Agribusiness executive Dwayne O. Andreas, known for his major financial support of Republican and Democratic politicians through the decades, has made a $1 million gift to the Center for Peace and Freedom at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace, a significant boost for the fledgling think tank.
"During a remarkable two decades as an elder statesman--through his writings, his fact-finding trips and his public statements--President Nixon demonstrated a profound commitment to finding pragmatic solutions to international problems," Andreas, 76, chairman and chief executive officer of Archer Daniels Midland Co., said in a statement issued from his Decatur, Ill., headquarters.
In announcing the gift, George L. Argyros, chairman of the library's $25-million Legacy of Peace fund-raising campaign, said: "As we redouble our commitment to sustaining the legacy and, now, the memory of President Nixon, we accept Dwayne Andreas' generous gift with enormous gratitude."
Born in 1918 in Worthington, Minn., Andreas joined Archer Daniels Midland in 1966, taking the helm in 1970. Among many other associations, he has served on federal advisory bodies under Republican and Democratic Presidents.
He is perhaps best known outside agribusiness circles as having contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to both major parties and their candidates, a role that has sometimes landed him in controversy.
In 1974, he was indicted but acquitted on charges of funneling illegal corporate contributions to his good friend, former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Hubert H. Humphrey.
A $25,000 campaign contribution in 1972 to Nixon fund-raiser Kenneth Dahlberg turned him into what he once described to the Washington Post as an "innocent bystander" in the Watergate scandal. That money ended up in the bank account of Watergate burglar Bernard Barker, giving investigators the first link between the Watergate break-in and the Nixon campaign committee.
His $1-million gift will provide support for the Center for Peace and Freedom, which officials say will add a voice to the debate over contemporary political issues and preserve Nixon's place in history as a key player in shaping world events.
The center, which will be headquartered at the Nixon library and have an office in Washington, began operations in March when Nixon spoke in the nation's capital before 45 foreign policy officials, analysts and commentators.