The recent passing of Howard Baker provides significant contrasts as to how scandals are dealt with today ("Notable deaths elsewhere," June 27).
Forty years ago, this country was engulfed in the monumental scandal of Watergate. What was initially proclaimed to be a third-rate burglary turned into a constitutional crisis that ultimately resulted in the resignation of a disgraced President Richard Nixon.
This was due to the efforts of many people, but a substantial factor in the outcome was the persistence and skill of Howard Baker, a Republican senator from Tennessee. He had the courage to ask tough questions during the Watergate hearings and uncovered substantial evidence of wrongdoing because of it.
Principle, not party politics, was the standard for Mr. Baker.
This contrasts with the conduct of Rep. Elijah Cummings in the current IRS scandal. There is significant evidence of wrongdoing by IRS employees such as Lois Lerner, who has invoked the Fifth Amendment, along with the miraculous, highly suspicious crashes of her and other employees' computers that conveniently erased critical emails.
The response of Congressman Cummings not been to thoroughly investigate these issues but to apologize to the current IRS commissioner for having to attend multiple hearings. Mr. Cummings is no Howard Baker.
Even more remarkable is the conduct of The Sun and other mainstream media. Rather than unleashing today's versions of Woodward and Bernstein to uncover any rock that could be hiding something, The Sun's solution to this mess is to give more money to the IRS to get better computer systems and servers ("Incompetence at the IRS," June 26).
The IRS went after tea party affiliated groups several years ago and intentionally delayed the formation of those groups at the urging of Democrats in Congress, including Mr. Cummings. The only money that should be spent on the IRS is money for a special prosecutor.
Is it any wonder why the American public has little faith in our government and the media? Forty years ago, individuals and institutions rose to the occasion. We deserve the same today. If after an unbiased investigation, it is concluded there was no criminal conduct by anyone, we are better off for it. If, however, criminal conduct is found to have occurred, the culprits should be prosecuted.
At least, that's what Howard Baker believed in.
Robert. C. Erlandson, Ellicott City
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