Notorious bigmouth Rush Limbaugh began his career in radio as a DJ in Pittsburgh, and didn’t start clogging the airwaves with Righteous blabber until the mid-eighties. His show went national in 1988, and when the Republicans swept Congress in ’94, his fat-cat pals named him “honorary member of Congress” in thanks for all he did to ensure their majority rule. And with that, the King of the Conservative Party was born.
But just because this cigar-fiend dished a diehard conservative creed didn’t mean Rush lived by his own rules. In October 2003 — the chunky chat-man confirmed National Enquirer reports that he was addicted to prescription painkillers and was headed for rehab. When prosecutors lobbied the court to trash his doctor-patient confidentiality rights so that they could interrogate his docs, Rush found an unlikely ally in the ACLU, who went to bat for him. He was eventually busted for “doctor shopping” (visiting multiple providers to score prescriptions) and turned himself in on April 28, 2006. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charges if he’d cough up $30,000 to cover the investigation’s costs, undergo therapy for 18 months, and submit to regular drug testing. Rush took the deal, and the case was closed.
While Limbaugh’s drug disgrace could have ensured his downfall, the hoopla surrounding his shady pill obsession proved to be a lot of hot air — just like him! In July 2008 Rush signed a contract extension that will keep him gabbing through 2016 — for a record-breaking $400 million.