Watergate Political scandals are not strangers to the United States. They date back as far as 1830, with the presidential sex scandal and Thomas Jefferson, and in 1875 with the Whiskey Ring and President Ulysses S.Grant (Time and Again 1).
Today we have the Iran-Contra affair with Ronald Reagan and Whitewater with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Even with these, it can be argued that Watergate could possibly be the worst scandal in the history of the United States. Richard Milihous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, and the only President to ever resign his office. He was born the second of five sons, in Yorba Linda, California. His parents were Francis Anthony and Hannah Milhous Nixon.
His career started in 1945 when he accepted the candidacy for a seat in the 12th congressional district which he won. He was elected to United States Congress in 1946, he then entered into the Senate as the youngest member ever in 1951. Only a short two years later he became the second youngest vice-president in history at the age of thirty nine. He served two terms as vice President under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1969 he won his bid for the Presidency(Kinsella 3).
The Iran-contra affair was more of a U.S. foreign policy affair. This scandal came about in November of 1986 when President Ronald Reagan admitted to the selling of arms to Iran. The overall goal was to improve relations with Iran, but it soon came to light that it was more of a trade of arms for hostages deal.
Later it was found that some of the profits from the sale of the arms to Iran went to the Nicaraguan “contra” rebels. On Dec.24, 1992, President George Bush pardoned all the people involved with the scandal and no charges were filed against Ronald Reagan (Iran-contra 1). The latest of all scandals is the Whitewater affair. The Whitewater affair is an ongoing investigation into a bad Arkansas real-estate adventure in the late 1970, and its connection with the now defunct Arkansas savings and loan company, and with President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary. The Whitewater development company started in 1979 and had the investors Bill Clinton, the Governor of Arkansas, his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, a attorney for the Rose law firm, James B.
McDougal the owner of the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan. The group purchased some land, which later turned out to be a bad venture. Sometime later the savings and loan went bankrupt at a cost of sixty million dollars to the taxpayers. There was allegations of the diversion of funds from Whitewater through the Madison Saving and Loan to cover some of the campaign debts of the Clinton’s. There were also allegations of whether the Clinton’s gained income-tax benefits from the failure of Whitewater that they were not entitled to.
To date no charges have been filed against President Clinton or his wife Hillary (Whitewater 1). The whole Watergate scandal, brought about charges of political bribery, burglary, extortion, wiretapping, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, tax fraud, and illegal use of the CIA and the FBI, campaign contributions and taxpayers money for private matters. In all, more than 30 administration officials and other people in the Nixon administration pleaded guilty or were found guilty of illegal acts (Time and Again 2). The term “Watergate” came from the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.
C. In addition to a hotel, the Watergate complex houses many business offices, one, which was the headquarters for the Democratic National Committee. It was here that the great scandal got its very start (Farnsworth 1). In the early morning hours of June 17, 1972 a security guard at the Watergate Hotel called police about a robbery.
Later, five men were arrested with evidence that linked them to the committee to re-elect the President (NARA,1). After the Watergate scandal had been uncovered, another group of illegal activities came to light. It was found that in 1971 a group of White House officials commonly called the “Plumbers” had been doing whatever they deemed necessary to stop any leaks that were originating from the White House. A grand jury later indicted John Ehrlichman and Special Counsel, Charles Colson and others for the burglary and the break-in at the office of a psychiatrist to get damaging material on Daniel Ellsberg, the person that had published classified documents called the Pentagon Papers. It was also later discovered that the Nixon administration had received large sums of illegal campaign funds and used them to pay for political espionage and pay more than five hundred thousand dollars to the five men that burglarized the Watergate Hotel (Infopedia,1).
After the Watergate burglars were linked to the committee to re-elect the President, official investigations were put into action. As more and more evidence pointed toward presidential involvement, the media became more confident and aggressive. Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein two reporters from the Washington Post, were very instrumental in the development of teams of investigative reporters around the world. The term “Deep Throat” became a very common phrase for the anonymous official who leaked valuable information to the reporters Woodard and Berstein(Farnsworth 6).
Other leaders in the investigation were Judge Sirica, The Sam Ervin committee and special prosecuter Archibald Cox. Archibald Cox was sworn in as the special prosecutor in May 1973. As Cox and the Ervin Committee pushed the President for tapes that had been made in the White House, Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General Elloit L. Richardson to dismiss Cox as special prosecutor. On Oct 20, 1973 Elloit L. Richardson turned in his resignation, refusing to fire Cox.
William Ruckeishaus, the deputy Attorney General also refused to dismiss Cox and was fired by Nixon. This turn of events came to be known as the “Saturday Night Massacre” and heightened the idea that the president was more involved than previously thought (Grolier 1). Eventually Archibald Cox was dismissed as special prosecutor by the Solicitor-General Robert Bork(Farnsworth 4). The President, on April 30, did release some edited transcripts of Oval Office conversations. All the tapes had suspicious gaps. Not very satisfied with what they had received, Judge Sirica subpoenaed additional tapes.
When Nixon refused to release the additional tapes the case went before the Supreme Court. The court decision was that Nixon could withhold any tapes that was of concern to National Security, but insisted that Watergate was a criminal matter. This ruling later led to the case of UNITED STATES V. RICHARD NIXON (Grolier 1). On August 5,1974, Nixon than released three more tapes to the pub …