PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been 47 years since a scoop by Rhode Island reporter Jack White caused a White House scandal and won him the highest prize in American journalism. It’s been 15 years since White died of a heart attack at the age of just 63.
Yet White’s scoop — which revealed that President Nixon had paid only $1,670.84 in income tax in 1970 and 1971, far less than would be expected for a man of his means — is now being talked about again after The New York Times published a sensational story Sunday evening alleging that President Trump had paid a similar amount of income tax for 2016 and 2017, just $1,500 combined.
In fact, the Times story explicitly referenced White’s October 1973 exclusive, which was published in The Providence Journal, where White worked before moving to TV and a two-decade career as WPRI 12’s investigative reporter. The current president is the first White House occupant since Nixon to refuse to release his tax returns, a precedent set because of the public anger over White’s story.
Nixon’s famous “I’m not a crook” line was uttered in response to a question about White’s reporting, and the following year White was awarded the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. Months later, Nixon became the only president to ever resign from office.
In the above video, Target 12 investigative reporter Tim White — Jack White’s son and successor at WPRI 12 — talks about the impact of his father’s famous story.