Boss Tweed is the classic example of the corrupt politician. He was a New York congressman, a state senator, and the leader of Tammany Hall. He also stole somewhere between 40 and 200 million dollars from his constituents. If you adjust for inflation, this is roughly the equivalent of six billion dollars.
His downfall came at the hands of James O’Brian, the city sheriff at the time. He provided the New York Times with proof of Boss Tweed’s corruption, in part because he wouldn’t authorize the Orange Parade, but mostly because he couldn’t stand the man. The newspaper ended up publishing a series of cartoons that depicted his widespread graft and sleaze.
Boss Tweed was furious, and demanded: “Stop them damned pictures. I don’t care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents don’t know how to read, but they can’t help seeing them damned pictures!”
He was quickly arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He managed to sneak away to Spain, however, by donning a false mustache that was even larger than his regular one. His freedom was short lived – the Spanish police stumbled across him and recognized him from the cartoons. He was promptly sent back to the Ludlow Street Jail, where he died a few years later.
He was also the primary villain in the superhero graphic novel ‘Green Lantern: Evil’s Might’, so you know he was a bad guy.