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Flashback: Nixon’s Taxes Were Leaked By The IRS

From the archives of the Baltimore Sun:

How an IRS leak changed history altered history

By JAY HANCOCK | December 21, 2003

JOHN O. Requard Jr. waited 30 years to say it: He didn’t leak Richard M. Nixon’s income tax information to the press. And he thinks he knows who did.

Sure, Requard says, he was there in late 1972 or early 1973 when another young Internal Revenue Service guy passed around microfilm prints showing Nixon paid a pittance in tax on a $200,000 salary.

And yeah, he admits, he initially told IRS investigators he hadn’t seen the prints – a misstatement that would haunt him.

But he wasn’t the one who dished the information to Jack White of The Providence Journal, blowing another hole in the Nixon presidency and allowing White to win the Pulitzer Prize, says Requard, who recently retired from the IRS

Although, now that he thinks about it, he kind of wishes he was.

This is practically a tacit admission of guilt, Bill Ayers style. By the way, we will soon learn that Mr. Requard worked for the McGovern campaign before joining the IRS. And note that Jack White was given a Pulitzer Prize for publishing this illegally leaked IRS information.

But White’s story was huge at the time. The IRS never leaked. And the shadow of suspicion it cast on the White House compelled almost all presidents afterward to disclose their tax returns even though they didn’t have to…

Note that the IRS leaking Nixon’s tax returns cast a shadow on Nixon. Not the IRS or the McGovern operative who almost certainly illegally leaked the info.

Requard, who lives in Bel Air, turned 25 in 1973 and had worked on the fruitless campaign of Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern the year before…

[Requard] knew Nixon was paying next to nothing [in taxes].

Gee, how did he know that?

On Sept. 11, The Sun helped put Nixon’s taxes on the agenda with a story headlined, "Nixon data hint no taxes owed." The Sun’s Adam Clymer had done some basic math and figured that Nixon’s multiyear deduction for donating vice presidential papers valued at $570,000 would have all but erased any tax liability. Clymer knew the declared value of the papers, which was public, but he didn’t know the amount of tax paid.

Yes, that Adam Clymer.

That surfaced less than a month later, on Oct. 3, with White’s story. Citing "documents provided by government sources," White disclosed that Nixon paid only $792.81 in federal income tax in 1970 and $878.03 in 1971.

The story was pivotal. Disclosure of the paltry payments and the fact that Nixon had illegally backdated the document deduction added to the president’s problems…

You see, backdating documents is a major crime against humanity. But leaking someone’s tax records is a noble act.

And John Requard landed in big trouble.

No he didn’t. He was never punished.

"Have you ever seen the President’s 1970 or 1971 Federal Income Tax Returns?" said the paper questionnaire handed him by the IRS investigator, a scary guy in his 50s with thick glasses and a German accent. "Have you ever seen a computer printout, microfilm print, microfilm tape or any other record containing financial data taken from the President’s 1970 or 1971 Federal Income Tax Return?"

And so forth. Requard wrote "No" for all 16 questions, went back to his desk and, he says, gradually recalled an event months earlier when a co-worker named Doug showed him a printout of Nixon’s tax data.

Worried, Requard called Doug that night. Doug had been interrogated, too, and not only did he admit to seeing the tax printout, he told investigators Requard saw it too. Now deeply concerned, Requard told inspectors he had refreshed his memory. He wasn’t the leaker, he said, but he had to change his statement.

"I thought I was going to be indicted," Requard recalled. "I thought I was going to be charged with a crime here."

Colleagues started avoiding him, although a few Nixon haters sidled over to congratulate him. Requard was eventually suspended for three weeks – on the day Nixon announced his resignation – even though months earlier newspapers reported that IRS gumshoes had fingered the unidentified leaker and forced him to resign.

Requard believes his tarnished reputation caused him to miss several promotions and hindered his career for years.

He got a paid vacation and was never fired, despite doing such an illegal act. And yet he is complaining.

But who was the real source? Requard suspects it was [his friend and colleague] Doug, who resigned from the IRS in late 1973 but told Requard it had nothing to do with the Nixon tax scandal…

Isn’t that handy? It was leaked by some shadowy named Doug, who retired long ago.

I called Doug… Was Doug the source?

He wouldn’t say, but he didn’t deny it. And he asked me not to identify him, saying his wife holds a sensitive position in the Bush administration that could be jeopardized if her husband were perceived as a loose cannon or an anti-Republican agitator – even for something that happened 30 years ago…

And we believe this, too.

I reluctantly agreed, but that almost clinched the matter for me. I bet he was the leaker. But I bet Requard could have been, too, under the right circumstances.

I asked him: If someone had approached him in 1973 and said, "This is outrageous. Let’s give this to a reporter," how would he have responded?

"I probably would have said, ‘Yes,’" Requard said. "I’m in."

This sure sounds like another Bill Ayers styled admission.

But in any case, think of the irony. President Nixon is constantly and falsely accused of using the IRS against his enemies, when in reality he never did. When, in reality, it was used against him.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, June 6th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Flashback: Nixon’s Taxes Were Leaked By The IRS”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    We absolutely must destroy every vestige of the IRS

    • Noyzmakr says:

      I’m with you. This is our best and probably last chance at chopping off the head of the beast. The IRS would be the best place to start to totally disassemble this out of control monster we call government.

      BUT, wishy-washy RINOs will join the demoncrats to gently slap the IRS on the wrist. No one will be held accountable even if they tell us they will be. They will fight us tooth and nail to keep their precious collection goons. After all, it’s for the children….

    • GetBackJack says:

      With apologies to William Shakespeare –

      Congressional Hearings are tales parroted by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Alternate Universe Macbeth (Act V, Scene V).

  2. HiredMind says:

    It should be noted that Nixon was giving up at least $300,000 by writing off the donation of the VP papers instead of selling them. He wrote them off his taxes for $500,000 / TaxRate. If the tax bracket for his $200,000 income was around 35% like it is today, then was only saving about 175,000.

    He could have sold them directly for around $500,000.

    But all of this attention was directed at the fact that he was using the lost value of the donation to offset his taxes.

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