Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, June 28, 1973 (1/2)

Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
Year Shot:
1973  (Actual Year)
Tape Master:
Original Film:
[00.25.00-DEAN discussing the Sept. 15, 1972 Oval Office meeting and the state of Nixon's knowledge of the coverup at that time] Senator BAKER. What else was said by him or by Mr. Haldeman or by you in that context? Mr. DEAN. Well, this into a, evolved into a, immediately into a conversation about the Internal Revenue Service and using the Internal Revenue Service to audit returns of people. I had--again, we were on, you know, I knew the wavelength we had had been talking about, because I had had similar requests in the past to audit returns of people, and I told the President that the, Internal Revenue Service had been--- [00.25.39] Senator BAKER. Wait, wait, wait. You knew the wavelength because you knew from your previous use of the Internal Revenue Service? Mr. DEAN. That is correct. I had requests from Mr. Haldeman in the past that certain individuals have audits commenced on them. Senator BAKER. What did you do with that? Mr. DEAN. Well, I can--the one time. I recall getting one I did not know exactly what I was going to do with it because I was always reluctant to call Mr. Walters at that time, who was the head of the Internal Revenue Service so I went to Mr. Caulfield, who had friends in the Internal Revenue Service and he said, "I think I know a way this can be done." Apparently there is some system where the appropriate anonymous letter comes into a regional office and if it is--those who know how to do this can write the right letter and sufficient information will prompt an audit on that individual. Senator BAKER. Is that known as the informer statute? Mr. DEAN. No; I do not believe it is an informer statute, It is just something that will be of sufficient attention to that regional office, that branch of the audit branch of that regional office, that will institute an audit. [00.26.48-NIXON'S post-election plans to consolidate power in the executive branch to make all agencies devices to screw ENEMIES] I went on to tell the President that we did not seem to have the clout at the White House to get this done. I had talked to Walters about it in the past, and told him that I had had instructions from Mr. Haldeman on one occasion, and he said that, he brought to my attention the, making of the IRS political, and said that, You will recall what happened back in 1948 with Truman and that administration and -the cleaning house and the changing of the Internal Revenue Service. And these were all new facts to me, and what he was telling me was "Don't call me with this sort of thing." Senator BAKER. Tell me, if -you do not mind, what you did. Did you in fact set up an audit? Your counsel is trying to reach you and I think he may have something to say. Mr. DEAN. [conferring with counsel]. He Just said, which was quite accurate, I do not mind telling you any fact that is true. [Laughter.] Senator BAKER.. I would say that was a very lawyer-like piece of advice. [Laughter.] Mr. DEAN. So in this instance there -was, the one I was referring to in the past, there was an audit commenced. Now I, for example, read a Memorandum into the record this morning per request of some material requested by the committee that had to do with an audit of Mr. Gibbons, of the Teamsters Union. I merely put that in my file, and that is where it has remained to this day. [00.28.35] Senator BAKER. To shorten this, and I do not, mean to shorten it if you care, to go on with it, did you In fact initiate IRS inquiries or audits as a result of suggestions from the White House staff or the President? [00.28.47-NIXON'S plans post-election to make the IRS a punitive arm of the White House to harass ENEMIES] Mr. DEAN-. Well, the President at this time, to keep in the focus you want to keep in, told me to keep a good list, so that these could be--you know, we would take care of these people after the election, and we went into--I told him that IRS was a democratically oriented bureaucracy and to do something like that was a virtual impossibility. And then the conversation moved to the fact that he was going to make some dramatic changes in all of the agencies and, at this point in time, Haldeman opened up his pad and started making notes as to what the President was describing as to his post-election intentions. As a result of the President giving his thoughts on what he wanted to do post-election with all of the agencies and as far as changing personnel. Mr. Haldeman also injected Into the conversation at that time that he had already commenced a project to determine which people in which agencies were responsive and were not responsive to the White House. Senator BAKER. Mr. Dean, in deference to my colleagues and the requirements of time, let me try to refocus now: is, there anything else about the September 15 meeting that would shed light On the President's knowledge and the scope and depth of his knowledge, if any, of the, Watergate break-in on June 17 or the coverup activities, so-called, thereafter and prior to September 15? Mr. DEAN. I think I described pretty well in full of the 30, 40 minute meeting, however long it was. As I say at the end of the meeting, the meeting it turned to rather unrelated chatter about a book I was reading. [00.30.35]