Unlike corruption in the form of embezzlement, bribery and misappropriation of public funds, there is another type of corruption abroad – political corruption. In political corruption, those who wield political power do not necessarily steal state property or accept bribes from businessmen, but still meet the definition of corruption as “using public power for private gain.
The most typical example of this is the Watergate scandal.
“The Watergate scandal is a classic case in which the Democratic National Committee rented the entire 6th floor of the Watergate Building in Washington, DC in 1972.
The U.S. media reported Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate scandal.
“The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the national governing body of the Democratic Party of the United States. It is responsible for the organization and support of the Democratic Party in state and local elections, including the development of presidential campaign strategies.
On the morning of June 17, 1972, a security guard at the Watergate Building noticed several people breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee. Thinking they were a group of burglars, he quickly called the police, who arrived promptly and arrested the five “burglars” who had broken into the office.
The five men, who did not look like burglars at all, were dressed in suits, had neat $100 bills in their pockets, and were carrying wiretaps and professional camera equipment. Since wiretapping is a federal offense, the police notified the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation).
The FBI found that the men were breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee for the second time, replacing the old equipment installed last time with new bugging equipment. As the investigation progressed, the FBI soon discovered that these men were working for the presidential re-election committee, the campaign of incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon, and that they had installed wiretaps at the Watergate building to steal Democratic campaign information, so the “Watergate scandal “The Watergate scandal quickly escalated from an ordinary burglary to a political scandal that shocked the nation.
The usual thinking was that this was not just a political fight in the campaign, what did it have to do with corruption? In fact, later investigations found that the Watergate scandal was closely related to the system of managing and spending campaign funds.
The five thieves’ $100 bills were proven to be illegal campaign funds laundered through a Mexican bank and used specifically to support some of the campaign’s unseen activities.
Further investigation found that the “Presidential Re-election Committee” had received a large amount of illegal campaign funds, the two largest coming from oil and banking magnate Richard Mellon Scaife, who gave $1 million, and insurance magnate Clement Stone, who gave $2 million.
“Prior to Watergate, the Presidential Re-election Committee had received $11 million in funds. Much of this money was not reported to the outside world by the Presidential Re-election Committee, and some of it was illegal corporate bribes.
So it can be said that the root cause of the “Watergate scandal” is money, because the collection and use of funds in the presidential campaign is not transparent. Without the support of these funds, the Watergate scandal would have been less likely to happen.
The Watergate Building, where the Democratic National Headquarters was located at the time
“Nixon became the only president in U.S. history to resign while in office after the Watergate scandal caused the Republicans to lose the election that year. I have never been a half-way person, and leaving office in the middle of a term is completely contrary to the way I conduct myself. But as president, I must put the national interest first. The country needs a president and a Congress that are fully committed, especially at this critical time of internal and external crisis. Continued self-justification would take up almost all of the President’s and Congress’ time in the coming months, so this is a time when we need to do more to work for world peace and national prosperity without inflation. So my resignation will be effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will become president at that time.”
But from the perspective of political corruption, the more important political impact of the Watergate scandal is that it has exposed corruption in the use of funds in elections, and by amending the new election bill, the use of funds will be more regulated and the will of the people will be more effectively and fairly expressed in elections. But elections and political corruption are still inextricably linked, and there is still a long way to go to solve this problem.