Miller Center

You can’t screw around with the IRS

This recording is presented as part of the Watergate Collection.
Date: Friday, September 15, 1972 - 5:24pm - 6:17pm
Participants: Richard Nixon, John Dean, Bob Haldeman
Location: Oval Office


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Editors' Note: An earlier version of this transcript was published as Impeachment Inquiry Staff for the House Judiciary Committee, pp.46ff.

President Nixon: Well, I look forward to the time when we have the engines of the Department of Justice and [the] IRS totally under our control after November 7 and then we can do some--”

John Dean: Well, I talked--”

President Nixon: That's what we have to do. You can't screw around [unclear]. I mean, the idea that you horse around with the IRS, my God, even when I was running for Governor, and then of course in '68 when we [unclear] they pulled my file and I had nothing, of course, in income tax, all the time.1

Dean: Mm-hmm.

President Nixon: That's how it's done. What the Christ is the matter with us?

Dean: You know--”

President Nixon: How come we haven't pulled [George] McGovern's file on his income tax?

Dean: I had a tremendous time trying to get [Henry] Kimmelman's file.2

President Nixon: Well, God damn, they ought to get [unclear].

Dean: [Unclear.] Don't be surprised if George Shultz comes to see you in the next few days because I made a request of Johnnie Walters.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Dean: After some . . .

President Nixon: On what grounds? You mean George didn't want it? Let him see me. I'll throw him out of the office. No really, here. He's been told that--

Unclear exchange.

Bob Haldeman: [Unclear] Kimmelman's file was to be picked up. [Unclear] picked up.

Dean: It's not Kimmelman now, it's another matter. I've been talking to Murray Chotiner, who's been collecting this [unclear].

President Nixon: Whoever it is, Shultz is to see that any order or list that he gets comes directly. Now that's--”you just be sure to tell him that. Now, I don't want George Shultz ever raising a question like that. He was a [unclear] he should be thrown right out of the office. I didn't. . . I put him over there. He didn't get secretary of treasury because he's got nice blue eyes and not for any other reason. It was a god damn big favor for him to get that job.

  1. Nixon ran unsuccessfully for Governor of California in the November 1962 elections. He ran successfully for President in November 1968.
  2. Henry Kimmelman was a large financial backer of McGovern's presidential campaign.