White House scandals have been motivated by greed, love of power, lust or a conviction that one’s political agenda is so good it justifies going around the law, as Machiavelli observed with the corrupt tactics of Cesare Borgia: “The ends justifies the means.”
Crossing political party lines, a list of scandals, many of which were compiled by William A. Borst, Ph.D., in “The Mindszenty Report” (Vol. IV-No. 8), included:
- 1868 – President Andrew Johnson, who refused to protect the right of freed slaves to vote, resulting in the Republican Congress impeaching him.
- 1872 – President Grant’s vice president and several Congressmen received shares of stock in the construction company Crédit Mobilier, which was building the Union Pacific Railroad, in exchange for the company being allowed to fraudulently bill the government.
- 1875 – The Whiskey Ring conspiracy involved bribery and tax evasion by government agents and whiskey distillers. Grant promised swift punishment; but when his personal secretary was implicated, Grant tried protect him, which only made the scandal worse. The Secretary of War was impeached.
- 1875 – Grant’s Secretary of the Interior, who advocated killing off the buffalo to make way for the railroads, was forced to resign for taking bribes in exchange for land grants.
- 1881 – During President Garfield’s administration, though he was not implicated, private companies delivered mail on the Star Route in America’s west. Low bids were given to postal officials, but when those officials presented the bids to Congress, they increased the amounts and pocketed the difference.
- 1921 – President Harding’s Secretary of the Interior was caught selling exclusive rights to oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, in exchange for personal profit and cattle.
- 1922 – President Harding’s Director of Veterans Affairs Charles Forbes was convicted and imprisoned for denying claims of wounded World War I veterans and embezzling $225 million.
- 1924 – President Harding’s Attorney General Harry Daugherty let pharmacies and bootleggers obtain permits to sell alcohol for “medicinal” purposes during the era of prohibition. This, and other scandals, forced him to resign.
- 1986 – During President Ronald Reagan’s term, plans were made to sell arms to anti-Soviet forces in Iran in exchange for the release of U.S. hostages. Funds from the sale were to be used to help Contra freedom fighters stop Soviet-backed communists from taking over Nicaragua. Communists would have been stopped on two fronts at no financial cost to the United States, but this was opposed and exposed by Democrats in Congress.
- 1998 – President Clinton had an illicit relationship with Monica Lewinsky, whose friend, Linda Tripp, convinced her to keep a stained dress as protection to keep her from being added to the Clinton body count, a list circulating the Internet of deceased former Clinton associates. Attempting to cover up the affair, Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice.
- 2009 – President Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress after refusing to release documents regarding a Fast and Furious operation which provided guns to Mexican drug gangs.
- 2012 – Prior to his re-election, President Obama announced the war on terror was over. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the 57 leaders of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) promising to support their U.N. resolution prohibiting speech insulting Islam. On September 11, an organized attack occurred on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Six hours into the attack, the president spoke via telephone with Hillary Clinton, but no rescue was attempted. The next morning, Hillary Clinton’s State Department sent a memo to YouTube and Google recommending they prohibit speech insulting Islam. Reports and emails surfaced that U.S. guns used in an undeclared war to oust Libya’s President were being moved through Benghazi to arm Muslim Brotherhood front groups to oust Syria’s President.
- 2013 – After the president had met 157 times with the head of the IRS, Lois Lerner, she pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked by Congress about the agency targeting conservative political groups prior to the president’s re-election.
One of the most written-about scandals began in 1972.
Five low-level members of President Nixon’s re-election team did a third-rate break-in of the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building.
Though Nixon was not involved, effort to defend his subordinates led to him being implicated in a cover-up. Rather than face impeachment, he resigned.
On Aug. 8, 1974, the 37th president of the United States, Richard Nixon, resigned, stating from the Oval Office: “Good evening. This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office. … To continue to fight … for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress. … Therefore, I shall resign. … If some of my judgments were wrong … they were made in what I believed … to be the best interest of the Nation.”
Nixon continued: “In the Middle East, 100 million people in the Arab countries, many of whom have considered us their enemy … now look on us as their friends. We must continue to build on that friendship so that … the cradle of civilization will not become its grave.”
Nixon continued speaking: “I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, ‘whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly. … If he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.’ … In leaving … I do so with this prayer: May God’s grace be with you in all the days ahead.”
Privately to his Cabinet, President Nixon said: “Mistakes, yes … for personal gain, never. … I can only say to each … of you … we come from many faiths … but really the same God. … You will be in our hearts and … in our prayers.”
Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.