You can't screw around with the IRS

Date: 
Friday, September 15, 1972 - 5:24pm - 6:17pm
Participants: 
Richard Nixon, John Dean, Bob Haldeman
Location: 
Oval Office
Listen: 


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.

Original tape courtesy of the Nixon Library. This transcript is a working draft. Please let us know if you find important errors.