Maurice Stans

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Maurice Stans
Maurice Stans.jpg
19th United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
January 21, 1969 – February 15, 1972
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byCyrus Smith
Succeeded byPeter Peterson
Director of the Bureau of the Budget
In office
March 18, 1958 – January 21, 1961
PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded byPercival Brundage
Succeeded byDavid E. Bell
Personal details
Maurice Hubert Stans

(1908-03-22)March 22, 1908
Shakopee, Minnesota, U.S.
DiedApril 14, 1998(1998-04-14) (aged 90)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Kathleen Stans
EducationNorthwestern University
Columbia University

Maurice Hubert Stans (March 22, 1908 – April 14, 1998) was an American accountant, high-ranking civil servant, Cabinet member, and political organizer. He served as the finance chairman for the Committee to Re-elect the President, working for the re-election of Richard Nixon. He was convicted on multiple counts under the Federal Election Campaign Act that were revealed during the larger investigation into the Watergate scandal.

Early life, education, early career[edit]

Stans was born on March 22, 1908 in Shakopee, Minnesota, the son of James Hubert Stans and Mathilda Stans (nee Nyssen). His father was the only child of Jan Hendrik Stans and Maria Catharina Crijns, a Belgian couple who immigrated to the United States in 1880.[1] Stans graduated from Shakopee High School in 1925. He worked at a local foundry before traveling to Chicago to find work with friend, Otto F. Schultz. The same year he began work as a stenographer and bookkeeper for a Chicago importer, while attending evening classes at Northwestern University. In 1928 he joined the Chicago-based firm of Alexander Grant and Company, certified public accountants, and continued his part-time studies at Columbia University while working at the firm's New York City office.[2] He attended Columbia from 1928 to 1930. He was an executive partner with the Alexander Grant & Co. accounting firm in Chicago from 1940 until 1955. He was a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in New York, Ohio and Virginia. He was President of the American Institute of Accountants from 1954 to 1955 and won the Gold Medal for Distinguished Service to the Profession in 1954. He was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in 1960.[2][3] [4]

Public servant under Eisenhower and Nixon[edit]

External video
video icon 1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-06-13; Part 1 of 3, 1:36:09, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC[5]

He later served as U.S. deputy postmaster general from 1955 to 1957, in the Dwight Eisenhower administration. He served as deputy director of the Bureau of the Budget from 1957 to 1958, and director of the Bureau of the Budget from 1958 to 1961, still under Eisenhower. He joined the Nixon administration as Secretary of Commerce from 1969 to 1972. In 1961, Stans was one of the founders of the African Wildlife Foundation.[6]


In mid-February 1972, Stans resigned as the US Secretary of Commerce, to chair the Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CRP), Richard Nixon's re-election campaign. Money that he raised for the campaign was clearly used to finance some or all of the illegal Watergate activities. Stans denied any knowledge of what the money was used for, only that it was authorized to be spent.

On 12 March 1975, Stans pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the reporting sections of the Federal Election Campaign Act and two counts of accepting illegal campaign contributions. He was fined $5,000.[7] The convictions were related to improperly giving campaign funds to G. Gordon Liddy, though Stans insisted that his guilt ended there and that he was not aware of Liddy's plan to use the money for what became the Watergate break in.[7][8]

He later authored a book, The Terrors of Justice: The Untold Side of Watergate, in which he detailed his side of the Watergate story.


Stans died at the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California on April 14, 1998, at age 90, following a congestive heart failure. He was preceded in death by his first wife Kathleen and first-born daughter, Maureen Stans Helmick. He was survived by his wife Penny, his daughter Terry, her husband Bill and their three children, his sons Steve and Ted, his son-in-law, Walter E. Helmick Jr., and his grandchildren, Shelia Helmick and Peter Helmick, and Peter's wife Lois and their three children: Rebecca Tafline, Samantha Helmick, and Deidre Helmick.


  1. ^ De Nederlandsche leeuw. Koninklijk Nederlandsch Genootschap voor Geslacht- en Wapenkunde. 1969. pp. k. 217–218.
  2. ^ a b "Maurice Stans papers". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
  3. ^ "Biography of Maurice H. Stans". Ohio State University.
  4. ^ "Membership in Accounting Hall of Fame". Ohio State University Fisher. Archived from the original on 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  5. ^ "1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-06-13; Part 1 of 3". Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. June 13, 1973. Retrieved January 19, 2018. Episode Guide
  6. ^ Bonner, Raymond (1993). At the hand of man: peril and hope for Africa's wildlife. Knopf. pp. 56–57. ISBN 0-679-40008-7.
  7. ^ a b David Rohde (1998-04-15). "Maurice Stans Dies at 90; Led Nixon Commerce Dept". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  8. ^ ELIZABETH WHARTON (June 14, 1982). "Watergate case of 'misguided loyalty' -- Maurice Stans".

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Percival Brundage
Director of the Bureau of the Budget
Succeeded by
David E. Bell
Preceded by
Cyrus Smith
United States Secretary of Commerce
Succeeded by
Peter Peterson