KOREA-GATE surfaced in the immediate aftermath of the Watergate scandal of the mid-1970s when journalists began attaching "gate" to any event that suggested scandal in government. "Korea-gate" developed following reports in 1976–1978 of South Korean efforts to influence U.S. policy and of U.S. congressmen who profited from the efforts. Most attention focused on the behavior of Tongsun Park, a wealthy South Korean businessman who from 1970 to 1975 reportedly spent huge sums of money on gifts to numerous U.S. congressmen. The activities occurred when U.S. relations had soured with South Korea, largely because of the dictatorial practices of President Park Chung Hee. President Jimmy Carter's announcement in July 1977 that virtually all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from South Korea brought the issue to a crisis. Meanwhile, the Korea-gate affair ran its course. Richard T. Hanna of California, who reportedly received $246,000 from Park, served a prison sentence of approximately one year. Three congressmen were reprimanded for misconduct; one was found innocent. Relations between South Korea and the United States improved, and Carter canceled his order to withdraw troops. Park, the object of U.S. dissatisfaction, was assassinated that same year.
Kwak, Tae-Hwan, et al., eds. U.S.–Korean Relations, 1882–1982. Seoul: Kyungnam University Press, 1982.