February 17, 2009
Robert Ward Johnson, a prominent pre-Civil War politician who served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and and the U.S. Senate during the 1850s and 1860s, attempted to return to the Senate in 1878. After his defeat, it was discovered that a supporter had offered bribes to two African-American legislators for their votes (U.S. senators were not then directly elected). The embarrassing discovery ended Johnson’s public service. He died only a few months later.