Maurice Stans

Maurice Stans

Maurice Stans was was born in Shakopee, Minnesota, in 1908. He was an executive partner with the Alexander Grant & Co. accounting firm in Chicago from 1940 until 1955.

A member of the Republican Party he served as U.S. deputy postmaster general from 1955-1957; deputy director Bureau of the Budget 1957–1958, director of the Bureau of the Budget 1958–1961.

A supporter of Richard Nixon, Stans was appointed as Secretary of Commerce in 1969. Stans held the post until 1972 when he resigned in order to chair the finance committee of Richard Nixon's re-election campaign.

On 17th June, 1972, Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord were arrested while in the Democratic Party headquarters in Watergate.

The day after the break-in, Richard Kleindienst was told by G. Gordon Liddy that the operation had originated in the White House and that he should arrange the release of the burglars. Kleindienst refused to free the men, but failed to report Liddy's confession.

The phone number of E. Howard Hunt was found in address books of the burglars. Reporters were now able to link the break-in to the White House. Bob Woodward, a reporter working for the Washington Post was told by a friend who was employed by the government, that senior aides of President Richard Nixon, had paid the burglars to obtain information about its political opponents.

In 1972 Richard Nixon was once again selected as the Republican presidential candidate. On 7th November, Nixon easily won the the election with 61 per cent of the popular vote. Soon after the election reports by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post, began to claim that some of Nixon's top officials were involved in organizing the Watergate break-in. This included the claim that money that Stans raised for the campaign was used to finanace some of the illegal Watergate activities. They were able to show that a $25,000 cheque from this fund had gone into the account of Bernard L. Barker, one of the burglars.

Frederick LaRue now decided that it would be necessary to pay the large sums of money to secure their silence. LaRue raised $300,000 in hush money. Anthony Ulasewicz, a former New York policeman, was given the task of arranging the payments. This money went to E. Howard Hunt and distributed by his wife Dorothy Hunt.

On 8th December, 1972, Michele Clark and Dorothy Hunt took Flight 533 from Washington to Chicago. The aircraft hit the branches of trees close to Midway Airport: "It then hit the roofs of a number of neighborhood bungalows before plowing into the home of Mrs. Veronica Kuculich at 3722 70th Place, demolishing the home and killing her and a daughter, Theresa. The plane burst into flames killing a total of 45 persons, 43 of them on the plane, including the pilot and first and second officers. Eighteen passengers survived." Clark and Hunt were both killed in the accident.

The airplane crash was blamed on equipment malfunctions. Carl Oglesby (The Yankee and Cowboy War) has pointed out that the day after the crash, Egil Krogh was appointed Undersecretary of Transportation, supervising the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Association - the two agencies charged with investigating the airline crash. A week later, Nixon's deputy assistant Alexander P. Butterfield was made the new head of the FAA, and five weeks later Dwight L. Chapin, the president's appointment secretary, become a top executive with United Airlines.

Hugh Sloan later testified that Frederick LaRue told him that he would have to commit perjury in order to protect the conspirators. LaRue was arrested and eventually found guilty of conspiring to obstruct justice. He was sentenced to three years in jail but only served four months before being released.

In January, 1973, Frank Sturgis, E. Howard Hunt, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker, Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord were convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping.

Richard Nixon continued to insist that he knew nothing about the case or the payment of "hush-money" to the burglars. However, in April 1973, Nixon forced two of his principal advisers H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, to resign. Richard Kleindienst also resigned on the same day. A third adviser, John Dean, refused to go and was sacked. On 20th April, Dean issued a statement making it clear that he was unwilling to be a "scapegoat in the Watergate case".

On 7th February, 1973, the Senate voted to create a Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. Sam Ervin was appointed chairman of this committee. Inouyre, along with Howard Baker, Herman Talmadge, Edward Gurney, Joseph Montoya and Lowell Weicker. Hearings took place between 17th May to 7th August and 24th September to 15th November.

On 18th May, 1973, Attorney General Elliot Richardson appointed Archibald Cox as special prosecutor, with unprecedented authority and independence to investigate the alleged Watergate cover-up and illegal activity in the 1972 presidential campaign.

The following month John Dean testified that at a meeting with Richard Nixon on 15th April, the president had remarked that he had probably been foolish to have discussed his attempts to get clemency for E. Howard Hunt with Charles Colson. Dean concluded from this that Nixon's office might be bugged. On Friday, 13th July, Alexander P. Butterfield appeared before the committee and was asked about if he knew whether Nixon was recording meetings he was having in the White House. Butterfield reluctantly admitted details of the tape system which monitored Nixon's conversations.

Alexander P. Butterfield also said that he knew "it was probably the one thing that the President would not want revealed". This information did indeed interest Archibald Cox and he demanded that Richard Nixon hand over the White House tapes. Nixon refused and so Cox appealed to the Supreme Court.

On 20th October, 1973, Nixon ordered his Attorney-General, Elliot Richardson, to fire Archibald Cox. Richardson refused and resigned in protest. Nixon then ordered the deputy Attorney-General, William Ruckelshaus, to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus also refused and he was sacked. Eventually, Robert Bork, the Solicitor-General, fired Cox.

An estimated 450,000 telegrams went sent to Richard Nixon protesting against his decision to remove Cox. The heads of 17 law colleges now called for Nixon's impeachment. Nixon was unable to resist the pressure and on 23rd October he agreed to comply with the subpoena and began releasing some of the tapes. The following month a gap of over 18 minutes was discovered on the tape of the conversation between Nixon and H. R. Haldemanon June 20, 1972. Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, denied deliberately erasing the tape. It was now clear that Nixon had been involved in the cover-up and members of the Senate began to call for his impeachment.

Stane was indicted in 1973 for perjury and obstruction of justice, but was acquitted the following year. However, several other people who worked for Richard Nixon, including H. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Charles Colson, John Dean, John N. Mitchell, Jeb Magruder, Herbert W. Kalmbach, Egil Krogh, Frederick LaRue, Robert Mardian and Dwight L. Chapinwere found guilty of similar crimes.

Peter Rodino, who was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, presided over the impeachment proceedings against Nixon. The hearings opened in May 1974. The committee had to vote on five articles of impeachment and it was thought that members would split on party lines. However, on the three main charges - obstructing justice, abuse of power and withholding evidence, the majority of Republicans voted with the Democrats.

Two weeks later three senior Republican congressmen, Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott, John Rhodes visited Richard Nixon to tell him that they were going to vote for his impeachment. Nixon, convinced that he will lose the vote, decided to resign as president of the United States.

Maurice Stans and John N. Mitchell were accused of obstructing an investigation of Robert Vesco after he made a $200,000 contribution to the Nixon campaign. In April 1974 both men were acquitted in a New York federal court.

Maurice Stans died on 14th April, 1998, following a heart attack at the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California.

Namebase: Maurice H. Stans

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Lawrence Meyer, Washington Post (31st January, 1973)

Two former officials of President Nixon's re-election committee, G. Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord, Jr. were convicted yesterday of conspiracy, burglary and bugging the Democratic Party's Watergate headquarters.

After 16 days of trial spanning 60 witnesses and more than 100 pieces of evidence, the jury found them guilty of all charges against them in just under 90 minutes.

Chief US District Judge John J. Sirica ordered Liddy, who was also a former White House aide, FBI agent and prosecutor, and McCord, a veteran of the CIA and FBI, jailed without bond. Sirica said he would hold a hearing on bail after defense lawyers file formal written motions.

Lawyers for both Liddy and McCord, said they would appeal the convictions, with McCords's layer attacking the conduct of Judge Sirica during the trial.

Five other men who were indicted with Liddy and McCord, including former White House aide and CIA Agent E. Howard Hunt, Jr. pleaded guilty early in the trial to all charges against them.

Liddy, 42, had maintained a calm, generally smiling exterior throughout the trial. He stood impassive, with is arms folded as deputy court clerk LeCount Patterson read the jury's verdict, repeating six times "guilty" for all eight counts against him.

McCord, 53, also showed no emotion as Patterson read the word "guilty" for all eight counts against him.

Liddy, former finance counsel for the Committee for the Reelection of the President, could receive a maximum sentence of 35 years. McCord, former security director for the committee, could receive a maximum sentence of 45 years. Sirica set no day for sentencing.

Before being jailed by deputy US marshals, Liddy embraced his lawyer, Peter L. Maroulis, patted him on the back, and in a gesture that became his trademark in the trail, gave one final wave to the spectators and press before he was led away.

Principal Assistant US Attorney Earl J. Silbert said, after the verdict was returned, that it was "fair and just."

In his final statement to the jury, Silbert told the eight women and four men that "when people cannot get together for political purposes without fear that their premises will be burglarized, their conversations bugged, their phones tapped...you breed distrust, you breed suspicion, you lost confidence, faith and credibility."

Silbert asked the jury to "bring in a verdict that will help restore the faith in the democratic system that has been so damaged by the conduct of these two defendants and their coconspirators."

Despite repeated attempts by Judge Sirica to find out if anyone else besides the seven defendants was involved in the conspiracy, testimony in the trial was largely confined by the prosecution to proving its case against Liddy and McCord, with occasional mention made of the five who had pleaded guilty. The jury, which was sequestered throughout the trial, was never told of the guilty pleas.

When Hunt pleaded guilty Jan 11, Sirica questioned him in an attempt to find out if anyone besides the persons indicted was involved in the conspiracy.

Hunt's lawyer, William O. Bittman, blocked Sirica's questions, saying the prosecution had told him it intended to call Hunt and any other defendant who was convicted to testify before the grand jury.

An apparent purpose of renewed grand jury testimony would be to probed the involvement of others in the bugging. Asked yesterday what steps he now intended to take, Silbert said, "I don't think I'll comment on anything further."

According to testimony in the trial, Liddy was given about $332,000 in campaign funds purportedly to carry out a number of intelligence-gathering assignments given him by deputy campaign direction Jeb Stuart Magruder.

The prosecution said it could account for only about $50,000 of this money, and that it was used to finance the spying operation against the Democratic Party.

In his argument to the jury, Silbert called Liddy the "mastermind, the boss, the money-man" of the operation.

Maroulis, defending Liddy, attempted to put the blame on Hunt, who Maroulis said was Liddy's trusted friend. "From the evidence here, it can well be inferred that Mr. Liddy got hut by that trust," Maroulis said.

McCord's lawyer, Gerald Alch, told the jury that McCord "is the type of man who is loyal to his country and who does what he thinks is right." At one point, Judge Sirica interrupted and told Alch he was only giving his "personal opinion."

Alch criticized Sirica during a recess, saying the Judge "did not limit himself to acting as a judge-he has become in addition, a prosecutor and an investigator ... Not only does he indicate that the defendants are guilty, but that a lot of other people are guilty. The whole courtroom is permeated with a prejudicial atmosphere."

Alch said that "in 15 years of practicing law" he had not been previously interrupted by a judge while giving his final argument.

McCord and Liddy were each convicted of the following counts:

Conspiring to burglarize, wiretap and electronically eavesdrop on the Democratic Party's Watergate headquarters. (Maximum penalty-five years' Imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.)

Burglarizing the Democratic headquarters with the intent to steal the property of another. (Maximum penalty-15 years imprisonment.)

Buglarizing the Democratic headquarters with the intent to unlawfully wiretap and eavesdrop. (Maximum penalty-15 years.)

Endeavoring to eavesdrop illegally. (Maximum penalty-five years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.)

In addition, McCord was convicted of two additional counts:

Possession of a device primarily useful for the surreptitious interception or oral communications. (Maximum penalty-five years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine).

Possession of a device primarily useful for the surreptitious interception of wire communications. (Maximum penalty-five years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine).

Although the total number of years Liddy could be sentenced to adds up to 50 and McCord's total sentence adds up to 60 years, neither, according to legal sources, can receive consecutive sentences for both burglary counts.

As a result, Liddy's maximum sentence could be 35 years and a $40,.000 fine and McCord's maximum could be 45 years and $60,000 fine.

In addition to Liddy, McCord and Hunt, four men from Miami were named in the indictment - Bernard L. Barker, Frank Sturgis, Virgilio R. Gonzalez and Eugenio R. Martinez.

All four pleaded guilty Jan. 15 to the seven counts with which they were charged.

They face maximum sentences of 40 years in jail and fines of $50,000. The four men were arrested, with McCord, by Washington police in the Democratic Party headquarters at 2:30 a.m. on June 17. The arrests marked the beginning of the Watergate affair.

These five men, dressed in business suits and wearing rubber surgical gloves, had electronic bugging equipment and sophisticated cameras in film. In their possession or their rooms they had $5,300 in $100 bills.

The story unfolded slowly. The day after the arrests, it was learned that one of the five men was the security coordinator for the President's reelection committee. That was McCord, one of the two defendants left in the Watergate trial yesterday.

Two days after the break-in White House consultant Hunt was linked to the five suspects. Hunt pleaded guilty to all counts in the opening days of the trial.

Near the end of July, it was learned that the finance counsel to the Nixon Reelection Committee was fired because he refused to answer FBI questions about the Watergate bugging and break-in. The counsel was Liddy, a former Treasury and White House aide who was the other defendant to remain in the trial.

On Aug. 1, The Washington Post reported that a $25,000 cashier's check intended as a contribution tot he Nixon reelection effort has been deposited in the Miami bank account of one of the Watergate suspects. The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, ordered an immediate audit of the Nixon campaign finances.

The audit report concluded that former Commerce Secretary Maurice H. Stans, the chief Nixon fund-raiser, has a possible illegal cash fund of $350,000 in his office safe.

The $25,000 from the cashier's check and another $89,000 from four Mexican checks passed through that fund, the GAO concluded.

Last Friday, the Finance Committee to Re-elect the President pleaded no contest in US District Court to eight violations of the campaign finances law. The complaint charged, among other things, that finance committee officials filed to keep adequate records of payments to Liddy. The committee was fined $8,000.

In September, reports surfaced that a former FBI agent and self-described participant in the bugging had become a government witness in the case. He was Alfred C. Baldwin III, who later was to testify that he monitored wire-tapped conversations for three weeks from a listening post in the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge across the street from the Watergate.

On Sept. 15, the federal indictment against the seven original defendants was returned.

The next day, The Post reported that the $350,000 cash fund kept in the Stans safe was used, in part, as an intelligent - gathering fund. On Sept. 29, The Post reported that sources close to the Watergate investigation said that former Attorney General John N. Mitchell controlled disbursements from the intelligence found or so-called "secret fund."

On Oct. 10, The Post reported that the FBI had concluded that the Watergate bugging was just one incident in a campaign of political sabotage directed by the White House and the Nixon committee.

The story identified Donald H. Segretti, a young California lawyer, as a paid political spy who traveled around the country recruiting others and disrupting the campaigns of Democratic presidential contenders.

Five days later, the President's appointments secretary, Dwight L. Chapin, was identified as a person who hire Segretti and received reports from him. Segretti's other contact was Watergate defendant Hunt. Segretti received about $35,000 in pay for the disruptive activities from Herbert W. Kalmbach, the President's personal attorney, according to federal investigators.

This Monday it was announced that Chapin was resigning his White House job. Segretti was not called as a witness in the trial.

(2) Bob Woodward, The Guardian (3rd June, 2005)

On May 15, less than two weeks after Hoover's death, a lone gunman shot Alabama Governor George C Wallace, then campaigning for president, at a shopping centre. The wounds were serious, but Wallace survived. Wallace had a strong following in the deep South, an increasing source of Nixon's support. Wallace's spoiler candidacy four years earlier in 1968 could have cost Nixon the election that year, and Nixon monitored Wallace's every move closely as the 1972 presidential contest continued.

That evening, Nixon called Felt - not Gray, who was out of town - at home for an update. It was the first time Felt had spoken directly with Nixon. Felt reported that Arthur H Bremer, the would-be assassin, was in custody but in the hospital because he had been roughed up and given a few bruises by those who subdued and captured him after he shot Wallace.

"Well, it's too bad they didn't really rough up the son of a bitch!" Nixon told Felt.

Felt was offended that the president would make such a remark. Nixon was so agitated, attaching such urgency to the shooting, that he said he wanted full updates every 30 minutes from Felt on any new information that was being discovered in the investigation of Bremer.

In the following days I called Felt several times and he very carefully gave me leads as we tried to find out more about Bremer. It turned out that he had stalked some of the other candidates, and I went to New York to pick up the trail. This led to several front-page stories about Bremer's travels, completing a portrait of a madman not singling out Wallace but rather looking for any presidential candidate to shoot. On May 18, I did a page-one article that said, "High federal officials who have reviewed investigative reports on the Wallace shooting said yesterday that there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that Bremer was a hired killer."

It was rather brazen of me. Though I was technically protecting my source and talked to others besides Felt, I did not do a good job of concealing where the information was coming from. Felt chastised me mildly. But the story that Bremer acted alone was a story that both the White House and the FBI wanted out.

A month later, on Saturday June 17, the FBI night supervisor called Felt at home. Five men in business suits, pockets stuffed with $100 bills, and carrying eavesdropping and photographic equipment, had been arrested inside the Democrats' national headquarters at the Watergate office building at about 2.30am.

By 8.30am, Felt was in his office at the FBI, seeking more details. About the same time, the Post's city editor woke me at home and asked me to come in to cover an unusual burglary.

The first paragraph of the front-page story that ran the next day in the Post read: "Five men, one of whom said he is a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency, were arrested at 2.30am yesterday in what authorities described as an elaborate plot to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee here." The next day, Carl Bernstein and I wrote our first article together, identifying one of the burglars, James W McCord Jr, as the salaried security coordinator for Nixon's reelection committee. On Monday, I went to work on E Howard Hunt, whose phone number had been found in the address books of two of the burglars with the small notations "W House" and "WH" by his name.

This was the moment when a source or friend in the investigative agencies of government is invaluable. I called Felt at the FBI, reaching him through his secretary. It would be our first talk about Watergate. He reminded me how he disliked phone calls at the office but said the Watergate burglary case was going to "heat up" for reasons he could not explain. He then hung up abruptly.

I was tentatively assigned to write the next day's Watergate bugging story, but I was not sure I had anything. Carl had the day off. I picked up the phone and dialled 456-1414 - the White House - and asked for Howard Hunt. There was no answer, but the operator helpfully said he might be in the office of Charles W Colson, Nixon's special counsel. Colson's secretary said Hunt was not there but might be at a PR firm where he worked as a writer. I called and reached Hunt and asked why his name was in the address book of two of the Watergate burglars.

"Good God!" Hunt shouted before slamming down the phone. I called the president of the PR firm, Robert F Bennett, who is now a Republican US senator from Utah. "I guess it's no secret that Howard was with the CIA," Bennett said blandly.

It had been a secret to me, and a CIA spokesman confirmed that Hunt had been with the agency from 1949 to 1970. I called Felt again at the FBI. Colson, White House, CIA, I said. What did I have? Anyone could have someone's name in an address book. Felt sounded nervous. He said - off the record, meaning I could not use the information - that Hunt was a prime suspect in the burglary at the Watergate for many reasons beyond the address books. So reporting the connections forcefully would not be unfair.

In July, Carl went to Miami, home of four of the burglars, on the money trail, and he ingeniously tracked down a local prosecutor and his chief investigator, who had copies of $89,000 in Mexican cheques and a $25,000 cheque that had gone into the account of Bernard L Barker, one of the burglars. We were able to establish that the $25,000 cheque had been campaign money that had been given to Maurice H Stans, Nixon's chief fundraiser, on a Florida golf course. The August 1 story on this was the first to tie Nixon campaign money directly to Watergate.