Watergate is in the air.
The purpose of WatergateCommittee.org is to provide historical reference for the work of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (more commonly known as the Senate Watergate Committee) and to provide contemporary understanding of the work, product, and culture of that investigation.
Watergate is in the air. Hardly a day passes when news outlets aren’t comparing the current political chaos and overall climate to those that saturated the months of the Watergate scandal. However, while many of those listening to the news now also lived through the Watergate years, there is a clear gap between general understanding of the Nixon scandal and the impact it had on past and present politics.
The saga of events that many understand simply as “Watergate” are comprised primarily of three major investigations kicked off by the burglary of the 1972 Democratic Campaign headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. The first investigation, the one that started as a routine investigation but became much more significant, encompasses the grand jury inquiry into the break-in. This was focused on criminal wrong-doing associated with the break-in and then expanded to other campaign activities and the cover-up of those events.
The two other investigations, the Senate Watergate Committee and the U.S. House Impeachment Inquiry, brought forth facts associated with wrong-doing and irregularities in the conduct of the 1972 Presidential campaign, which received authorization for the impeachment inquiry of President Richard Nixon. The work of the inquiries and their findings unearthed enormous abuses of power and culminated in Nixon’s resignation on August 8, 1974.
In the aftermath of the events of Watergate, the suffix “-gate” was immediately popularized in news culture to signify an event of wide-reaching scandal. Of the myriad examples, many referred to the chaos that erupted in Hilary Clinton’s use of a private email server in 2016 as “Emailgate.”