Political sex scandals always seem to end up being newsworthy, although there is some debate over how newsworthy they should be. Probably no political sex scandal was more widely covered than the President Bill Clinton / Monica Lewinski White House affair, or the President John F. Kennedy / Marilyn Monroe affair. However, there have been many prior to these cases and many that followed. For whatever reason, the public becomes fascinated with sex scandals, particularly the ones that occur within public office, but how public should these scandals even be? The question is a matter of privacy and ethics.
Many people did not support the impeachment of President Bill Clinton on the grounds that a sex scandal should not be a determining factor in a presidency. Others pointed to the lies he told in the investigation as a representation of the charges he faced: perjury and obstruction of justice. Regardless of anyone’s personal feelings on the matter, Bill Clinton’s sex scandal made it clear to the world that a political career can be tarnished if a sex scandal is discovered. In fact, this instance was historical for that reason.
The ethical question over sex scandals in public office is whether or not they should involve the public at all. Many have argued that a politician’s private life should not involve voters, and only matters that effect voters or their tax dollars should be made known to them. This is contested by those who argue that the public votes an elected official into office based on more than their political resume, but on their personal character as well, making their private matters public. It is also debated that Bill Clinton was impeached on irrelevant charges. It is true that he lied under oath, but it is possible that the line of questioning was unethical in the first place. The lesson public officials can take from the example of Clinton is that a sex scandal can be positively incriminating!