the US political scandal that forced President Richard Nixon to leave office in 1974. It involved Republican Party members who in 1972 tried to steal information from the offices of the Democratic Party in the Watergate building in Washington, DC. Nixon said he did not know about this, but The Washington Post and tapes of his telephone conversations proved he did. He resigned as Congress was about to begin impeachment, and several important government officials were sent to prison for illegally trying to keep the affair secret. The Watergate incident made the role of the President weaker for several years and many people were shocked that people in power had behaved so badly. The word ending -gate has since been used to create names for other scandals, e.g. Irangate.