List of United States Senators expelled or censured
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The United States Constitution gives the Senate the power to expel any member by a two-thirds vote. This is distinct from the power over impeachment trials and convictions that the Senate has over executive and judicial federal officials. The Senate concluded in 1798 that Senators could not be impeached, but only expelled, while conducting the impeachment trial of William Blount, who had already been expelled.
Expulsion is an extremely rare event. It has not occurred since the Civil War, which most of the expulsions were related to, although this is partly because many members resign rather than face a formal proceeding when expulsion appears possible. Censure, a lesser punishment which represents a formal statement of disapproval, has been more common in the last century. Although censure carries no formal punishment, only one Senator (Benjamin R. Tillman) of the nine to be censured has ever been re-elected.
Expelled Senators through the Civil War
|1797||William Blount||Democratic-Republican||Tennessee||Expelled for treason and conspiracy to incite the Creek and Cherokee Indians to assist Great Britain in invading Spanish Florida.|
|1861||James M. Mason||Democratic||Virginia||Expelled for supporting Confederate rebellion.|
|Robert M. T. Hunter||Democratic|
|Thomas L. Clingman||Democratic||North Carolina|
|James Chesnut, Jr.||Democratic||South Carolina|
|Alfred O. P. Nicholson||Democratic||Tennessee|
|William K. Sebastian||Democratic||Arkansas||Expelled for supporting Confederate rebellion.
His expulsion was posthumously reversed in 1877.
|Charles B. Mitchel||Democratic||Expelled for supporting Confederate rebellion.|
|John C. Breckinridge||Democratic||Kentucky|
|Waldo P. Johnson||Democratic|
|Jesse D. Bright||Democratic||Indiana|
Expulsion proceedings not resulting in expulsion
Many expulsion proceedings have been begun by the Senate that did not lead to expulsion. In most cases, the expulsion failed to secure the necessary two-thirds vote; in other cases the Senator in question resigned while proceedings were taking place, presumably because the Senator felt that the proceedings would succeed or that his political career would not survive them regardless. In a few cases, the proceedings ended when a Senator died or his term expired.
|1808||John Smith||Democrat-Republican||Ohio||Not expelled||Assisted Aaron Burr's western expedition; resigned two weeks after expulsion failed|
|1856||Henry Mower Rice||Democratic||Minnesota||Not expelled||Charged with corruption|
|1862||Lazarus W. Powell||Democratic||Kentucky||Not expelled||Accused of supporting the Confederacy|
|1862||James F. Simmons||Republican||Rhode Island||Resigned||Charged with corruption|
|1873||James W. Patterson||Republican||New Hampshire||Term expired||Charged with corruption|
|1893||William N. Roach||Democratic||North Dakota||Not expelled||Charged with embezzlement; Senate determined that charges were too far in the past|
|1905||John H. Mitchell||Republican||Oregon||Died during proceedings||Charged with corruption|
|1906||Joseph R. Burton||Republican||Kansas||Resigned||Convicted and upheld by the Supreme Court for receiving compensation for intervening with a federal agency|
|1907||Reed Smoot||Republican||Utah||Not expelled||Senate committee asserted that Smoot, as a Mormon, belonged to a religion incompatible with US law; Senate found 43-27 that this was not relevant.|
|1919||Robert M. La Follette, Sr.||Republican||Wisconsin||Not expelled||Charged with disloyalty for a speech opposing entry into World War I; Senate found 50-21 that this was not warranted|
|1922||Truman Handy Newberry||Republican||Michigan||Resigned||Convicted of election fraud, but overturned, for excessive spending in a primary election.|
|1924||Burton K. Wheeler||Democratic||Montana||Not expelled||Indicted for conflict of interest after serving in legal cases to which the United States was a party. Exonerated by Senate 56-5|
|1934||John H. Overton||Democratic||Louisiana||Not expelled||Investigated for election fraud|
|1942||William Langer||Republican||North Dakota||Not expelled||Charged with corruption and moral turpitude while Governor of North Dakota; full senate voted against expulsion 52-30|
|1982||Harrison A. Williams||Democratic||New Jersey||Resigned||Convicted for bribery and conspiracy in the Abscam scandal; resigned before a vote by the full Senate|
|1995||Bob Packwood||Republican||Oregon||Resigned||Charged with sexual misconduct and abuse of power; resigned before a Senate vote|
|2011||John Ensign||Republican||Nevada||Resigned||Charged with financial improprieties stemming from an extramarital affair. Resigned before vote.|
- List of New York Legislature members expelled or censured
- Censure in the United States
- List of federal political scandals in the United States
- List of federal political sex scandals in the United States
- List of United States Representatives expelled, censured, or reprimanded
- List of American federal politicians convicted of crimes
State and local politics:
- "Senate historical minutes". U.S. Senate. Retrieved 3 July 2009.
- "Expulsion and Censure". Official website of the United States Senate. Retrieved 2006-09-29.
|1811||Timothy Pickering||Federalist||Massachusetts||Reading confidential documents in open Senate session before an injunction of secrecy was removed.|
|1844||Benjamin Tappan||Democratic||Ohio||Releasing to the New York Evening Post a copy of President John Tyler's message to the Senate regarding the treaty of annexation between the United States and the Republic of Texas.|
|1902||Benjamin R. Tillman||Democratic||South Carolina||Fighting on the Senate floor with John L. McLaurin.|
|John L. McLaurin||Fighting on the Senate floor with Benjamin R. Tillman.|
|1929||Hiram Bingham||Republican||Connecticut||Employing as a Senate staff member Charles Eyanson, who was simultaneously employed by the Manufacturers Association of Connecticut.|
|1954||Joseph McCarthy||Republican||Wisconsin||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.|
|1967||Thomas J. Dodd||Democratic||Connecticut||Use of his office to convert campaign funds to his personal benefit. Conduct unbecoming a senator.|
|1979||Herman Talmadge||Democratic||Georgia||Improper financial conduct, accepting reimbursements for official expenses not incurred, and improper reporting of campaign receipts and expenditures.|
|1990||David Durenberger||Republican||Minnesota||Unethical conduct relating to reimbursement of Senate expenses and acceptance of outside payments and gifts.|