Celebrate Nixon Library's 20th Anniversary, But Remember His Pal George Steinbrenner, Too

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A weekend of events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Richard Nixon's library--or "The Dick," as the hepcats call it--kicked off this morning with the laying of wreaths at the graves of the 37th president and his wife Pat.

However, before we get to the other fun-filled festivities that are in store in Yorba Linda, we take a moment to remember George Steinbrenner, who passed away Tuesday and had his own special connection to Trickie Dickie.

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Richard Nixon Library
Funny, you don't look Republican.
Take it away, The Smoking Gun:

Before he became "legendary" for his brutish reign as owner of the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner was a Watergate- era perp looking to snitch out others to curry favor with federal prosecutors. Steinbrenner, who died today at age 80, pleaded guilty in 1974 to a felony conspiracy charge (and a misdemeanor accessory after the fact count) stemming from his illegal contributions to Richard Nixon's reelection campaign. Before admitting his criminal behavior, Steinbrenner offered, through attorney Edward Bennett Williams, to provide Watergate Special Prosecution Force lawyers with testimony about other illegal donations to Nixon, as well as the sale of ambassadorships. Williams told investigators that Steinbrenner "had intended to obtain an ambassadorship for someone else" in return for funneling money to the Committee to Reelect the President, or CREEP.

The Smoking Gun includes links to the documents that include Steinbrenner's snitch offer to prosecutors and a December 1973 memo where Williams described his client as an extortion victim who had delivered money to CREEP "out of fear."

Two days before he left office in January 1989, President Ronald Reagan pardoned a "deeply remorseful" Steinbrenner. 

Reflect on that and other, erm, highlights of the Nixon presidency at:

  • Today's barbecue at the library (hurry, they're almost out of the rats G. Gordon Liddy brought over to grill), $35;
  • The elegant, poolside dinner at La Casa Pacifica, the President and First Lady's Western White House in San Clemente, at 5 p.m., $350;
  • A performance by Roger Williams, the "Pianist to the Presidents" (and the Rev. Robert Schuller), who'll play Pat Nixon favorites at a noon Saturday luncheon in the East Room replica at the library--with her daughter and special guest Tricia Nixon Cox leading the square dance, $55;
  • The 2 p.m. Saturday Nixon Legacy Forum, which will have high-ranking former Nixon White House officials discussing, "How Will Richard Nixon Be Remembered? The Legacy of the Thirty-Seventh President" (free with museum entry fee, presumably);
  • A 6 p.m. Saturday East Room dinner gala with keynote remarks by former Nixon administration official, economist and People's runner-up Sexist Man Alive, Ben Stein, $140;
  • A 9 a.m. Sunday two-hour breakfast cruise in Newport Harbor aboard The Wild Goose, the private yacht of RN's friend, the legendary John Wayne, $140.

Go here for tickets to any of these deals. All proceeds benefit the further whitewashing of Trickie Dick's legacy. And make sure to light a candle--or a stack of Benjamins--for good ol' Georgie, too.
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