The Stains of Watergate

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Nonetheless, due to the exposure of the Nixon administration’s corrupt activities in addition to the President’s graceless resignation, the public and the news media scrutinized the backgrounds of people who sought power more carefully. A positive outcome of Watergate was the successful national movement for government transparency: to make meetings and records more accessible to the public. In 1974, Congress overrode a presidential veto and revised the Freedom of Information act, providing the public and media with new tools to access information held by the executive branch. This act reduced secrecy in government and gave the public a way to check the governmental and political operations happening in Washington, D.C. In case of tampering, the Presidential Records Act of 1978 required preservation of all presidential records and documents. Following Congress’s lead, state legislatures also adopted their own resolutions regarding government transparency, improving the public’s relationship with state and federal governments. While all these acts made information public, the most prototypical piece of Watergate legislation that strengthened legislative oversight powers and gave more leverage to the public was the Government in Sunshine Act of 1976, which ordered government agencies to conduct all meetings open to the public with some exceptions. Thus, agencies are bound by law to make the time, place, subject matter, and minutes of a meeting available to the public. This

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