THE ADMINISTRATION: Ripping Open an Incredible Scandal

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$1,000,000 in cash. This line of inquiry by the grand jury could also implicate Dwight Chapin, who has admitted arranging the hiring of Segretti, and Gordon Strachan, who also helped recruit the agent provocateur.

While there was no evidence that employees of the Nixon committee or operatives in the White House were responsible, some strange things did occur in the campaigns of Senators Edmund Muskie, George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey. For example, someone representing himself as being from McGovern's headquarters invited AFL-CIO President George Meany to meet with McGovern at a time when neither wanted such a confrontation; the misunderstanding further alienated Meany from the McGovern campaign. Someone posing as McGovern's top television-time buyer called CBS to say that he wanted to cancel a major speech; the network rechecked, found that the real buyer had not called. Before the Florida primary, a flyer printed on Muskie stationery wildly asserted that two of Muskie's opponents, Humphrey and Washington Senator Henry Jackson, had participated in "illicit sexual activities." In the New Hampshire primary, telephone callers identifying themselves as Muskie supporters repeatedly called voters after midnight to ask them how they were going to vote. In California, a phony Muskie letter told wealthy donors that they did not need to contribute to his campaign, since he wanted to rely on numerous small contributions from less affluent givers.

Guilt. Lately the collapse of the Watergate cover-up has caused the Nixon re-election committee to push hard for the settlement of two peripheral civil suits. Although Mitchell was no longer a committee official, he approached Democratic National Chairman Robert S. Strauss three weeks ago with an offer of $525,000 to settle a $6.4 million suit filed by the Democratic National Committee. The committee has charged that the Watergate wiretapping violated the civil rights of the then-National Chairman Lawrence O'Brien and other top Democrats, some of whose phones had been successfully tapped in a previous breakin. Strauss at first was inclined to accept the offer, considering it to be "a lot of money and an admission of guilt." But the Republicans did not want it viewed as an admission, and Strauss finally rejected any offer, preferring to hold the suit as a weapon to get the full truth in case it does not come out in the judicial proceedings.

The Nixon Committee's finance chairman, Maurice Stans, similarly set up a meeting with John Gardner, head of Common Cause, the citizens' group that is trying to force the Republican Committee into making some disclosures. Specifically, Common Cause wants to know the names of secret donors who rushed to contribute before a new campaign law requiring disclosure went into effect last April. Some $15 million is estimated to have been collected in the month before that. Gardner's suit claims that public reports on the names and on receipts and expenditures were required even before the deadline. Stans wanted Gardner to soften his suit; Gardner refused, and a trial is expected.

Bombs. Conspirator McCord last week further complicated Stans' life by filing a $1.5 million damage suit of his own against the Nixon committee, charging that Stans, Magruder and the former Nixon committee treasurer, Hugh W. Sloan Jr., had approved his wiretapping

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