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Expulsions and Censures of the Senators

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  • Ram Lau
    Expulsion and Censure http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Expulsion_Censure.htm Expulsion (see below for Censure cases) Article I,
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 24, 2006
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      Expulsion and Censure
      http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Expulsion_Censure.htm

      Expulsion (see below for Censure cases)

      Article I, Section 5, of the United States Constitution provides that
      "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings,
      punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence
      of two-thirds, expel a member."

      Since 1789, the Senate has expelled only fifteen of its entire
      membership. Of that number, fourteen were charged with support of the
      Confederacy during the Civil War. In several other cases, the Senate
      considered expulsion proceedings but either found the member not
      guilty or failed to act before the member left office. In those cases,
      corruption was the primary cause of complaint.

      In the entire course of the Senate's history, only four members have
      been convicted of crimes. They were: Joseph R. Burton (1905), John
      Hipple Mitchell (1905), Truman H. Newberry (1920), and Harrison
      Williams (1981). Newberry's conviction was later overturned. Mitchell
      died. Burton, Newberry, and Williams resigned before the Senate could
      act on their expulsion.

      United States Senate Expulsion Cases

      Date: 1797

      Member: William Blount (R-TN)

      Charge: Anti-Spanish conspiracy; treason

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1808

      Member: John Smith (R-OH)

      Charge: Disloyalty/Treason

      Result: Not Expelled

      Note: Expulsion failed 19 to 10--less than the necessary two-thirds
      majority. At request of the Ohio legislature, Smith resigned two weeks
      after the vote. (His counsel was Francis Scott Key.)

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1858

      Member: Henry M. Rice (D-MN)

      Charge: Corruption

      Result: Not Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1861

      Member: James M. Mason (D-VA)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1861

      Member: Robert M.T. Hunter (D-VA)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1861

      Member: Thomas L. Clingman (D-NC)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1861

      Member: Thomas Bragg (D-NC)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1861

      Member: James Chesnut, Jr. (D-SC)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1861

      Member: Alfred O.P. Nicholson (D-TN)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1861

      Member: William K. Sebastian (D-AR)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      Note: On March 3, 1877, the Senate reversed its decision to expel
      Sebastian. Because Sebastian had died in 1865, his children were paid
      an amount equal to his Senate salary between the time of his expulsion
      and the date of his death.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1861

      Member: Charles B. Mitchel (D-AR)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1861

      Member: John Hemphill (D-TX)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1861

      Member: Louis T. Wigfall (D-TX)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      Note: In March 1861, the Senate took no action on an initial
      resolution expelling Wigfall because he represented a state that had
      seceded from the Union. Three months later, on July 10, 1861, he was
      expelled for supporting the Confederacy.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1861

      Member: John C. Breckinridge (D-KY)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1862

      Member: Lazarus W. Powell (D-KY)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Not Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1862

      Member: Trusten Polk (D-MO)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1862

      Member: Waldo P. Johnson (D-MO)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1862

      Member: Jesse D. Bright (D-IN)

      Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion

      Result: Expelled

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1862

      Member: James F. Simmons (R-RI)

      Charge: Corruption

      Result: Resigned

      Note: On July 14, 1862, the Judiciary Committee reported that the
      charges against Simmons were essentially correct. The Senate adjourned
      three days later, and Simmons resigned on August 15 before the Senate
      could take action.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1873

      Member: James W. Patterson (R-NH)

      Charge: Corruption

      Result: Term Expired

      Note: A Senate select committee recommended expulsion on February 27.
      On March 1, a Republican caucus decided that there was insufficient
      time remaining in the session to deliberate the matter. Patterson's
      term expired March 3, and no further action was taken.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1893

      Member: William N. Roach (D-ND)

      Charge: Embezzlement

      Result: Not Expelled

      Note: After extensive deliberation, the Senate took no action,
      assuming that it lacked jurisdiction over members' behavior before
      their election to the Senate. The alleged embezzlement had occurred 13
      years earlier.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1905

      Member: John H. Mitchell (R-OR)

      Charge: Corruption

      Result: Not Expelled

      Note: Mitchell was indicted on January 1, 1905, and convicted on July
      5, 1905, during a Senate recess. Mitchell died on December 8, while
      his case was still on appeal and before the Senate, which had convened
      on December 4, could take any action against him.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1906

      Member: Joseph R. Burton (R-KS)

      Charge: Corruption

      Result: Resigned

      Note: Burton was indicted and convicted of receiving compensation for
      intervening with a federal agency. When the Supreme Court upheld his
      conviction, he resigned rather than face expulsion.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1907

      Member: Reed Smoot (R-UT)

      Charge: Mormonism

      Result: Not Expelled

      Note: After an investigation spanning two years, the Committee on
      Privileges and Elections reported that Smoot was not entitled to his
      seat because he was a leader in a religion that advocated polygamy and
      a union of church and state, contrary to the U.S. Constitution. By a
      vote of 27 to 43, however, the Senate failed to expel him, finding
      that he satisfied the constitutional requirements for serving as a
      senator.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1919

      Member: Robert M. La Follette (R-WI)

      Charge: Disloyalty

      Result: Not Expelled

      Note: The Committee on Privileges and Elections recommended that the
      Senate take no action as the speech in question (a 1917 speech
      opposing U.S. entry into World War I) did not warrant it. The Senate
      agreed 50 to 21.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1922

      Member: Truman H. Newberry (R-MI)

      Charge: Election fraud

      Result: Resigned

      Note: On March 20, 1920, Newberry was convicted on charges of spending
      $3,750 to secure his Senate election. The U.S. Supreme Court
      overturned this decision (May 2, 1921) on the grounds that the U.S.
      Senate exceeded its powers in attempting to regulate primary
      elections. By a vote of 46 to 41 (January 12, 1922), the Senate
      declared Newberry to have been duly elected in 1918. On November
      18--two days before the start of the 3rd session of the 67th
      Congress--Newberry resigned as certain members resumed their efforts
      to unseat him.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1924

      Member: Burton K. Wheeler (D-MT)

      Charge: Conflict of interest

      Result: Not Expelled

      Note: Wheeler was indicted for serving while a senator in causes in
      which the U.S. was a party. A Senate committee, however, found that
      his dealings related to litigation before state courts and that he
      received no compensation for any service before federal departments.
      The Senate exonerated him by a vote of 56 to 5.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1934

      Member: John H. Overton (D-LA)

      Charge: Election fraud

      Result: No Senate action

      Note: The Committee on Privileges and Elections concluded that the
      charges and evidence were insufficient to warrant further consideration.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1934

      Member: Huey P. Long (D-LA)

      Charge: Election fraud

      Result: No Senate action

      Note: The Privileges and Elections Committee considered this case in
      conjunction with that against Senator Overton (see Note 13) and
      reached the same conclusion.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1942

      Member: William Langer (R-ND)

      Charge: Corruption

      Result: Not Expelled

      Note: Recommending that this case was properly one of exclusion, not
      expulsion, the Committee on Privileges and Elections declared Langer
      guilty of moral turpitude and voted, 13 to 2, to deny him his seat.
      The Senate disagreed, 52 to 30, arguing that the evidence was hearsay
      and inconclusive. Langer retained his seat.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1982

      Member: Harrison A. Williams, Jr. (D-NJ)

      Charge: Corruption

      Result: Resigned

      Note: The Committee on Ethics recommended that Williams be expelled
      because of his "ethically repugnant" conduct in the Abscam scandal,
      for which he was convicted of conspiracy, bribery, and conflict of
      interest. Prior to a Senate vote on his expulsion, Williams resigned
      on March 11, 1982.

      ----------------------------------

      Date: 1995

      Member: Robert W. Packwood (R-OR)

      Charge: Sexual misconduct and abuse of power

      Result: Resigned

      Note: The Committee on Ethics recommended that Packwood be expelled
      for abuse of his power as a senator "by repeatedly committing sexual
      misconduct" and "by engaging in a deliberate ... plan to enhance his
      personal financial position" by seeking favors "from persons who had a
      particular interest in legislation or issues" that he could influence,
      as well as for seeking "to obstruct and impede the committee's
      inquiries by withholding, altering, and destroying relevant evidence."
      On September 7, 1995, the day after the committee issued its
      recommendation, Packwood announced his resignation without specifying
      an effective date. On September 8, he indicated that he would resign
      effective October 1, 1995.

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Censure

      A less severe form of discipline used by the Senate against its
      members is censure (sometimes referred to as condemnation or
      denouncement). A censure does not remove a senator from office. It is
      a formal statement of disapproval, however, that can have a powerful
      psychological effect on a member and his/her relationships in the
      Senate. Since 1789 the Senate has censured nine of its members.

      United States Senate Censure Cases

      Date: January 2, 1811

      Member: Timothy Pickering (F-MA)

      Charge: Reading confidential documents in open Senate session before
      an injunction of secrecy was removed.

      Result: Censured. Failed reelection (elected to the House in 1812).

      Vote: 20-7

      ----------------------------------

      Date: May 10, 1844

      Member: Benjamin Tappan (D-OH)

      Charge: Releasing to the New York Evening Post a copy of President
      John Tyler's message to the Senate of April 22, 1844 regarding the
      treaty of annexation between the United States and the Republic of
      Texas. Result: Censured. Did not run for reelection.

      Vote: 38-7

      ----------------------------------

      Date: February 28, 1902

      Members: Benjamin R. Tillman (D-SC) and John L. McLaurin (D-SC)

      Charge: Fighting in the Senate chamber on February 22, 1902.

      Result: Each was censured and suspended, retroactively, for six days.
      This incident led to the adoption of Rule XIX governing the conduct of
      debate in the chamber. Tillman -- reelected; McLaurin -- did not run
      for reelection.

      Vote: 54-12; 22 not voting

      ----------------------------------

      Date: November 4, 1929

      Member: Hiram Bingham (R-CT)

      Charge: Employing as a Senate staff member Charles Eyanson, who was
      simultaneously employed by the Manufacturers Association of
      Connecticut. Eyanson was hired to assist Bingham on tariff
      legislation. The issue broadened into the question of the government
      employing dollar-a-year-men.

      Result: "Condemned" for conduct tending "to bring the Senate into
      dishonor and disrepute." Defeated for reelection.

      Vote: 54-22; 18 not voting

      ----------------------------------

      Date: December 2, 1954

      Member: Joseph R. McCarthy (R-WI)

      Charge: Abuse and non-cooperation with the Subcommittee on Privileges
      and Elections during a 1952 investigation of his conduct; for abuse of
      the Select Committee to Study Censure.

      Result: He was "condemned." Died in office.

      Vote: 67-22

      ----------------------------------

      Date: June 23, 1967

      Member: Thomas J. Dodd (D-CT)

      Charge: Use of his office (1961-1965) to convert campaign funds to his
      personal benefit. Conduct unbecoming a senator.

      Result: Censured. Defeated for reelection.

      Vote: 92-5

      ----------------------------------

      Date: October 11, 1979

      Member: Herman E. Talmadge (D-GA)

      Charge: Improper financial conduct (1973-1978), accepting
      reimbursements of $43,435.83 for official expenses not incurred, and
      improper reporting of campaign receipts and expenditures.

      Result: His conduct was "denounced" as reprehensible and tending to
      bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute. Defeated for reelection.

      Vote: 81-15

      ----------------------------------

      Date: July 25, 1990

      Member: David F. Durenberger (R-MN)

      Charge: Unethical conduct "in connection with his arrangement with
      Piranha Press, his failure to report receipt of travel expenses in
      connection with his Piranha Press and Boston area appearances, his
      structuring of real estate transactions and receipt of Senate
      reimbursements in connection with his stays in his Minneapolis
      condominium, his pattern of prohibited communications respecting the
      condominium, his repeated acceptance of prohibited gifts of limousine
      service for personal purposes, and the conversion of a campaign
      contribution to his personal use."

      Result: "Denounced" for reprehensible conduct, bringing the Senate
      into dishonor and disrepute. Did not run for reelection.

      Vote: 96-0

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • THOMAS JOHNSON
      Very interesting, Ram....Thanks for the post. Tom ... http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Expulsion_Censure.htm ... === message
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 25, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Very interesting, Ram....Thanks for the post.

        Tom

        --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

        > Expulsion and Censure
        >
        http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Expulsion_Censure.htm
        >
        > Expulsion (see below for Censure cases)
        >
        > Article I, Section 5, of the United States
        > Constitution provides that
        > "Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of
        > its proceedings,
        > punish its members for disorderly behavior, and,
        > with the concurrence
        > of two-thirds, expel a member."
        >
        > Since 1789, the Senate has expelled only fifteen of
        > its entire
        > membership. Of that number, fourteen were charged
        > with support of the
        > Confederacy during the Civil War. In several other
        > cases, the Senate
        > considered expulsion proceedings but either found
        > the member not
        > guilty or failed to act before the member left
        > office. In those cases,
        > corruption was the primary cause of complaint.
        >
        > In the entire course of the Senate's history, only
        > four members have
        > been convicted of crimes. They were: Joseph R.
        > Burton (1905), John
        > Hipple Mitchell (1905), Truman H. Newberry (1920),
        > and Harrison
        > Williams (1981). Newberry's conviction was later
        > overturned. Mitchell
        > died. Burton, Newberry, and Williams resigned before
        > the Senate could
        > act on their expulsion.
        >
        > United States Senate Expulsion Cases
        >
        > Date: 1797
        >
        > Member: William Blount (R-TN)
        >
        > Charge: Anti-Spanish conspiracy; treason
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1808
        >
        > Member: John Smith (R-OH)
        >
        > Charge: Disloyalty/Treason
        >
        > Result: Not Expelled
        >
        > Note: Expulsion failed 19 to 10--less than the
        > necessary two-thirds
        > majority. At request of the Ohio legislature, Smith
        > resigned two weeks
        > after the vote. (His counsel was Francis Scott Key.)
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1858
        >
        > Member: Henry M. Rice (D-MN)
        >
        > Charge: Corruption
        >
        > Result: Not Expelled
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1861
        >
        > Member: James M. Mason (D-VA)
        >
        > Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1861
        >
        > Member: Robert M.T. Hunter (D-VA)
        >
        > Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1861
        >
        > Member: Thomas L. Clingman (D-NC)
        >
        > Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1861
        >
        > Member: Thomas Bragg (D-NC)
        >
        > Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1861
        >
        > Member: James Chesnut, Jr. (D-SC)
        >
        > Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1861
        >
        > Member: Alfred O.P. Nicholson (D-TN)
        >
        > Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1861
        >
        > Member: William K. Sebastian (D-AR)
        >
        > Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > Note: On March 3, 1877, the Senate reversed its
        > decision to expel
        > Sebastian. Because Sebastian had died in 1865, his
        > children were paid
        > an amount equal to his Senate salary between the
        > time of his expulsion
        > and the date of his death.
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1861
        >
        > Member: Charles B. Mitchel (D-AR)
        >
        > Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1861
        >
        > Member: John Hemphill (D-TX)
        >
        > Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1861
        >
        > Member: Louis T. Wigfall (D-TX)
        >
        > Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > Note: In March 1861, the Senate took no action on an
        > initial
        > resolution expelling Wigfall because he represented
        > a state that had
        > seceded from the Union. Three months later, on July
        > 10, 1861, he was
        > expelled for supporting the Confederacy.
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        > Date: 1861
        >
        > Member: John C. Breckinridge (D-KY)
        >
        > Charge: Support for Confederate rebellion
        >
        > Result: Expelled
        >
        > ----------------------------------
        >
        >
        === message truncated ===
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