Carter, James E. (1924–)

IN 1976, JIMMY Carter, a peanut farmer and the former governor of Georgia, became the 39th president of the United States in the wake of the Watergate scandal when American trust in government was at an all-time low. In the election, Carter had challenged Republican Gerald Ford (1913–) who had succeeded to the presidency only two years before when Richard Nixon resigned after being identified as an “un-indicted coconspirator” in the Watergate trials. Carter won the election because he was an outsider with a “squeaky-clean” reputation who was not involved in the Washington political scene.

Carter's Department of Justice (DOJ) was heavily involved in policing government ethics in wake of the Watergate scandal. Griffin Bell, Carter's first attorney general, restructured DOJ to serve as a ...

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