office announced he will respond to the impeachment at a press conference Friday afternoon. The impeachment means the Illinois Senate will now decide whether to remove Blagojevich from office. Seven governors left office after being impeached, the last of which was Arizona's Evan Mecham (R) in 1988. Mecham was the only governor in the past 75 years to be convicted on articles of impeachment.

At least six governors, most famously Louisiana's Huey Long (D) in 1929, have been impeached but not removed from office as a result.

If Blagojevich does leave office, Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn (D), a frequent critic of the governor, would assume the post.

The 13 articles of impeachment against Blagojevich go beyond the accusations made by federal prosecutors when they arrested him last month, including the charge that Blagojevich tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. The articles also say Blagojevich disregarded the law when expanding a health care program in defiance of the General Assembly, skirted state hiring laws and tried to import prescription drugs from Canada in defiance of federal law.

Including Blagojevich, five of the last nine Illinois governors have been charged with a crime (including one who was later acquitted), but Blagojevich is the first Illinois governor to be impeached.

The Illinois House last impeached a state official in the days when Abraham Lincoln lived in Springfield. That impeachment of state Supreme Court Justice Theophilus W. Smith in 1832 did not lead to his removal.

See Related Stories:

Illinois law allows big checks to governor (12/30/2008)

Furor over Senate seat not unique to Illinois (12/23/2008)

Legal woes have hit other governors (12/10/2008)

Democrats dysfunction hobbles Illinois (9/17/2007)

New scandal clouds Illinois politics (9/27/2005)

Rowland dodges impeachment, not disgrace (6/22/2004)

McGreevey is first gov to resign in a sexual scandal (8/13/2004)

Mushrooming scandal overhangs Illinois politics (4/12/2002)

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include information on additional governors, not counted in the original story, who were impeached but did not leave office.


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