This is the grave of Jeb Magruder.
It makes sense that Jeb Magruder was named for J.E.B. Stuart. Right-wing scumbag from one era influenced right-wing scumbag from another era all the way from the grave. Magruder, born in 1934 in Staten Island, had a father who was a huge Civil War buff and evidently loved the Confederacy, as far too many whites did in those dark years. He was a high school star athlete and then went to Williams College, where he graduated in 1958 after swimming for the school. He also took some time off to serve in the military while there, in the Army in South Korea. His first jobs were with big companies, first IBM and then the lumber conglomerate Crown Zellerbach. He then moved to Kansas City. While there, he got involved in Republican Party politics. A career of ignominy was born.
In 1962, Magruder met a fine man named Donald Rumsfeld. Rummy, always a known known as an asshole, saw talent in this young hack and named him campaign manager for his 1962 congressional run. Magruder impressed internal Republicans and his star rose along with that of his boss. With his IBM background, he used a lot of data in the campaign, which was not all that common at the time, so Republicans in Washington tapped him for bigger things. He worked for Goldwater for a time, but quit eventually because he wasn’t real comfortable with Barry’s more extreme views. He did this and that and by 1967 was in California working for Richard Nixon. He wasn’t initially part of Nixon’s inner circle and did not get a job immediately upon the latter getting the presidency. But in 1969, he was named a Special Assistant to the President. And nothing bad ever happened since.
In the White House hierarchy, Magruder’s bosses was Bob Haldeman, one of the worst people to ever serve in a White House. Magruder fit right in. As Nixon’s first term wound on, he was obsessed with his reelection and would do anything to make it happen. He had the perfect man for the job–Jeb Magruder. Nixon named Magruder the head of Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) in 1971. After a bit, Attorney General John Mitchell was placed ahead of him in this process, but with Mitchell more concerned with having his own wife kidnapped so she wouldn’t talk to the press and other lovely endeavors, Magruder was the functional operator of CREEP. And as such, he was all the way in all the crimes of the Nixon administration. It was Magruder who met with Mitchell and John Dean to give approval for G. Gordon Liddy’s ratfucking operations. Magruder actually hated Liddy, but they had one goal in mind and made it work. In the aftermath of all this, he was named the policy director for the Department of Commerce in 1973. In court after the Watergate bumblers were discovered, it came out that Magruder had personally approved a $199,000 payment to Liddy to burglarize the DNC headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. When testifying about that, he lied and denied it. And then it was proven true. Whoops! Magruder was sent to prison for perjury on a sentence between 10 months and 4 years, after turning state’s evidence to save himself. In fact, he was not a stupid man. He read the writing on the wall and went to the prosecutors before others and chose to cut his losses. Outrageously though, he only served seven months.
In the aftermath, Magruder continued lying, at least for awhile. In 1974, Magruder published his memoir. In it, he repeatedly denied that Nixon had ordered the burglary. Later of course, Magruder finally told the truth, even though everyone already knew it by then. What a guy. But then, Magruder did the classic move for a criminal looking to rehabilitate his reputation–he became a minister. Clearly he was now an ethical and moral man! Before this though, he went on a college speaking tour about Watergate, making sure he cashed in on his fame while he still had it. He wrote a second book in 1976 about the influence of Christianity on his life, which was of course so clear from the way he had lived in. Jesus would have bugged McGovern too! He got a Master’s in Divinity from Harvard in 1981 and became a Presbyterian minister. I cannot imagine going for spiritual guidance to the Reverend Magruder and taking this seriously. But he actually practiced. He was an associate pastor at churches in Burlingame, California and Columbus, Ohio before becoming a full pastor at a church in Lexington, Kentucky in 1990. Upon doing this, he said, “it’s a characteristic in American life that there is redemption.” Yes, I guess nothing is more American than being a criminal serving the powerful, becoming a minister, and then declaring yourself redeemed because you are serving the rich and powerful from the pulpit. Hell, it worked for Chuck Colson too. Surprised Nixon didn’t declare himself a preacher in 1980 just to get good press. Even before he got his pastorate in Lexington, in 1988, the mayor of Columbus actually named Magruder the chair of a special commission on ethics and values. I cannot even.
In 1991 and then again in 2003, he assented to interviews by authors working on books on Watergate that he had lied all along and that Nixon was centrally involved in the whole thing. Again, this was hardly news.
Beginning in 2007, Magruder’s health started failing, He had a small stroke while driving and crashed his car. He slowly faded after that and died in 2014.
The Good Reverend Jeb Magruder is buried on the confiscated lands of the traitor Lee, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
If you would like this series to visit other Watergate criminals, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. I have a big grave trip coming up in a few weeks and anything helps to cover those expenses. Chuck Colson is in Quantico, Virginia and Howard Hunt is in Hamburg, New York. Sadly, both Haldeman and Ehrlichmann were cremated. Sometimes there is no justice. Previous posts in this series are archived here.