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Mark Nevin at Lancaster Sherman Rotary
September 14, 2015 : Nevin Speaks to Rotary about Watergate
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager
 
Lancaster – Ohio University Lancaster Assistant Professor of History Mark Nevin spoke to the Lancaster Sherman Rotary last week about President Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal.  He made the presentation at the club’s weekly meeting.
 
“The break-in at the Watergate hotel complex and Democratic National Committee Headquarters happened in 1972,” said Nevin. “The Watergate scandal was the O.J. Simpson trial of the previous generation.”
 
It’s been more than 40 years since Nixon resigned as President of the United States in connection with Watergate.  Nevin said Americans have largely forgotten what Watergate was about.
 
“The case was never brought to trial,” said Nevin. “Nixon resigned before that came about. However, more information has been brought to light by historians researching what happened.”
 
In June 17, 1972, several burglars were arrested inside the office of the Democratic National Committee, located in the Watergate building in Washington, D.C. The burglars were connected to President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign, and they had been caught while attempting to wiretap phones and steal secret documents.
 
Nevin said there were three Nixon-related conspiracies going on at the same time.  He said there was a group called “The Plumbers.”  The members of the group had the primary job of plugging leaks to the media.  Nixon did not like how information was leaked to the press. 
 
“'The Plumbers’ also gathered information on the anti-war movement and communist influence,” said Nevin.
 
Nevin said the second conspiracy was the campaign abuses going on in 1972.  He said there were many crimes committed in an effort to win reelection for Nixon.  Those activities included illegal campaign contributions and the sabotage of Democratic candidates.
 
The third conspiracy was the effort to hide the Nixon connection to the Watergate burglary and the roles of Nixon staffers in other illegal activities.
 
“Nixon was the ringleader and paid hush money to those who were arrested in Watergate,” said Nevin. “Nixon obstructed the FBI investigation into the burglary.”
 
Nevin is writing a book on the Nixon presidency and the politics of public opinion polling.