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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - July 30, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Mo st assailable on taxes? ‘Glaring pattern of deception’ (The following is fhe statement of Iowa Democratic Congressman Edward Mezvinsky of Iowa City, as delivered during opening debates of the house /udiciary committee last Thursday evening ) By Edward Mezvinsky U s representative First district of Iowa THE AMERICAN presidency is a rare gift, a cumulation of national trust and confidence so precious that it has been entrusted to only 37 men during our nation’s history. It offers the unequaled gratification of the right to serve and deserve the confidence of the people. It provides its occupants with great powers, immense respect, and grave responsibilities We are called on by our Constitution to scrutinize the treatment of this sacred trust by Richard Nixon. By putting the impeachment process into motion, we have accepted a challenge laid down 21)11 years ago by the founding fathers — the challenge to preserve the government they created We should remember that the authors of the Constitution provided the impeachment process not as something to be feared by the nation, but as a provision to reassure the people of the 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 for 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 Iredell, who was active in the campaign for ratification of the Constitution 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 calk'd 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 Bul 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 ev idence falls into the pattern of gross abuse of office which the committee must consider, and I 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: For the first year he was President, Mr Nixon paid about $72.(HK) in income taxes That’s a lot of money; but his income was over $460.IKK), and the IRS has ruled that he should have paid more than $220.(NM) in taxes. In I HTH. on an income of almost $3r>0,0<)0, Mr. Nixon paid only $703 iii taxi's — I think that that’s worth repeating His income was more than a third of a million dollars, and he only paid $703 in taxes — that’s less than the average family iii my home state of Iowa paid. He should have paid more than $00,000 hi taxes — more than IOO times till' amount that he, the President of the United States, deemed his proper tax The next year, 1071, Mr Nixon paid $878 in taxes on an income of more than $250,000 Anyone else in his income bracket would have paid at least $84,000 in taxes that year, but he only paid $878 And in 1072. our President paid a little over $4.(HK) in taxi's. Ills income was over a quarter of a million dollars that year, and he should have paid more than $0(1,1(01) in taxes. That means that in four years Richard Nixon underpaid his federal taxes by nearly $420.OOO. Earlier this year, the joint committee on internal revenue taxation, a committee which is highly respected by every member of congress, issued a report on its review of the President’s taxes for the years 1000 through 1072. 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 that a more than i ne-half-million-dollar deduction claimed by the President was improper That disallowed deduction involved the gift of Mr. Nixon’s pre-presidential papers to the National Archives — a gift made to build Mr. Nixon a tax shelter. By ducking into that shelter, the President was able to substantially pare his tax bills for four consecutive years. But this year — 1074 — when Mr. Nixon’s tax returns received their first thorough review, the tax shelter collapsed because the gift deduction was found to be improper. Why was it improper? Backdated Well, in 1060. congress passed a law — which 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, 1060, the date the deduction he sought was outlawed. The President says that the gift was made in March of 1060. and he has a deed for it which purports to show that it was executed in April of that year. IRS accepted that date and allowed the deduction. But now we know that the deed was not executed in the spring of 1060 Instead, it was executed on April IO. 1070, in an office in the White House, and was falsely backdated to make it appear (hat the gift met the timing requirement necessary for the tax deduction. Rep. Mezvinsky We also know that the papers which comprised the gift weren’t even selected or appraised until the spring of 1070. And the evidence also shows that the recipient of the gift, the National Archives, knew nothing about the gift until well into 1070, long after the elimination of tax benefits for such gifts. This evidence presents us w ith a glaring pattern of deception surrounding this gift. Just as distressing, I believe, has been the President’s response now that questions 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 affairs; he was well await' 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-ha lf 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 $703, that he has an obligation to scrutinize his return and make certain that every deduction is proper? Especially if he's President of the United States .' Not ordinary There is a good deal of ev idence on this tax question, disturbing evidence. But may be the most distressing thing is that when the joint committee sent Mr Nixon written questions about these matters, he never bothered to answer them. One of th«' witnesses who came before this committee was the former head of tin' criminal tax fraud division of the department of justice. He served in that office for over 24 years under many Presidents, including President Nixon Ile considered the evidence we have on the President’s taxes, and he testified that if the justice department had that much evidence on an ordinary taxpayer — and that taxonyer refused to respond to questions — the government would seek lo indict that taxpayer and semi him to jail. * sp,* **"' ofMUKKi&it Opinion Page 2 Ideas Judgments Views Insights Comments But of course Mr. Nixon is not your average man-on-the-streel taxpayer, and I think it’s pretty clear that he knows it. He tells us that he’s not responsible for what’s on his tax returns, even though lie s the one who signed “under pain of perjury’’ on the bottom line. It wasn’t his tax lay worn who signed on the bottom line, it isn’t the signature of some accountant that appears there. Richard Nixon is the one who signed on the bottom line. After the reaudit by IRS which found the problems in those returns, Mr. Nixon was required to pay his back taxes for 1071), 1071, and 1072. And he often reiterated that he would voluntarily pay the taxes he should have paid in 1060 — even though our laws can’t reach back that far and force him to pay. But, you know, he hasn’t paid those taxes yet. There is still a $148,(KH) bill outstanding from our treasury. One hundred and forty-eight thousand dollars in taxes that he should have paid by April 15, 107(1. 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 fulls 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 system 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 consider the President’s unique position in this nation. He is looked to for leadership — respect for :;nd 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, we 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 tuxes, the treasury loses only money. If the President deliberately fails to pay his proper taxes, we risk the corrosion of our entire system. What legacy? And really, when we consider taxes or any one of the other serious charges before us. we have to take a hard look at what Richard Nixon’s conduct has done to our system of government. As the chairman (Rep. Rodino of New Jersey) so eloquently noted at the opening of this general debate, we are at a crossroads for America. Whatever this committee decides will have a major impact on the future of our country What legacy shall we leave for future generations? Will we condone Richard Nixon’s presidential conduct and sanction his claim that he is a defender of that grand office? Or will we record our abhorrence at the way he has defiled his office? Will we ignore the 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 citizens that we cherish the office of the presidency and will take up the constitutional challenge to protect it? As we proceed with the debate on articles of impeachment — on the question of whether we are to bring Richard Nixon into account for gross abuse of office — we must all ask ourselves: lf we do not. who u 111’* At Bohemian, a few bucks saved will get you Free books! Heifer IIdiihk wk! fillet’til/ 'SE It WI «~ Hriti'i Homo, at ni (.nolo improvement rn*., bod, JWtlrr I loft*-* FWOHITEWUVVUI (MXE Ii*-tiff' I lf    C*imkri home CANNINO COOK BOOK V .    ’•    .    ^ —^    m *#•41*top    ..    V MIM.**— „ w Mo- *>    /    m Choose one of these books free when you open or add to a savings account at Bohemian with at least $5(X). Take two if you deposit $1(XX) 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 The Home Canning Cook Book, The Ground Meat Cook Book, and a 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. Bohemian Savings Downtown: 320 Third St. S.E. Branch: 3910 Outer Point Rd. 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. MAI4 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, theres no charge. Phone our circulation department 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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