2010 saw its share of hot messes stemming from the perennial swamp of Congress to the pulpit.

Many were surprised when longtime legislator , D-N.Y., was charged with ethics violations, including a failure to pay taxes on vacation property—given a 40-year stint on Capitol Hill without the taint of corruption. More were dismayed however by the punishment—censure—given an ethics committee’s findings that Rangel’s misdeeds were not deliberate.

Also caught in the ethics dragnet was California Democrat , who strongly denied the charges and who has yet to receive the trial she requested, and Dallas , who allegedly awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to several family members.

Washington’s stench wafted over to nearby Maryland, where several Black lawmakers were also caught in the crosshairs. On Jan. 6 then-Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon resigned as part of a plea deal, one month after her conviction for embezzlement. Longtime state legislator, was indicted on 18 charges of conspiracy with Shoppers Food Warehouse in September. In October prominent Baltimore City councilwoman, pleaded no contest to campaign finance violation charges, marking the final chapter of the corruption investigation that led to Dixon’s resignation. And in November, the nation looked on as FBI agents arrested and his wife – on whom agents found almost $80,000 hidden away in her bra – on charges of witness and evidence tampering in connection to a corruption investigation with tentacles in several government departments.

Topping the heap, however, was the imbroglio involving renowned , leader of the 25,000-plus member New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., who in September was accused of sexual coercion and abuse by four young men from his church-affiliated youth academy. Given Long’s outspokenness on homosexuality the allegations were incendiary. And the flames of speculation were fanned even more by Long’s failure to deny the charges, saying only, “I’m not a perfect man, but this thing I’m gon’ fight.”