Tuesday, 28 August 2012

5 Political Scandals Involving Cell Phones

Affairs, corruption and lies; these are the ingredients that have cooked up classic newsworthy political scandals. In the old days, undercover investigations and wiretapping were often necessary for uncovering crooked politicians. In today’s technologically advanced world however, cell phones have simplified the process of catching politicians in unsavory acts. With one slip of the finger, scandalous photos, texts and social media updates are sent to the masses, forever transforming the lives of unsuspecting incumbents.
Looking for juicy stories of politicians gone bad? Here are five recent political scandals involving cell phones and social media to help you get your fix.

Anthony Weiner

Now dubbed as Weinergate, former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal shook the 2011 political scene. The scandal erupted after a link to a provocative photo of Weiner’s erect manhood under his boxer shorts was sent via the congressman’s public Twitter account to Gennette Cordova, a 21-year-old college student.

As with many politicians, Weiner’s first tactic to resolve the scandal was to deny it. In a series of interviews, Weiner denied being the subject in the photo and even suggested his account had been hacked by political opponents.

After additional photos from other women emerged, Wiener quickly backtracked and claimed responsibility for the photos. Apologies, regrets and shame quickly followed, perhaps in an attempt to salvage his marriage to Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton. Not surprisingly, Weiner announced his resignation in June 2011 when it was clear the scandal wasn’t going to subside. While similar scandals followed by other politicians, Weiner’s misdeed stole the 2011 political show perhaps because of his oh-so-fitting last name.

Chris Lee

Craig's List included as an element of a political scandal? Shocker. In 2011, Congressman Christopher Lee resigned from the House of Representatives after flirtatious e-mails were uncovered by the gossip website Gawker that he had sent to a woman he’d met on Craig's List. Lee initially responded to the woman’s Craig's List ad claiming to be a divorced lobbyist when he was, in fact, married with one child.

One email included a photo that spread quickly online of bare-chested Lee in a bathroom mirror with arm muscles flexed. Unfortunately for Lee, the Craig's List woman uncovered his true identity, cut off communication and made the correspondence public.

David Wu

Leaked emails sent from Congressman David Wu’s BlackBerry led to his abrupt downfall in 2011. One email included a photo of Wu in a tiger costume while other emails displayed Wu in additional acts of unusual behaviour. More stories from staffers surfaced of Wu being increasingly unpredictable as well as a claim of an unwanted encounter with an 18-year-old woman.

Wu originally attempted to downplay the misdeeds by claiming to have been joking around. However, after being urged to seek psychological treatment and at the calling of fellow Democrats, the congressman resigned.

David Vitter

Using an anonymous phone number would seem like a logical option when registering for a call-girl service, right? Not according to Republican Louisiana Senator David Vitter whose phone number was revealed on a call-girl service list in 2009.

The kicker in this scandal is Vitter was a leading advocate for abstinence-only education and a slew of other conservative platforms. After issuing a public apology for the scandal, Vitter managed to retain his marriage and his Senate seat.

Kwame Kilpatrick

Texting is an easy way to send sweet notes to loved ones. Unfortunately, it’s not the best option for maintaining contact when you’re Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and your lover is city official Christine Beatty. Roughly 1,400 romantic text messages between Kilpatrick and Beatty, both married at the time, were uncovered in 2008 during a city lawsuit hearing. Problems at home were perhaps the least of Kilpatrick’s concerns, however, after pleading guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice and agreeing to serve four months in jail.

So, what’s the lesson to be taken from these political and technological faux pas? Subscribe to the social media updates of politicians and always carry a camera-equipped cell phone such as one of the many no contract T-mobile cell phones. You never know when you may be the one to catch a politician in a misdeed. Oh, and if you’re a politician, learn how to use technology properly.
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Gautham A S

Gautham A S is a personal tech columnist and blogging expert at TechGau.Org, one of the leading Tech, How-To and Blogging Tips blogs in the world..