A Comparison of Two Scandals and their Investigations.
Watergate and Iran-Contra are two of the most publicized scandals of all time. In Watergate, President Nixon bowed to extreme public pressure and a probability of an impeachment vote against him, and resigned (McNeely-Johnson, United States v. Nixon, 252). In the Iran-Contra scandal, President Reagan escaped any impeachment charges claiming he was "uninformed" (Hurwitz et. al., Presidential Support During Iran-Contra, 360). This paper will attempt to examine the context and surrounding events in which independent counsel investigations were undertaken in both the Reagan and Nixon administrations. We will first examine the reasons and authority for investigation. Next we will attempt to explain the results of the investigations: dealing first with Watergate, then Iran-Contra. Finally we will determine the effect of Iran-Contra and Watergate on the presidency and society as a whole. Before looking at the effects of the aforementioned scandals, it is necessary for one to first know the reasons for investigating in the first place.
Part I: Reasons and Authority for Investigations.
A: Leading to the Investigation of Iran-Contra.
Throughout the Reagan administration, the US had always taken an anti-terrorist stance, with the idea that we would never negotiate with terrorists (Hurwitz et al., 360). In fact, since 1979,. the US had an embargo against Iran because it was believed to be a government which supported terrorism (Timberg, 414). In spite of this, in August of 1985, the US began a covert mission of selling arms to Iran in exchange for US hostages in Lebanon (Hurwitz et al., 360). Throughout the 15 months in arm sales, only 3 of the 6 original hostages were released. These 3 were then replaced by 3 more (Timberg, 414). In January of 1986, the administration decided to use the profits from the arm sales to fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua.