The fund that helped pay the legal bills of unconvicted officials of Richard M. Nixon’s 1972 reelection committee is going out of business 12 1/2 years after Watergate, having spent nearly $4 million.
Lawyers for former Atty. Gen. John N. Mitchell, chairman of the committee, got $68,579 at the end of last year on bills stemming from a trial in which he and Maurice Stans were acquitted. Stans, a former commerce secretary who was chairman of the committee’s finance arm, got $117,043 for his legal expenses.
A total of $588,877 was paid out in December, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, leaving the “1972 Campaign Liquidation Trust” with $19,938. That money will be turned over to the Republican National Committee, Guilford Dudley, chairman of the trust, said today.
‘It’s Been a Headache’
“It’ll close it all out,” said Dudley. “It’s been a headache. For a while we were meeting about once a month. It was a headache from beginning to end.”
The fund, the survivor of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) that collected more than $60 million for Nixon’s reelection, once contained about $4 million.
“We paid some people in full at the beginning,” Dudley said. “But then we got some publicity, then people we never heard of started putting in claims and it became very apparent we were likely not to have enough money to pay everyone in full.”
Dudley said the fund turned down some claims. No one who was convicted received any legal help. For instance, Mitchell received no money in the Watergate cover-up case in which he was convicted and sent to prison.
Liddy Bid Rejected
G. Gordon Liddy, who supervised the burglary of Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate office building, submitted a $70,000 bill; the bid was rejected.
The biggest final payment, $275,299, went to lawyers for Robert Mardian, whose conviction in the cover-up trial was overturned on appeal. Kenneth W. Parkinson, who was acquitted in that trial, received $38,758.
Sally Harmony, who was Liddy’s secretary, received $2,239. Powell A. Moore, who was a committee press aide, got $5,321.
Paul O’Brien, a committee lawyer, received $13,730 for his legal expenses.
Anthony T. Ulasewicz, a former policeman who distributed money that went to the Watergate burglars, received $22,180.