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Cedar Rapids Gazette Newspaper Archive: July 30, 1974 - Page 7

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - July 30, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                Most assailable on faxes? The Cedar Rapids Gazelle: lues.. Jnly M, H74 7 'Glaring pattern of deception' (Hie following is the statement of Iowa Democratic Congressman Edward of Iowa City, as during opening debates ol the house judiciary committee Thursday even- ing J By Edward Mezvinsky TIIK AMKHH'AN presidency is a rare gift, a i-uinuluticm (if national trust anil I'onfiiU'iu-r so precious that it has lu'iMi I'litrusti'il in (inly men during our nation's history. It offers tlu- unoqimlcd gratification of till1 right to serve and deserve tile con fidence iif the people. It provides its oc- eiipanls with great powers, immense respect, and grave responsibilities. We are called on by our Constitution to scrutinixe the treatment of this sacred irusi In Richard By pulling the inipeachnient process into motion, liave accepted a challenge laid down years ago the founding fathers the challenge to preserve the government Ihey created Ue should remember that the authors of the Constitution provided the im- peachment process not as something to be feared by tin1 nation, as a provision to reassure the people of tlie nation. The awesome powers accumulated in this single office caused alarm among many of the founding fathers, who feared that placing so much trust in one man was an invitation to a recurrence of the abuse of authority which had forced the nation into the bloody revolution fur independence. But such apprehensions were calmed by assurances that a high standard of accountability would be demanded of the man who would exercise those powers. All on trial James Trcdell, who was active in the campaign for ratification of the Consti- tution and who served as one of our first supreme court justices, eased the fears of many of his fellow citizens by noting that the President would be "of a very different nature from a monarch. He is to be personally responsible for any abuse of the great trust reposed in him." The Constitution promised a wary people the resort to impeachment as an ultimate guarantee of accountability. Congress is called on to enforce that guarantee, and for this reason not only is Richard Nixon on trial so are we. We are asked to judge whether Richard Nixon should be called into account for his actions and tried in the senate for "abuse of the great trust reposed in him." The question before us is whether Richard Nixon has abused the gift of the presidency. That this question has had to be posed is disheartening for all of us who hold a deep respect for the presidency and I think this is evident from the remarks of my colleagues who have spoken before me. I look back to my own background. My parents are immigrants who were genuinely inspired by the America they compared to their homelands of Czarist Russia and turn-of-the-century Poland. And they passed on to me their affection and respect for our country and our government. I grew up in Iowa with a great admiration and awe for our Presidents and have found it personally unsettling to be faced with the harsh evidence that Richard Nixon has abused the presidency and dragged it into dishonor. But the committee must face the evidence. To do otherwise would be a grave dereliction of our constitutional duty. 'Gross abuse' I would like to focus on an area which is not covered in the articles we have before us that is the evidence on the President's taxes. I believe this evidence falls into the pattern of gross abuse of office which the committee must con- sider, and 1 see the tax question as especially important because it is so readily understandable. All of us pay taxes all of us deal with the Internal Revenue Service. Let us review the facts about the President's own taxes: I-'or Ihe first year he was President, Mr. Nixon paid about in income taxes. That's a lot of money; but his in- come was over and the IRS has ruled that he should have paid more than in taxes. In on an income of almost Mr. Nixon paid only in laxes I think that that's worth repeal- His income was more lhan a third of a million dollars, and he only paid in taxes that's less lhan Ihe average family in my home state of Iowa paid, lie should have paiil more than SHU, in laxes more than 100 limes the amount Ihal he, the 1'rrsidenl of I lie United Stales, deemed his proper lax. The next year, Mr. N'ixon paid S.S7S iii laxes on an income of more lhan J25II.1100. Anyone else in his income hrackel would have paiil nl least ill laxes Ihal year, bill he only paid And In our Presidenl pniil n little over M.IIIMI in taxes. His Income was over a quarter nl a million dollars that year, anrl he should have paid more than sw.WW in taxes. That means that in four years Richard Nixon underpaid his federal taxes by nearly I'.arhcr tins year, Ihe joint committee on internal revenue taxation, a commit- tee which is highly respected by ever. member of congress, issued a report on its review of the President's taxes lor tin- years 19M through 1972. It is that report that first laid bare the wide discrepancy between what Mr Nixon owed and what he paid. One of the most significant findings of that committee was Ihat a more than one-half-mil lion-dollar deduction claimed by the President was improper. That disallowed deduction involved Ihe gift of Mr. Nixon's pro-presidential papers to the National Archives a gift made to build Mr. Nixon a lax shelter. By ducking into Ihat shelter, the Presidenl was able to substantially pare his lax bills for four consecutive years. But this year 197-1 when Mr. Nixon's tax returns received their first thorough review, the tax shelter collapsed because the gift deduction was found to be improper. U'hy was it improper'.' Backdated Well, in 1969, congress passed a law winch was signed by Mr. Nixon closing the tax loophole that allowed such deductions. Now Mr. Nixon claims that his gift was made before a crucial date in .July, 1909, the date the deduction he sought was outlawed. The President says that the gift was made in March of 1969, and he has a deed for it which purports to show that it was executed in April of that year. [RS ac- cepted that date and allowed the deduc- tion. But now we know that the deed was not executed in the spring of 1969. Instead, it was executed on April 10, 1970, in an of- fice in the White House, and was falsely- backdated to make it appear that the gift met the timing requirement necessary for the tax deduction. Rep. Mezvinsky We also know that the papers which the gift weren't even selected or appraised until the spring of 1970. And the evidence also shows that the recipient of the gift, the National Archives, knew nothing about the gift until well into 1970, long after the elimination of tax benefits for such gifts. This evidence presents us with a glar- ing pattern of deception surrounding this gift. Just as distressing, I believe, has been the President's response now that ques- tions have been raised and judgments rendered on his taxes. Mr. Nixon disclaims responsibility for what his tax returns say. He says that if there's any problem, it's his tax lawyers' and accountants' fault. He would like us to believe that he had no part in the seamy circumstances surrounding the deed for the gift which improperly and significantly reduced his taxes over four years. But we know that Mr. Nixon generally paid close attention to his financial af- fairs; he was well aware of the beneficial tax consequences of the gift. Can we really believe that Mr. Nixon did not know the true facts surrounding a gift of over one-half a million dollars the largest gift he has ever made in his life" Don't you think that when a man whose income is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars looks at his tax return and sees he's only paying the government that he has an obligation to scrutinize his return and make certain that every deduction is proper? Especially if he's President of the I'nited Stales? Not ordinary There is a good deal of evidence on this lax question, disturbing evidence. But maybe Ihe most distressing thing is Ihal when Ihe joint committee sent Mr. Nixon written questions about these matters, he never bothered to answer them. One of the witnesses who came before Ihis committee was Ihe former head of Ihe criminal lax fraud division of Ihe department of justice, lie served in Ihat office for over 24 years under many Presidents, including President Nixon, lie considered Ihe evidence we have on Ihe President's laxes, and he testified Ihal if Ihe justice department hnd that much evidence on an ordinary taxpayer anil Ihal taxoayer refused to respond lo questions Ihe government would .seek to indict that taxpayer and send him lo inil. Opinion Page Ideas Judgments Views Insights Comments But of course Mr. Nixon is not your average nian-on-lhe-streel taxpayer, and I think it's pretty clear that he knows n. lie tells us Ihat he's not responsible fur what's on his tax returns, even though he's the one who signed "under pain of perjury" on Ihe bottom line. It wasn't his tax laywers who signed on the bottom line, it isn't the signature of some ac- countant that appears there. Richard Nixon is the one who signed on the bot- tom line. After Ihe reaudit by IRS which found the problems in those returns, Mr. Nixon was required to pay his back taxes for 19711. 1971, and 1972. And he often reiterated that he would voluntarily pay the taxes he should have paid in 1969 even though our laws can't reach back that far and force him to pay. But. you know, he hasn't paid those laxes yet. There is still a bill outstanding from our treasury. One hundred and forty-eight thousand dollars in taxes that he should have paid by April 13, 1970. are still unpaid today. Now I think that this committee must face up to the question of whether Richard Nixon has willfully evaded his income taxes, whether he failed to pay his proper tax. 'Grove misuse' I believe that this tax matter falls into the pattern of abuse of office because it is evidence that the President entertained an expectation for and took advantage of favorable treatment by the IRS. This is a grave misuse of office, a serious violation of the public trust that demeans the office of the presidency. We must remember that our tax sys- tem is based on impartiality and everyone is supposed to be treated fairly under the laws by the IRS. Some of my colleagues have already discussed the disturbing practice of making up "friends" and "enemies" lists in the White House and sending them over to IRS for special attention. You've got to wonder when you look at the friends list whether the President wasn't his own best friend. As we look at this area, we cannot limit our concern solely to the question of willful evasion of taxes. We must con- sider the President's unique position in this nation. He is looked to for leadership respect for adherence to our laws is supposed to set an example for the rest of us. Knowing that citizens' voluntary and accurate payment is at the heart of our tax system, cannot ignore his example of gross disregard for the law and his responsibilities under it. We must remember that if an average citizen cheats on his taxes, the treasury loses only money. If the President deliberately fails to pay his proper taxes, we risk the corrosion of our entire sys- tem. What legacy? And really, when we consider taxes or any one of the other serious charges before us. we have lo lake a hard look at what Richard Nixon's conduct has done In our system of government. As the chairman (Rep. Hoclino of New Jersey) so eloquently noted at Ihe open- ing of this general debate, we are at a crossroads for America. Whatever this committee decides will have a major impact on Ihe fulure of our country. What legacy shall we leave for future general ions? Will we condone Richard Nixon's presidential conduct and sanction his claim that he is a defender of (hat grand office? Or will we record our abhorrence al Ihe way he lias defiled his office? Will we ignore Ihe actions which have already brought so many of our children to hold such a low regard for the highest office in our land? Or will we make it clear to our fellow eilizens (hat we cherish Ihe office of Ihe presidency and will lake up the consliliilional challenge lo protect il? As we proceed wilh Ihe debate on ar- licles of impeachment on Ihe question of whether we are to bring Richard Nixon into account for gross abuse of office we inns! all ask ourselves: At Bohemian, a few bucks saved will get you Free books! -CMNl Choose one of these books free when you open or add to a savings account at Bohemian with at least Take two if you deposit or more in a certificate account. There are ten books in our special collection from Better Homes and Gardens' Creative Home Library. Handsome, practical, and entertaining books, like Bohen patter Gm The Home Canning Cook Book, The Ground Meat Cook Book, and n book of old fashioned Children's Stories. So stop by either of our two Cedar Rapids locations, save a few dollars, and make your selections. There's no waiting, and no extra charges. They're free with your deposit at Bohemian. Downtown: 320 Third St. S.E. Branch: 3910 Center Point KU. N.E. (Early withdrawal from a certificate account requires a substantial interest penalty) Offer expires July 31. 1974. Only one participation for each depositor or account. WHEREVER you go, whatever you do on your vacation, you'll want to know what's going on at home, and there's nothing like your own hometown newspaper to keep you abreast of all the happenings. JUST let us know your vacation address and how long you'll be staying there a few days before you leave, and we'll see to it that you don't get left out. We'll forward your newspaper to you each day and resume home delivery when you return. OR, if you prefer, talk with your carrier and he will be happy to keep your papers for you on a day-to-day basis until you return and have a chance to catch up on all that's been going on EITHER way, there's no charge. Phone our circulation depart- ment now or let your carrier know before you go. You'll be glad you did! Our Circulation Department telephone number is 398-8333 CEDAR RAPIDS   

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