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New memos detail Republican Frederic Malek's role in Nixon campaign against Jews
Three days later, Kingsley wrote a memo to Haldeman -- signed by Malek -- describing the 13 as "ethnics," their euphemism for Jews, and clarifying which of the larger pool of top personnel were "ethnics." The memo includes the following annotation: "It is interesting that of the top 17 positions, 10 are ethnics." It was followed by Malek's typed initials: "FVM." Reached in Florida, Kingsley said he did not recall these interactions.
In a September 1971 memo to Haldeman, Malek explained his wider bureau reorganization to place its "sensitive analytical and interpretive responsibilities" under a new deputy; his plan also would have the effect of removing three of those on the original list of 13 Jews: a division director, a chief statistician and a chief economist.
In December, Malek told Nixon in a further memo that although "considerable progress has been made in reforming BLS," another task remained: transferring out the deputy commissioner -- who was not among the 13 -- to make room for an economist with "high political sensitivity."
According to the National Archives Web site, Malek went on to plan and oversee what the administration called its wider "responsiveness program," which the site described as "a way to gain political support for Nixon's re-election by using federal resources and grants to influence key states and voting blocs, especially minority groups."
In 1988, when details of the anti-Jewish campaign emerged, Malek told The Washington Post that "if I had even been peripherally involved or asked to alter someone's employment status" because of their religion or ethnic affiliation, "I would have found it offensive and morally unacceptable, and I would have refused."
He has since told interviewers that he is not an anti-Semite, said that he initially refused Haldeman's order and called his involvement in the episode the biggest mistake of his life.
Since the incident, Malek has donated money to the America-Israel Friendship League, and currently sits on its board. In response to the controversy over Malek's appointment in Virginia, Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a recent statement that "I am pleased to call Fred Malek my friend," and that except for his experience compiling a list of Jews for Nixon, "he has no record of being anti-Jewish." Both Corallo and a spokesman for the ADL declined to say whether Malek had contributed money to the group.
When asked Tuesday about Malek's connection to the Nixon program, McDonnell said that he "did not know about this background," that the episode was old, that Malek had apologized, and that what matters is that Malek is a successful businessman. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has known Malek socially for several decades, said in a separate statement that she has "great respect, trust and admiration" for him and that "he has no bias of any kind whatsoever."