Murray Chotiner

Murray Chotiner

Murray Chotiner was born in Pittsburgh in 1909. He left school at fifteen but four years later he had obtained a law degree from Southwestern Law College.

A member of the Republican Party, Chotiner worked for Herbert Hoover in 1932 and Earl Warren, when he campaigned to be governor of California. Chotiner also managed the campaign of Richard Nixon in 1950 when he defeated Helen Douglas. Chotiner developed a reputation for running dirty tricks campaigns. Another of Nixon's advisors, Leonard Garment, said that Chotiner was a "hardheaded exponent of the campaign philosophy that politics is war" and that "politics is shabby most of the time, filled with lies and deceptions".

In a radio broadcast in 1956 Drew Pearson claimed that in the 1950 election, Mickey Cohen, one of the leaders of the mob in Los Angeles, had raised funds for Nixon's 1950 campaign. According to Pearson, this deal was organized by Chotiner. This story was not confirmed until Cohen signed a confession in October, 1962. At the time he was in Alcatraz Prison. Cohen claims he raised $75,000 for Nixon in 1950 in return for political favours. This deal was arranged via Chotiner. In his autobiography, Cohen claims that the orders to help Nixon came from Meyer Lansky.

As a lawyer, Chotiner obtained a reputation for working for organized crime bosses. In 1956 Robert Kennedy and Carmine Bellino began an investigation of Chotiner. They discovered evidence that a New Jersey uniform company that had been convicted of stealing from the federal government had paid out $5,000 to Chotiner. An informant told Bellino that the money was meant for Richard Nixon to help prevent a possible prosecution by the Department of Justice. Chotiner received support from Joe McCarthy and the case against him was eventually dropped.

Chotiner's reputation had been badly damaged by this investigation and for a while he ceased working for Nixon. However, he returned in 1968 to help Nixon defeat Hubert Humphrey. After the election Chotiner was appointed general counsel of the Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations. The following year he was named special counsel to the president.

Soon after he took office Nixon established Operation Sandwedge. Organized by H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, the two main field officers were Jack Caulfield and Anthony Ulasewicz. Operation Sandwedge involved a secret investigation of Edward Kennedy. Caulfield later admitted that Ulasewicz’s reports on Kennedy went to three people: Nixon, Chotiner and Bebe Rebozo.

According to Dan T. Carter (The Politics of Rage) Chotiner was involved in the attempt to blackmail George Wallace about corruption in Alabama. This played an important role in persuading Wallace to announce that he would not be a third-party candidate in the 1972 presidential election.

Chotiner had returned to private practice as a lawyer in Washington by the time the Watergate break-in took place. However, he still maintained a White House telephone. His law offices were one floor above those of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CREEP).

Anthony Summers (The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon) has pointed out that "at least one woman working on White House dirty tricks operations was carried on the payroll of his firm". Dwight L. Chapin was convinced that Chotiner was secretly involved in Watergate: "There is a person who goes all the way back through this thing, and that is Murray Chotiner. He was in the White House... he leaves; the break-in happens. Murray was the operator for Nixon on God only knows what."

In an article published in the Los Angeles Times (31st March, 1973) it was claimed that Chotiner had received copies of the tape recordings that had been made by Alfred Baldwin as a result of the bugging Democratic campaign headquarters in the Watergate building.

On 23rd January, 1974, Murray Chotiner was involved in a car accident outside the Washington home of Edward Kennedy. Although he only suffered a broken leg he died a week later.

Primary Sources

(1) Richard Nixon, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1978)

The PAC had been established as a political arm of organized labor to support Franklin Roosevelt in the 1944 election. A sister organization, the National Citizens Political Action Committee (NCPAC), was set up to permit non-union participation. Until his death, labor leader Sidney Hillman served as chairman of both groups, and many other leaders of CIO-PAC also served on NCPAC. Both groups interviewed candidates and then made funds and campaign workers available to those whom they endorsed. It was estimated that in 1944 the two PAC organizations contributed over $650,000 to political campaigns. Although the leadership of both groups was non-Communist, the organizations were known to be infiltrated with Communists and fellow travelers who, because of their discipline, wielded an influence disproportionate to their numbers. Such influence was viewed as a problem because there was an emerging concern about Soviet postwar intentions and a corresponding apprehension about the communist movement in America.

Voorhis had been endorsed by CIO-PAC in 1944. In 1946, however, CIO-PAC decided to withhold its endorsement-ostensibly because he had not supported some measures in Congress considered important by the union leadership. In the spring of 1946, the Los Angeles County chapter of the NCPAC circulated a bulletin indicating that it was going to endorse Voorhis regardless of what CIO-PAC did. The May 31, 1946, issue of Daily People's World, the West Coast Communist newspaper, ran an article with the headline: Candidates Endorsed by "Big Five." The "Big Five" labor and progressive coalition was made up of CIOPAC, NCPAC, the railroad brotherhoods, the Progressive AFL, and the Hollywood Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions. The Daily People's World article reported that the Big Five had interviewed the candidates and included the list of endorsements for the June 4 primary. The first name on the list was H. Jerry Voorhis. Following his name was this note: "No CIO endorsement." In answer, then, to my charge that he was endorsed by PAC, Voorhis had replied that he was not-that year-endorsed by CIO-PAC. To me that was an irrelevancy. The Los Angeles County chapter of NCPAC had a large number of Communists and fellow travelers, and, considering the close ties between the two PACs, I thought that the question of which PAC had endorsed him was a distinction without a difference.

When the question was raised in the South Pasadena debate, I pulled from my pocket a copy of the NCPAC bulletin announcing its endorsement recommendation and walked across the stage to show it to Voorhis. Reading aloud the names of the board members of each organization, many of which were the same, I demonstrated that there was little practical difference between a CIO-PAC endorsement and an NCPAC one.

Voorhis repeated his claim that CIO-PAC and NCPAC were separate organizations, but I could tell from the audience's reaction that I had made my point. A few days later Voorhis himself underscored it by sending a telegram to NCPAC headquarters in New York requesting that "whatever qualified endorsement the Citizens PAC may have given me be withdrawn." Had he repudiated the endorsement before he was backed onto the defensive and forced to act, the issue might never have developed. But since he had not, I thought then and still think that the endorsement was a legitimate issue to raise. Communist infiltration of labor and political organizations was a serious threat in those early postwar years, and a candidate's attitude toward endorsements by heavily infiltrated organizations was a barometer of his attitude toward that threat. Repudiation was also an essential weapon against infiltration.

After this debate, the PAC became a peripheral but heated issue in the campaign. While Voorhis equivocated, my campaign director, Harrison McCall, came up with the idea of passing out plastic thimbles saying: "Nixon for Congress-Put the Needle in the PAC."

This first "debate" was so successful that many of my supporters urged me to challenge Voorhis to other joint appearances. I had some reservations, because each one would require two or three days of concentrated preparation, and I did not want to take off any more time from campaigning. Murray Chotiner, the brilliant and no-nonsense public relations man who was running Bill Knowland's senatorial campaign and advising me part-time on mine, went straight to the point. "Dick," he said, "you're running behind, and when you're behind, you don't play it safe. You must run a high-risk campaign." He paused for a moment until I nodded my agreement, and then he said, "Good. I've already arranged for an announcement challenging Voorhis to more debates."

(2) Kirkpatrick Sale, Yankees and Cowboys: The World Behind Watergate (1973)

Chotiner has also had a career of slimy dealings ever since he first invented the Pink-Lady attack on Helen Gahagan Douglas: between 1949 and 1952 he handled some two hundred twenty-one gambler-bookmaker cases in Los Angeles; he was instrumental in getting a deportation order rescinded for Philadelphia mobster Marco Reginelli in the 1950s; in 1956 the McClellan Senate committee investigated his role as attorney for a convicted clothing racketeer and exposed (but did not fully explore) his influence-peddling activities in Washington; and most recently he acknowledged in court papers. his own role in the milk scandal by admitting he intervened with Ehrlichman and others in the White House to get the price increase for the milk producers and subsequently arranged the channeling of their contributions to the Nixon campaign.

(3) Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (2000)

In 1956, with another presidential election due in the fall, controversy suddenly arose around Chotiner. When parts of a lecture he had given at a "campaign school" for leading Republicans were leaked, Democrats expressed shock. It was, they said, "a textbook to hook suckers." So it was, but that worried Chotiner not at all. As Len Garment has said, this was a man who "didn't mind accepting the fact that politics is shabby most of the time, filled with lies and deceptions."

Chotiner did grow concerned, and was nearly torpedoed, by discoveries made about him that spring by a Senate subcommittee investigating bribery and influence peddling. The Democrats had of course been looking for a way to get at Chotiner and, through him, at Nixon. The opportunity came by chance when Carmine Bellino, a legendary accountant and congressional investigator, was poring over canceled checks paid out on behalf of a New Jersey uniform manufacturer convicted of stealing from the federal government. One five-thousand-dollar check had been made out to "M. Chotiner" and deposited in a Los Angeles bank. When first contacted by Robert Kennedy, the youthful chief counsel of the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, Chotiner had no immediate explanation. At a later meeting he came up with a story that sounded convincing-until Bellino slipped out to call a contact who had inside information. "The informant," he recalled, "stated that Chotiner had been engaged because of his friendship with Nixon and Deputy Attorney General William Rogers, and he was expected to help in connection with the tax case then being considered for possible prosecution by the Department of justice...."

Chotiner tried every possible tactic to avoid testifying to the committee. First he promised to appear voluntarily, insisting there was no need to issue a subpoena, but then failed to turn up. When he was eventually obliged to do so, he gave little away. To divulge what services he had rendered, Chotiner argued, would violate the lawyer-client relationship. He denied he had ever used Nixon's name to seek favors for a client.

Senator Joe McCarthy declared the probers were wasting time, that they had produced no evidence of misconduct by Chotiner, a favor for which Nixon later thanked him at a private lunch. The committee's chairman finally suspended the hearings in light of the impending election, but by then Chotiner's reputation had been gravely damaged.

Most seriously, his name was now linked publicly with organized criminals. The uniform scam had involved a number of notorious mobsters. One of the men Chotiner had represented, formally described as a "uniform contractor," was actually a Mafia chieftain from Chotiner's home state of Pennsylvania, Marco ("The Little Guy") Reginelli.

An attorney can of course legitimately represent anyone he chooses. Chotiner and his partner, his brother Jack, however, had handled no fewer than 221 California bookmaking cases in one four-year period prior to the investigation. Bookmaking had subsequently been identified by the California State Crime Commission as "the most menacing racket in the entire field of organized crime."

Nixon and Chotiner both scrambled to limit the damage of the 1956 probe, with Nixon claiming through an aide that he had had "nothing to do with Chotiner for a long period of time." For his part, Chotiner insisted: "I have had no contact with the Vice President whatsoever since the day he was elected, as far as any contact with his office is concerned."

Neither statement was true. Chotiner had paid the Washington hotel bill for Nixon's guests when he was inaugurated as vice president, and as late as March 1956 he had been signing letters "on behalf of the Vice President." According to reporter Howard Seelye, a Chotiner friend and Republican campaign adviser, Chotiner regularly left phone messages asking to be called back through the White House. On a visit to Chotiner's office just weeks before the scandal broke, a reporter noticed letters addressed to Nixon in a pile of Chotiner's outgoing mail.

Despite his claims of innocence, the Republicans were forced in 1956 to act as if they were dropping Chotiner. Officials informed the press that he would not travel with Nixon during the campaign and would not attend the convention. Both men spoke thereafter as though their relationship had ended. "It was a tragedy," Nixon said piously, that Chotiner "had to get involved in the kind of law business that does not mix with politics." In 1960, when he himself ran unsuccessfully for Congress, Chotiner once pointed to an empty spot on the wall where, he said, Nixon's picture had formerly had a place of honor.

The supposed estrangement, however, was largely a pretense. Investigator Bellino remembered what Nixon staffers told him privately: "They stated [Nixon] was a man without guts. One of them mentioned how he had urged that Nixon break his association with Chotiner. But Nixon felt he couldn't do it."

(4) Malcolm Abrahams, 30 Watergate Witnesses Have Met Violent Deaths (July 12, 1976)

The CIA is behind it all. That's the conclusion of Mae Brussell - one of America's foremost assassination experts - a researcher who has collected every pertinent newspaper story, every book, every document since the Watergate break-in four years ago on the night of June 17, 1972.

Miss Brussell is the only person in America who perceived the gruesome string of deaths that stretches from Watergate to now.

She believes that a faction within the Central Intelligence Agency is responsible not only for Watergate, but for the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy.

She believes, as President Nixon stated on the Watergate tapes, that everything horrible that's happened in American politics is connected, starting with the Bay of Pigs.

Some of the 30 people who died, she says, knew only about CIA involvement in Watergate. Some of them knew much, much more.

A few of the dead, like Martha Mitchell, Lyndon Johnson, Congressman Hale Boggs and Mafia hoodlum Sam Giancana, are well-known. Others might have been - if they had lived and told their stories. But 30 are dead. And there's no reason to believe that there won't be more.

1. Beverly Kaye, 42, died of a "massive stroke" in December, 1973, while riding in the White House elevator. She was Secret Service agent John Bull's secretary and her job included the actual storing and preservation of the White House tapes. It is almost without question, says Mae Brussell, that she knew what was on those tapes, including the 18 minutes of recorded conversations which were mysteriously erased. As reported in the West Coast news service, "Earth News," on June 5, 1974, from the stories she told her friends and neighbors, she was convinced that the president and his aides were involved in the Watergate bugging and cover-up.

2. Murray Chotiner, a long-time friend of Nixon's was killed when a government truck ran into his car on January 23, 1974. At first it was reported that Chotiner suffered only a broken leg, but he died a week later. According to a March 31, 1973 article in the Los Angeles Times, Chotiner may have been one of the people who received the tape recordings made inside the Democratic campaign headquarters in the Watergate building.

3. William Mills, the Congressman from Maryland, was found shot to death - an apparent suicide - one day after it was disclosed that he failed to report a $25,000 campaign contribution given to him by President Nixon's re-election finance committee. Mills, 48, was discovered with a 12-gauge shotgun by his feet and an "alleged suicide note" pinned to his body. In all, seven such notes were found, apparently written by Mills, although this was never verified. According to Miss Brussell, the $25,000 came from the $1.7 million dollar secret fund for "dirty tricks" used by the Committee to Re-Elect the President.

4. and 5. James Webster and James Glover, key men in Congressman Mills' campaign, were killed in a car accident in February of 1972. Another campaign worker stated in the Washington Post on May 23, 1973, that the illegal $25,000 contribution was delivered to Mills' campaign manager James Webster.

6. Hale Boggs, the Congressman from Louisiana and a member of the Warren Commission, died in July of 1972, one month after the Watergate arrests. Boggs and two other men disappeared when the light aircraft in which they were flying crashed in Alaska. The Los Angeles Star, on November 22, 1973, reported that "Boggs had startling revelations on Watergate and the assassination of President Kennedy." Richard Nixon made some unintelligible remarks about Congressman Boggs which were recorded on the White House tapes, just seven days after the Watergate break-in.

7. Dorothy Hunt, the wife of convicted White House "plumber" E. Howard Hunt, was killed, along with 41 other people, when United Airlines Flight 553 crashed near Chicago's Midway Airport on Dec. 8, 1972. Mrs. Hunt, who, like her husband, had worked for the CIA, was allegedly carrying $100,000 in "hush" money so her husband would not implicate White House officials in Watergate. The day after the crash, White House aide Egil (Bud) 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 Butterfield was made the new head of the FAA, and five weeks later Dwight Chapin, the president's appointment secretary, was dispatched to Chicago to become a top executive with United Airlines.

The airplane crash was blamed on equipment malfunctions.

8. and 9. Ralph Blodgett and James Krueger, attorneys for Northern Natural Gas Co., were killed in the same airplane as Mrs. Hunt. The two men, Miss Brussell contends, had documents linking Attorney General John Mitchell to Watergate, and documents of a secret transfer of El Paso Natural Gas Co. stock made to Mitchell after the Justice Department dropped a $300 million anti-trust suit against the company. The money from these stocks may have been used for political espionage. Blodgett told friends before boarding the plane in Washington that he would "never live to get to Chicago."

10. and 11. Dr. and Mrs. Gary Morris died in March of 1972 when their boat mysteriously disappeared off the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia. Their bodies were never found. But their names were on the dead body of Mrs. Dorothy Hunt, according to an article in the Oct. 3, 1975 Washington Post. "The plane crash that killed Mrs. Hunt in Chicago has now been officially ruled an accident," the story stated. "But there's one bizarre coincidence that may never be explained. "Her red wallet at the time of her death had a slip of paper with the name of a Washington psychiatrist, Dr. Gary Morris, on it." Neither Howard Hunt nor his wife were patients of the doctor, who was already dead at the time of the plane crash. It is interesting to note, Mae Brussell says, that Dr. Morris was an expert in hypnosis and that Mr. Hunt used "mind control" in his espionage work.

12. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, died on May 1, 1972, a month before Watergate. There is considerable evidence that he may have known about the White House "dirty tricks." An article in the Harvard Crimson quotes Felipe De Diego, a Cuban exile who took part in the break-in at psychiatrist Daniel Ellsberg's office, as saying:

"Two burglaries took place at Hoover's Washington home. The first was in the winter of 1972 to retrieve documents that might be used for blackmail against the White House. "After the first burglary," according to Diego, "a second burglary was carried out; this time, whether by design or misunderstanding, a poison, thyonphosphate genre, was placed in Hoover's personal toilet articles. Hoover died shortly after that." Thyonphosphate genre is a drug that induces heart seizures. Its presence in a corpse is undetectable without an autopsy. No autopsy was ever performed on the body of J. Edgar Hoover.

13. Sam Giancana, the Mafia chief, was murdered on June 22, 1975, as he was about to testify before Sen. Frank Church's Senate Committee, investigating the use of underworld figures by the CIA, for the purpose of assassinating foreign leaders. Giancana had ties to E. Howard Hunt and the CIA. His murder is unsolved, although police say "it didn't look like a Mafia hit." His former girlfriend, Judith Campbell Exner recently revealed her secret romance with JFK.

14. Lyndon Baines Johnson, the former president, died on January 20, 1973, in a helicopter ambulance en route to San Antonio, Texas. Three months before his death, Johnson was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle as saying, "We've been running a damn Murder Inc. in the Caribbean." This was two years before Sen. Church's committee revealed the plots to assassinate foreign leaders. "Coincidentally," Mae Brussell says, "Johnson died in the arms of a secret service agent Mike Howard, who in 1963 had been assigned to protect Marina Oswald after her husband was killed."

15. George Bell, assistant to Charles Colson, special counsel to the White House, died of unreported causes on June 30, 1973. When questioned about President Nixon's infamous "enemies list," Colson told the House Subcommittee Investigating Watergate that the "late George Bell" was responsible for the list of 200 celebrities and politicians whom the President considered dangerous.

16. Lee Pennington, Jr., a CIA agent, died of an apparent heart attack in October of 1974. Immediately after the Watergate arrests two years earlier, he had been sent to ransack burglar James McCord's home. Richard Helms, the CIA chief at the time, did not reveal this fact to any investigators. It was not until June 28, 1974, four months before Pennington's death, that the new CIA director, William Colby, reported to Sen. Howard Baker: "The results of our investigation clearly show that the CIA had in its possession, as early as June, 1972, information that one of its paid operatives, Lee R. Pennington, Jr., had entered the James McCord residence shortly after the Watergate break-in and destroyed documents which might show a link between McCord and the CIA."

17. J. Clifford Dieterich, a 28-year-old secret service agent assigned to Nixon, was killed when the president's helicopter crashed off the Bahamas in May of 1973. Dieterich was one of seven men in the helicopter, but the only one to die. Miss Brussell believes that in guarding Richard Nixon, he may have come to know too much.

18. Clay Shaw, who years earlier had been acquitted of conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy, died of a heart attack, on August 16, 1974. His death came just weeks after Victor Marchetti, author of "The Cult of Intelligence," revealed that Shaw had worked for the CIA. He had been on assignment in Mexico in 1963 at the same time as CIA agent E. Howard Hunt and Lee Harvey Oswald. Shaw was cremated. There was no autopsy.

19. Merle D. Baumgart, an aide to Rep. Peter Rodino of the House Judiciary Committee on Impeachment, was killed in a traffic accident on May 20, 1975. Washington police described his death as "a routine traffic accident" - until they received an anonymous call to "look into it." According to the Portland Oregonian of June 30, 1975, U.S. agents joined the probe but kept it secret because of the "stature of some individuals who might be involved."

Miss Brussell speculates that in his work to impeach Nixon, Baumgart may have come across some dangerous information.

20. Nikos J. Vardinoyiannis, a Greek ship owner who contributed funds to Nixon's presidential campaign, died of undisclosed causes in 1973. Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski was investigating Vardinoyiannis when the Justice Department declared that the Greek's contribution of $27,000 was not illegal. The Department reached this conclusion, Mae Brussell says, even though the contribution was made after one of Vardinoyiannis' companies was contracted to supply fuel for the U.S. 6th Fleet, and even though federal law bars foreign contractors from contributing to U.S. political campaigns.

21. Joseph Tomassi, the 24-year-old head of the American Nazi Party in California was shot to death on the front steps of his Los Angeles headquarters, on August 15, 1975. Two years earlier, the Los Angeles Times had reported that "the Committee to Re-Elect the President gave $10,000 in undisclosed funds to finance a surreptitious campaign to remove George Wallace's American Independent Party from the 1972 California ballot."

The Times went on to say that "$1,200 of the fund found its way to Joe Tomassi, head of the Nazi Party in California."

22. Mrs. Louise Boyer, Nelson Rockefeller's assistant for 30 years, fell to her death from a 10th story New York apartment on July 3, 1974. At the time, as a consequence of Watergate, Rockefeller was being considered for the vice-presidency. Accusations had been made that he had been involved in the illegal removal of gold from Ft. Knox. It's believed that Mrs. Boyer supplied the investigators with this information.

23. Jose Joaquin Sangenis Perdimo, a Cuban exile who worked with the CIA at the Bay of Pigs, died mysteriously in 1974. Code-named "Felix," he had worked with Watergate plummers Hunt and Barker. In 1972 he was awarded a secret merit medal by the CIA.

24. Rolando Masferrer, another Cuban exile employed by the CIA, was blown blown to bits when his car exploded on October 5, 1975. Masferrer had worked with "plummers" Hunt, Sturgis and Barker. According to Miss Brussell, "He would have been investigated for his activities in connection with assassination attempts on foreign leaders, had he not been killed."

25. Lou Russell, an old friend of Nixon's from the "Red Scare" days, died of natural causes on July 31, 1973.

In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, Nixon's secretary Rosemary Wood stated: "I met Lou Russell once when he came to the office. He said he worked on the old House Un-American Activity Committee and that he needed a job." Russell found a job alright, with "McCord Associates," a CIA front run by Watergater James McCord.

26. Jack Cleveland, a partner of the president's brother Donald Nixon, died in Canada in November of 1973. At the time he was wanted for questioning in connection with a possible government pay-off to Howard Hughes. Cleveland was suspected of being a go-between in a deal whereby Nixon's brother gained an interest in a large Nevada ranch allegedly in exchange for the president's clearing the way for the billionaire's takeover of Air West.

"When Watergate came apart," Miss Brussell says, "this deal came under investigation."

27. Richard Lavoie, chief of security for International Telegraph and Telephone, died of a heart attack on December 27, 1972. At the time Lavoie was guarding Ditta Beard, an ITT secretary who claimed she had a memo that her company had contributed $400,000 to Nixon's campaign fund so that John Mitchell would not bust up some of ITT's holdings. When columnist Jack Anderson broke this story, Miss Beard was moved from Washington to Denver, Colo., where she was hospitalized for an apparent heart attack. She was whisked away, Anderson claimed, so that she couldn't testify. Miss Brussell suspects that Lovoie may have heard too much from Dita Beard.

28. Mrs. Andrew Topping, the wife of a man arrested for plotting to kill Nixon, died of gunshot wounds on April 6, 1972, two weeks after the Watergate break-in. Her death was declared a suicide. Andrew Topping told police that "pro-rightist forces" beyond his control caused his wife's death.

29. James Morton was President Gerald Ford's campaign treasurer. According to a New York Times report of November 2, 1973, Ford was being questioned by a senate committee prior to his appointment as vice president, and was asked about a secret sum of $38,000 used in his campaign for the House of Representatives. The Times story stated, "Ford confirmed under questioning that a committee organized in Washington raised $38,216 for his re-election in 1972... but Ford said he did not know the names of the donors because the committee treasurer, James G. Morton is now dead." Like so much of the Watergate money, Miss Brussell notes, no records were kept.

30. Martha Mitchell, estranged wife of the former attorney general, died on Memorial Day, 1976. A constant "pain in the side" of the Watergate conspirators, she was the first person to point the finger at Richard Nixon and suggest he resign.