Nixon was also known to maintain "enemy lists" and use the IRS to punish his political adversaries. It appears the culture of retribution is alive and well 40 years later.
When the IRS scandal broke, the White House spin machine went into high gear. Like Nixon, President Obama distanced himself, saying "I certainly did not know" and calling the IRS an "independent" agency.
Following script, the administration found its scapegoat in acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, who was asked to resign - even though he was planning to leave a month later.
Then Joseph Grant, commissioner of the tax exempt division, announced he was "retiring" in June though he had been promoted to the position days ago.
However, denying responsibility and throwing IRS officials under the bus does not wipe clean the president's hands. As President Harry Truman was famous for saying, "the buck stops here."
True leadership is defined by accepting responsibility.
Unfortunately, the common theme emerging from the Obama administration these days is a disengaged president unaware of problems that are happening on his watch. When scandals bubble up, his first instinct is to place the blame on underlings and duck responsibility.
The American public deserves a full investigation. It's important that IRS and administration officials are called to the carpet to find out what they knew and when they knew it.
Those who are responsible should be fired and potentially prosecuted for breaking the law.
It is crucial for the public to regain confidence in the integrity of the IRS and restore a non-partisan culture within the agency.
After all, the IRS will play a pivotal role in enforcing ObamaCare.
The public needs assurances that the thousands of IRS agents responsible for enforcing the law will act appropriately.
It all comes back to accountability. The culture that has pervaded the Obama administration must not continue, and it's up to President Obama to fix it.
After he resigned, President Nixon said: "I was wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate."
Those words should be a lesson to President Obama and his aides.
McKinley, a native of Wheeling and a civil engineer, represents West Virginia's First District in the House of Representatives.