In 1972, Dita Beard, a Washington lobbyist for International Telephone and Telegraph, made the front page of newspapers around the country. She was reported to have written a memorandum to her superiors saying that a $400,000 donation by an ITT subsidiary to help finance that summer's Republican National Convention had actually "gone a long way toward" settling three government antitrust suits against ITT. The memo was published by syndicated columnist Jack Anderson.
In November, 1974, while living in Denver, Beard testified that former attorney general John Mitchell had lied about her in sworn testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee. Mitchell had testified that White House aide G. Gordon Liddy had "spirited" Beard out of Washington in the spring of 1972 on orders from the Nixon White House.
"It never happened that way," she said then. "I came out here myself. Liddy had nothing to do with it."
Now, she has a "history of a screwy heart from the shock of all that filth," she says. She retired from ITT in 1976 on a disability pension and since has lived alone near Shepherdstown, W. Va. For several years, she operated a sheep farm, but says she gave that up because of rising feed and labor costs.
"For the last three or four years, I've done nothing but read a lot of books," she said in a telephone interview last week from her Shepherdstown home. Beard says she has turned down offers to write a book about her experiences because "it was all such a big lying mess, why go back through it all?"
She says she wants to sell her house and 28 acres of land along the Potomac by Harpers Ferry so she can move back to Colorado or Montana, where she grew up.
Does she miss the fast pace of high-pressure lobbying? "No, I can't say as I do," she said. "I don't even get the newspapers. . . . I'm way back here in the bush."