Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois on June 21, 1973 · Page 23
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Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois · Page 23

Galesburg, Illinois
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 21, 1973
Page 23
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Golesburg Register-Mail, Galesburg, 111. Thursday, June, 21, 1973 23 Clark Mollenhoff Challenge of Courage 'Mollenhoff Cocktail 9 Goes Off To Break Open Case By IRA BBRKOW NBA Senior Editor WASHINGTON — Massive Clark Mol, lerthwfif, (Dos Moines Register Washington bureau dhtiieif and iPuMtzw^pdze-wtoning columnist, as a 6-4, 230-fpoiinid abominable investigator who has been stalking afdmin- ifltaafciwis ais lar back as Truman's, has been Bronx-cheered by every president since, has been spait at by Jimmy Hofifa Whom be helped send up itihe river, and most recently has bellowed in a national' news conference ithait Hon Ziegler, Nixon's press secretary, was a 'liar. Fourth in a Series 'He is called the "Mbllenhwff cocktail" and he may atoo have had an enormous impact on Watergate. • Mollemlhofif, •who is also a lawyer, told his friend Judge John J. Samoa, "the Wlatergaibe judge," about a recent court precedent in which a Los Angeles judge named Ferguson delays sentencing to give the defendants time (to decide whether they would cooperate imiore fully with the court. If they would, the sentence would be lighter. Sirica had molt known of toe Los Angeles case unffl MoMenhoflf itold him. ("Clark knows me about as well as anyone, and I respect ham as much as I dlo anyone," says Sirica.) Sirica When called Judge Ferguson. Sirica used this unusal and controversial delayed sentencing meithod to flush out testimony tan Waitergaite burglar James McOord which wais virtually the Hirst sub- atiawtiilall tafoiunaitikm on the enormity of the poliihical espionage network.. • According to the Los Angeles Times, "a number oif insiders, MolilenhioM unabashedly among itham, feel ithait he was the catalyst who impelled former White House and campaign aide Jeb Stuart Mlagruder to come clean on his knowledge of the roles of high aldmiinisitjraitton officials — II. R. Haiideman, John EhrLtehrniain, Charles Colson and flonmor AifJty. Gen. John Mitchell — in the Watergate plo'Jtog and financing." Mtoilenhofi: had wrtoten an article predicting an iwdictmenit aigainistt Maigrudcr. He showed ifhe piece ito Magraideir, who, disturbed, shorAly aiflter wen/t to a federal .prosecutor and, said the Los Angeles Times, "began unloading what he knew, setting in motion the ounrenit cascade of diisolosures, admissions md (resignations." Moftlenhofif was possibly the first to (throw ofif Presidenit Nixon's cloak of executive privilege. He bad for one year early in Nixon's (first term, to (the surprise and then dismay of sarnie newspaper colleagues, accepted an offer to be a presidential counsel. He tefit the posit in the summer of 1970, He left, he said, because he had been promised direct access to the Presidenit, and did not get it. OUT OF OFFICE and back at news- papering, he was called to testify before the Oiiviiil Service Ooimimiisisiion, and did, despite the pervasive White House protestations that "miaittens of national security" could be jeopardized. "Some people have said that Nixon hired me to get rid of me," said Mollenhoff, in his National Press Building affiice, which is strewn with awards from the right and the left and which has autographed photographs of JFK, and LBJ, as well as Nixon. The job was presidential ombudsman. He was to be a muckraiker for internal White House problems, using the techniques he used as a journalist to help uncover such national scandals as the TFX, Biliie Sol Bates and Hoffa. Mollenhoff believed this a groat opportunity Ito give irsWhand assistance to good government It turned out to be heavy- handed, ait least as lar as the White House alalf was) ooncemed. "I WOULDN'T STAY OUT of the hair of Ehrllchman and Haldoman," said Mol- lenhoiff. "Not only was I honest, 1 was persistently honest. They didn't appreciate me because I wasn't one of 'these little junior executive types tan J. Waiter Thomp&iui advertising, one of Wtese guys between 20 and 30 years old, like a Dwight OJiapin, ho did anything they were fold because they owed all llihey had in life to people like Haldeman and Ehd'ichraan. It's <a shame. These young guys are now destroyed because of a couple of powerHmiad bastards." The final straw camie tor Mollenhoff When he found that the White House was pl/anning to have Jimmy. Hoiffa, former Teamsters boss, reilieaised from jail, Mollenhoff, who spent years on the Hoffa case and wrote one Of his six books, "The Tentacles of Power," concerning corrupbiion in labor unions, was never even consulted on the HoiSfia case. FROM HIS KNOWLEDGE of the workings of the Whiite House staff, Moillenhoff was later able ito write about the conspiratorial secrecy Othe misuse of diaissiifioaition in which red togs — which meant national security — were placed on routine political chores.) He wias the first ito write about former acting JBI director L. Pialtriok Gray, whom he knew at the Whiite House in terms of "a political hack." He is "sorely disappointed" in Nixon. "I thought he agreed wiltlh me on a lot of points. He'd give me a Ittle oT cheerleader speech. 'You go get 'em, Qlairk, and we'll gat something done about it.' That.was in the beginning. Not only was Mttle done about it, but soon I wasn't even allowed to seethePresiiidertt." Why he was such a threat to 'the White House staiff ers may be seen in his blunitness at the press conference an which Ziegler declared ithalt 'former staltemiehts on Waiter- gate by the President were "inoperatiive." MJolilenhoflf shouted: "Do you feel free to stand up there and lie and put out misinformation and come around later and say it is aill inoperaliive? . . . You are not en- tiii'Jled to any credibility ait ail when you dio that." Ziegler flushed and said, "Next question." "He's 'got his act down," says Molieti- hciff today, "lie's a perfect puppet." MOLLENHOFF SAYS HE is not discouraged by his inability to influence when in .the White 'House. "Hell, I believed I could reform Jimmy Hoffa.—until he tried directly to buy me. Ho said once, 'Everyone's got his price. What's your, Clark?' It reminded me of BhrUehman and Haldeman. No feelings for right or wrong. Only what is most expedient. There was never any eiflflort on any of their parts to argue with me." 'When he watched Hoflfa being carted off to prison for tampering with juries in his Memphis trial, Mdllenhofif said, "Jimmy, it took a long time but it finally caught up with you." That's when Hoffa spit in his direction. Molllienhoiff sees a similar thing happening to the Nixon administration, Time has caught up with it. "And it's now going down in tomes," he said. "The question is, 'Is it practical .to 'be honest in polities?' I think Watergate shows that it's damn foolish to be anything less ton totally honest,' That's the lesson of Watergate." Mrtl'lenhoff had an early struggle with integrity. It was at age 20 when he attending Drake University and working 40 hours a week as a police reporter for the Register. He had a iamily, liltitie money and the higbpoiinit of his working wardrobe was the letter sweater he earned as captain of the football team. A LOCAL BOOTLEGGEK, whom Mollenhoff had written about, offered to buy him a pair of pants. "He was on fertile ground about me needing to be helped out, but I wasn't sure of his niotivations," recalls Mollenhoff. "I gave him some looks and I thought about it for a minute. Then I thought of Lincoln S toff ens, the old muckraking journalist whom I wanted to pattern myself afiter when I read his autobio- 'I told the bootlegger it was tempting, but no 'thanks. "From that time on, I've thought before I've taken an action how it would look in my own autobiography. It's amazing how this keeps you on the straight and narrow." 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