Maurice Stans

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Maurice Stans
Maurice Stans.jpg
United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
January 21, 1969 – February 15, 1972
President Richard Nixon
Preceded by Cyrus Smith
Succeeded by Peter Peterson
Director of the Bureau of the Budget
In office
March 18, 1958 – January 21, 1961
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by Percival Brundage
Succeeded by David E. Bell
Personal details
Born Maurice Hubert Stans
(1908-03-22)March 22, 1908
Shakopee, Minnesota, U.S.
Died April 14, 1998(1998-04-14) (aged 90)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kathleen Stans
Children 4
Education Northwestern University
Columbia University

Maurice Hubert Stans (March 22, 1908 – April 14, 1998) was an American accountant, high-ranking civil servant, Cabinet member, and political organizer. He served as the finance chairman for the Committee to Re-elect the President, working for the re-election of Richard Nixon. While a peripheral figure in the ensuing Watergate Scandal, he was convicted on multiple counts under the Federal Election Campaign Act that were revealed during the larger investigation into Watergate.

Early life, education, early career

Stans was born on March 22, 1908 in Shakopee, Minnesota, the son of James Hubert Stans and the former Mathilda Nyssen Stans. His father was the only child of Jan Hendrik Stans and Maria Catharina Crijns, a Belgian couple who immigrated to the United States in 1880.[1] Stans graduated from Shakopee High School in 1925. He worked at a local foundry before traveling to Chicago to find work with friend, Otto F. Schultz. The same year he began work as a stenographer and bookkeeper for a Chicago importer, while attending evening classes at Northwestern University. In 1928 he joined the Chicago-based firm of Alexander Grant and Company, certified public accountants, and continued his part-time studies at Columbia University while working at the firm's New York City office.[2] He attended Columbia from 1928–1930. He was an executive partner with the Alexander Grant & Co. accounting firm in Chicago from 1940 until 1955. He was a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in New York, Ohio and Virginia. He was President of the American Institute of Accountants from 1954-1955 and won the Gold Medal for Distinguished Service to the Profession in 1954. He was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in 1960.[2][3] [4]

Public Servant under Eisenhower and Nixon

External video
1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-06-13; Part 1 of 3, 1:36:09, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC[5]
Maurice Stans getting off an aircraft

He later served as U.S. deputy postmaster general from 1955–1957, in the Dwight Eisenhower administration. He served as deputy director of the Bureau of the Budget (as OMB was known before 1970) from 1957 to 1958, and director of the Bureau of the Budget from 1958 to 1961, still under Eisenhower. He joined the Nixon administration as Secretary of Commerce from 1969 to 1972. In 1961, Stans was one of the founders of the African Wildlife Foundation.[6]

CRP, Watergate

In mid-February 1972, he resigned as Secretary of Commerce, to chair the finance committee of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CRP), Richard Nixon's re-election campaign. Money that he raised for the campaign was clearly used to finance some of the illegal Watergate activities. However, Stans always maintained, and it has not been proven to the contrary, that he had no knowledge of the various Watergate crimes.[citation needed]

It was rumored but never confirmed that Stans was the source for raising the million dollars in cash which Nixon kept in the White House safe. This cash was used to pay Howard Hunt and the other Watergate burglars, who eventually blackmailed the White House. It was also rumored, but never confirmed that Stans raised the cash from a list of large contributors by threatening IRS audits.

He was indicted in 1973 for perjury and obstruction of justice, but was acquitted the following year.

On 12 March 1975, Stans pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the reporting sections of the Federal Election Campaign Act and two counts of accepting illegal campaign contributions and was fined $5,000.[7] The convictions were related to improperly giving campaign funds to G. Gordon Liddy, though Stans insisted that his guilt ended there and that he was not aware of Liddy's plan to use the money for what became the Watergate break in.[7]

He later authored a book, The Terrors of Justice: The Untold Side of Watergate, in which he detailed his side of the Watergate story.


Maurice Stans died at the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California on April 14, 1998, at age 90, following a congestive heart failure. He was preceded in death by his first wife Kathleen and first-born daughter, Maureen Stans Helmick. He was survived by his wife Penny, his daughter Terry, her husband Bill and their three children, his sons Steve and Ted, his son-in-law, Walter E. Helmick Jr., and his grandchildren, Shelia Helmick and Peter Helmick, and Peter's wife Lois and their three children: Rebecca Tafline, Samantha Helmick, and Deidre Helmick.


  1. ^ De Nederlandsche leeuw. Koninklijk Nederlandsch Genootschap voor Geslacht- en Wapenkunde. 1969. pp. k. 217-218.
  2. ^ a b "Maurice Stans papers". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
  3. ^ "Biography of Maurice H. Stans". Ohio State University.
  4. ^ "Membership in Accounting Hall of Fame". Ohio State University Fisher.
  5. ^ "1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-06-13; Part 1 of 3". Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. June 13, 1973. Retrieved January 19, 2018. Episode Guide
  6. ^ Bonner, Raymond (1993). At the hand of man: peril and hope for Africa's wildlife (PDF). Knopf. pp. 56–57. ISBN 0-679-40008-7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-12-19.
  7. ^ a b David Rohde (1998-04-15). "Maurice Stans Dies at 90; Led Nixon Commerce Dept". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-03-24.

External links

  • Papers of Maurice H. Stans, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
Political offices
Preceded by
Percival Brundage
Director of the Bureau of the Budget
Succeeded by
David E. Bell
Preceded by
Cyrus Smith
United States Secretary of Commerce
Succeeded by
Peter Peterson
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