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June 17, 2002
Nixon Advised IRS Commissioner to Do His Job 'Honestly'
Amy Hamilton


=============== SUMMARY ===============

President Nixon met only once with former IRS Commissioner Donald C. Alexander to discuss taxes, Alexander said June 17 on the 30th anniversary of the "third-rate" burglary at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex.

Alexander, now a partner with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, says he will never forget Nixon's words. Alexander was walking up White House stairs to attend a concert -- "I wasn't invited for dinner" -- when Nixon spotted him. It was the spring of 1973, when Nixon first denied involvement in Watergate. Nixon had already nominated Alexander to be his third IRS commissioner, but the Senate confirmation had not yet taken place.

"So you're the new commissioner of Internal Revenue," the president said. "You have a very difficult job. Do it well, and do it honestly."

Alexander said that at the time the president's advice confounded him. "Do it honestly? Of course I was going to do it honestly!"

"Later those words came in very handy," he said. Alexander personally suffered the fallout of resisting White House pressure to use the power of the IRS's top office against the president's enemies.


=============== FULL TEXT ===============

President Nixon met only once with former IRS Commissioner Donald C. Alexander to discuss taxes, Alexander said June 17 on the 30th anniversary of the "third-rate" burglary at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex.

Alexander, now a partner with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, says he will never forget Nixon's words. Alexander was walking up White House stairs to attend a concert -- "I wasn't invited for dinner" -- when Nixon spotted him. It was the spring of 1973, when Nixon first denied involvement in Watergate. Nixon had already nominated Alexander to be his third IRS commissioner, but the Senate confirmation had not yet taken place.

"So you're the new commissioner of Internal Revenue," the president said. "You have a very difficult job. Do it well, and do it honestly."

Alexander said that at the time the president's advice confounded him. "Do it honestly? Of course I was going to do it honestly!"

"Later those words came in very handy," he said. Alexander personally suffered the fallout of resisting White House pressure to use the power of the IRS's top office against the president's enemies.

Given his known defiance of Nixon, the question had to be asked, and "I am not Deep Throat," Alexander answers. "I don't know whether there is a Deep Throat. If there is a Deep Throat I don't know who it would be. Whoever it would be would have to be well connected in the administration, and that would exclude thousands of people, including me."