Return of the Secret Donors – NYTimes.com   1 comment

President Nixon at Tallahassee Airport

Image by State Library and Archives of Florida via Flickr

Return of the Secret Donors – NYTimes.com.

via Return of the Secret Donors – NYTimes.com.

o old political hands, wise to the ways of candidates and money, 1972 was a watershed year. Richard M. Nixon’s re-election campaign was awash in cash, secretly donated by corporations and individuals.

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Fred Malek served in President Nixon’s re-election campaign. To- day, he is the founder of American Action Network, a nonprofit like Crossroads GPS, which is linked to Karl Rove. These groups have raised and spent millions in 2010.

Fred Wertheimer, a longtime supporter of campaign finance regulation, was then a lawyer forCommon Cause. He vividly recalls the weeks leading up to April 7, 1972, before a new campaign finance law went into effect requiring the disclosure of the names of individual donors. “Contributors,” he said, “were literally flying into Washington with satchels of cash.”

The Committee for the Re-Election of the President was also illegally hauling in many millions of dollars from corporations, many of which felt pressured into making contributions.

The record of donors was so tightly held that it was kept in a locked drawer by Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s secretary. The list — which came to be known as “Rose Mary’s Baby” — wasn’t released until Mr. Wertheimer forced the issue through a lawsuit. Among those on the list were William Keeler, the chief executive of Phillips Petroleum, who pleaded guilty, during the post-Watergate prosecutions, to making an illegal corporate donation.

Rose Mary’s Baby itself, now an artifact of the nation’s biggest political scandal, sits in the Watergate collection of the National Archives.

 

Posted October 17, 2010 by dmacc502 in American, politics

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One response to “Return of the Secret Donors – NYTimes.com

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  1. Very interesting and useful information, thanks!

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