A scandalous tour through D.C.

American Scandal Tour
The whisky brought lobbyists
Ulysses S. Grant really liked his cigars and whiskey. But his wife despised both.

While in office, the former president lounged in a lobby of the Willard Intercontinental Hotel to enjoy his smoke and drink. Powerful businessmen took this as an opportunity to try to approach Grant, chat for a bit, and persuade him one way or another on different issues.

Thus, the term "lobbyist" was born.

(WTOP/Madeline Tallman)
'B**** set me up'
Marion Barry managed to win a seat in the City Council after a cocaine scandal.

The former D.C. mayor was in his 3rd term when the FBI and D.C. police busted him in 1990 for crack cocaine use with ex-model Rasheeda Moore. Police arrested him for perjury, possession and conspiracy to possess cocaine.

When he was caught in a room at the Vista Hotel, now a Ramada, Barry muttered his now-infamous line, "B**** set me up," -- the popular quote was quickly associated with him.

Still a city council member here at the John Wilson Building, Barry holds his campaign slogan, "He may not be perfect, but he's perfect for D.C."

(WTOP/Madeline Tallman)
Steamy White House clearance
Veteran reporters were skeptical in 2003 when Jeff Gannon, a nobody at the time, was given a press pass to the White House -- he'd never published an article and wasn't associated with any news association.

By 2005, news organizations started investigating and found he posed naked for a number of gay escort websites, most notably hotmilitarystud.com.

Since the scandal, people have supported Gannon, whose real name is James Guckert, saying he was in the wrong place in the wrong time. Others claim rumors he gave escort services to White House employees to gain press clearance, but these were never proven.

(WTOP/Madeline Tallman)
A murder charge for the VP
Dick Cheney wasn't the only vice president with a trigger-happy finger. Aaron Burr, vice president under Thomas Jefferson, also wins that award.

Before the U.S. Treasury was moved to Washington D.C., Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first treasurer, did not speak highly of Burr during Burr's campaign for New York governor. Burr demanded an apology from Hamilton, and when Hamilton refused, Burr challenged him to a duel -- still common in those times.

Hamilton assumed that both men would honorably miss their opponents. He was wrong. Burr shot and killed Hamilton, making him the first vice president to be charged with murder.

(WTOP/Madeline Tallman)
A president fathering slaves
Thomas Jefferson promised his wife that if she died before him, he'd never remarry. But having illegitimate children with one of his slaves was not part of the deal.

In 1998, a team of geneticists found a genetic link between the descendants of Jefferson and one of his slaves, Sally Hemmings.

A Smithsonian exhibit earlier this year showcased Jefferson as the father of six of Hemming's children -- in very small print.

(WTOP/Madeline Tallman)
Affairs with temporary insanity
Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles, a colorful politician during the Civil War, became savvy of his wife's affair with U.S. attorney Phillip Key.

After staking him out in Lafayette Plaza, Sickles shot Key three times in broad daylight, in front of a dozen witnesses.

In his trial, Sickles' lawyer called it "temporary aberration of the mind," thus making Sickles the first documented case in U.S. history of acquittal for temporary insanity.

Sickles went on to serve the Union, winning a medal of honor.

(WTOP/Madeline Tallman)
Congressional corruption
Until 1970, only 10 members of Congress had ever been convicted of accepting bribes in all of U.S. history ... ten.

In the late 1970s, the FBI conducted its first major operation to trap corrupt public officials in operation "Abscam."

The FBI set up a fake "Abdul Enterprises, Ltd.," and videotaped talks with government officials who offered political favors in return for money from the fake enterprise.

Ultimately, the FBI arrested one U.S. Senator, five members of the House of Representatives, one New Jersey state Senator, members of the Philadelphia City Council and an inspector for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

(WTOP/Madeline Tallman)
Using architecture to poke fun
The late Arthur Erickson, architect for the Canadian Embassy, had more than just Canada pride in mind when designing the extravagant building.

The building represents the frivolous architecture and society of America. A circular Niagara Falls-esque fountain sits on utterly useless columns in the middle of the front atrium.

(WTOP/Madeline Tallman)
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