As we review just some of the history of our political scandals as it also relates to truth and lies, does the federal government believe that U.S. citizens can’t handle the truth?
The XYZ affair (1790-1800): During the French Revolution, President John Adams had people sent to France to work out issues about U.S. shops en route to England being searched by the French. French diplomats would not negotiate unless they were bribed.
The U.S. President made the meeting notes public to the American people. The letters XYZ showed up on the redacted documents, with the American public outraged by the behavior of the French representatives.
This scandal led to a so-called two-year naval war known as a “quasi war.” This led to the passage of the Logan Act in 1799 to prevent foreign governments working with any private citizens to undermine American government policies.
A private citizen named George Logan did just that in private negotiations with French leaders.
President John Adams believed the American people could handle the truth. This Logan Act sounds familiar about private citizen Rudy Giuliani and his involvement with the foreign country known as Ukraine.
Teapot dome (1921-1923): Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall with the Warren G. Harding administration secretly accepted hundreds of thousands of dollar in Liberty Bonds in exchange for leasing former Navy oil reserves in Wyoming.
It became a scandal when Fall became the first cabinet secretary to go to prison, and President Harding’s personal life became exposed about him having a mistress.
Harding died in office of a heart attack.
Watergate (1972-1974): Recorded tapes by President Richard M. Nixon and top advisors were involved in covering up a break-in at the Democratic National Committee office in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.
President Nixon resigned from office to avoid the impeachment process in the U.S. Senate.
The White House lawyer, the president’s attorney general, chief of staff and several other top advisors did prison time for their involvement in the break-in. Nixon, by then a private citizen, could have faced federal charges.
New President Gerald R. Ford gave the former president a presidential pardon later that year.
We now have the Jan. 6, 2021, domestic insurrection attack on the U.S. Capitol during the counting of the Electoral College ballots for the 2020 presidential and vice-presidential election.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to establish an independent commission to investigate the break-down in security to protect the U.S. Capitol. The scope would be to investigate why it happened and why our security forces were not fully aware and fully prepared to protect the Capitol.
The bill needed 60 votes from the U.S. Senate to pass with at least 10 votes coming from the Republican Party. The bill failed due to not receiving at least 10 votes from Republicans.
This in itself is our new scandal that the United States must live with, along with two impeachments of our 45th president.
Did our founding fathers ever believe that this could ever happen?
Thomas E. Carter
Letter to the Observer: U.S. has long history of political scandals