Since the 1972 break-in at the Watergate Hotel, affixing the suffix "-gate" to any scandal, no matter how big or small, has become standard operating procedure in pop culture. "-Gate" scandals include everything from large scale investigations into violations of federal law, to local matters that the press seizes on due to their tawdry nature.
Maybe the king of "-gate" scandals was Bill Clinton, whose administration was hampered by a seemingly endless string of kerfuffles that the nascent 24-hour cable news cycle pounced on. But the arts, sports, and foreign politics aren't immune to "-gates" either, and virtually any scandal that takes place anywhere is likely to turn into one.Here are some of the most prominent "-gate" scandals in history, starting with the one that began the whole craze.
The original "-gate" scandal, Watergate got its name from Washington D.C.'s Watergate Hotel. What began as a break-in at the DNC headquarters in June 1972 became a top-level cover-up that lead to one of the most complex scandals in American history. The affair ultimately ended with the resignation of President Nixon in 1974, along with nearly 50 other federal officials found guilty of various crimes.
A campaign finance scandal that spanned the Bush and Clinton administrations, Chinagate was an attempt by China to influence US politics by funneling large donations to the Democratic National Committee - a violation of federal law.Though largely forgotten in the flurry of Clinton-era faux scandals, Chinagate involved investigations by both the Department of Justice and Congress - the most expensive Congressional investigation in US history at that point. There were also a number of arrests of prominent Chinese nationals living in the US. The Clintons were never found to have any knowledge of the donations.
When news broke in 2015 that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton used a private server for official emails, the resultant scandal was dubbed "Emailgate." At issue is whether Clinton knowingly kept, sent, or deleted classified information over an unsecured server - a violation of federal law - or simply violated State Department procedures which had also been violated by previous Secretaries.The FBI investigation continues to this day, causing a drag on Clinton's presidential campaign.
The scandal that broke out when the NFL discovered evidence of improperly deflated game balls during a Patriots/Colts playoff game in 2015 would eventually encompass coach Bill Belicheck and star quarterback Tom Brady. The team was stripped of draft picks, and Brady was given a four-game suspension - which was soon overturned, then reinstated. In the end, the Patriots won the game in question 45-7, meaning the deflated balls likely had little outcome on the matter.