Culture Quiz: Political Scandals

How well do you know the political shenanigans that have shamed our nation's halls of power over the past couple decades? Test yourself with our handy quiz.

28 Mar 2007 --- Washington, DC March 28, 2007 Presidential hopeful, former senator, John Edwards makes an appearance at the Building and Construction Trades Presidential Forum. © Patsy Lynch / Retna Ltd. --- Image by © Patsy Lynch /Retna Ltd./Corbis

Photo: Corbis

Though John Edwards recently escaped one of those pesky federal corruption charges (and earned a mistrial on the others), no one expects his precipitous fall to close the chapter on political malfeasance and shady dealings. But how well do you know the political shenanigans that have shamed our nation's halls of power over the past couple decades? Test yourself with our handy quiz.

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1.  Which of the following texts did disgraced Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick send to his chief of staff, as it was revealed during a 2008 slander lawsuit against him?

A. "The body's buried behind the shed."

B. "Sold! Two million buys a lot of traffic tickets."

C. "Do this, and Obama will make me a cabinet official."

D. "I'm madly in love with you."

2.  Who said this in November 2008, about what's generally assumed to have been a discussion about an opportunity for profitable political corruption: "I've got this thing and it's fucking golden. And I'm just not giving it up for fucking nothing."

A. Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon

B. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

C. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

D. Newark Mayor Sharpe James

3.  Which of the following elected officials has not had a scandal dubbed Troopergate?

A. Sarah Palin

B. Bill Clinton

C. George W. Bush

D. Eliot Spitzer

4.  Where did Monica Lewinsky's infamous blue dress come from?

A. The Gap

B. Laura Ashley

C. Nordstrom's

D. An exclusive Washington, D.C., dressmaker

5.  When U.S. Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho was arrested by Minneapolis-St. Paul police for sexually propositioning an undercover cop in an airport bathroom, how did he explain himself to the officer?

A. "It was just footsies, sir."

B. "I thought you were asking for TP."

C. "How'd you like a job at the Capitol?"

D. "I'm a fairly wide guy."

6.  Former U.S. Rep. and GOP majority leader Tom DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison in 2011 after being convicted of criminal money laundering connected to what disgraced financier?

A. Jack Abramoff

B. Bernie Madoff

C. R. Allen Stanford

D. Charles Ponzi

7.  How much time did former vice-presidential chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby serve in prison for perjury and obstruction of justice in covering up his role in leaking classified information about a covert CIA agent married to a critic of the Iraq War?

A. He's serving a life sentence

B. Three years

C. Three months

D. None

8.  Why didn't former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik become Secretary of Homeland Security?

A. A former classmate revealed he'd lied about his college transcript.

B. It came out his children's nanny was an illegal immigrant.

C. He was caught having an affair with a subordinate.

D. A video surfaced of him using ethnic slurs.

9.  What job did U.S. Sen. John Edwards officially give to his lover, Rielle Hunter, in 2006?

A. Nanny to his children

B. Campaign-donation packager

C. Documentarian for his 2008 presidential campaign

D. Personal assistant

10.  What was Eliot Spitzer's code name at the high-end escort service he frequented?

A. Client-9

B. Ness

C. Chrome Dome

D. Mr. G

NOTE: Scroll down for answers and explanations.

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  1. (D) Kilpatrick, who later admitted to an affair with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty, was sent to prison in 2008 for the sexting scandal. He currently faces separate federal corruption charges.

  2. (B) The bouffant-haired one, of course, was talking about the senatorial slot opened up in his state by new president-elect Barack Obama. (He was going to sell it to the highest bidder.) He's currently serving a federal sentence for it.

  3. (C) Palin's Troopergate involved her dismissal of a state official who refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper; Clinton's was about allegations he used state troopers to coordinate trysts while he was governor or Arkansas; and Spitzer's concerned accusations that he ordered state troopers to keep tabs on a political rival.

  4. (A) In a 1999 interview, Lewinsky said that if she ever got the semen-stained navy-blue Gap dress back from prosecutors, she'd burn it. They returned it to her in 2001.

  5. (D) Craig, who declined to face reelection the next year, claimed the "wide-stance" defense to explain why his foot touched the cop's under the bathroom stall. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

  6. (A) A Texas jury found DeLay guilty of accepting gifts, political donations and lavish international trips in exchange for access to federal largesse and favorable legislative maneuvers.

  7. (D) President George W. Bush commuted Libby's sentence, though he let the convictions stand.

  8. (B) Nannygate, as it came to be called, turned out to be only the tip of the iceberg—he's now serving time in a federal penitentiary for tax fraud.

  9. (C) Hunter, a filmmaker and sometime actress, gave birth to Edwards's daughter in February 2008, but he denied it until January 2010.

    1. (A) The revelation that the former law-and-order prosecutor was using prostitutes ended his governorship and political career.

—Michael Y. Park is a writer living in New York City and a regular contributor to

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