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as bill he assured them you know hardworking highly productive of the department of commerce and the small business vision and we will endeavor to continue to do the type of job that will make you an odd community about the spanish speaking people do business enterprise and so this letter was written throughout the thirty years now i was at the outset that yeah i won against any reflection on the day i think it's a fine organization but says these allegations had been made i now offer you the opportunity to a make you are but i would appreciate all three or so what and i might say that only allah what i i tried to highlight the now the allegations and the
answers with respect to the allegations there is as it is at the request of counsel at the committee raises briefly so that you can go there is whichever you prefer if you'd like to take five minutes or ten minutes now it can do that to try to finish third year we can reconvene to go with that one
community is wondering if it's possible that i don't have any more questions that mr german it's possible we could continue finish before we come back this afternoon with a witness i mean there's no objection in recession and they also became lunchtime for the committee and right time for us public television coverage of the senate watergate hearings will continue after this gas station identification on average coverage of red herrings as being broadcast as a public service where local public television station
this is pbs public broadcasting service the pittsburgh as ba power fb
and that continues its coverage of hearings by the senate select
committee on presidential campaign activities yet again and back correspondent jim lehrer as we go back now mr fernandez is ready to respond to those questions posed by senator montoya the state of the city they haven't delivered us interrogator i wonder if the witnesses and the response or mr sutherland to a question that he is a gemini like to after the letter in the photo op for identification an induction into the record here's your rejection letter of years in tomorrow's leaders of that and make sure that your family the last question i asked him what this was
he cared too well you any rebuttal to statements made in the letter with respect to him and to admit you may say to do so answers cinnamon toast questions i like to make a statement for the record we've seen here to be departing at least for the moment the priestess matter and i have a few things that i would like to say about that yesterday mr fernandez was accused of some rather serious things i must've priestess in order to put those accusations in their proper lights i like to point out that this decreases is a man who is currently under federal sentence for as i understand it true
the statements were obviously rendered and so on their way to making false statements was a federal plan as a result all of the plea bargain under which this sentence was rendered has decreased this was also able to have several additional substantial federal charges dropped i think it is important to point out and considering mr priestess testimony that he is a man who stands convicted of making false statements i would also like to point out that in the opening
statement made by mr priestess council it was emphasized them is to priestess was appearing voluntarily and without offer of immunity so suddenly turned out to be incorrect and that as a result of the same plea bargain under which mr priestess was sentenced he was granted immunity from all of the additional charges growing out of his activities and for mr fernandez on the other hand is appearing here without any grant of immunity nor as mr fernandez as for any grant of immunity he has made a statements falling unfairly of the facts as he remembers on all of his transactions worth mr
priestess and has made them would fall out at a right to claim a fifth amendment privilege and to refuse to answer any questions that with regard to the questions raised by senator montoya mr fernandez feel that these questions i had nothing whatever to do with the investigation of the presidential campaign activities but nevertheless out of courtesy to a very distinguished senator mr fernandez will attempt to answer these questions also forty and thirty like you're much i'd say that as i understood mr priester statement on yesterday on the question put by counsel that records to immunity have to do with immunity granted by this committee not community or its equivalent as it might be given the prosecuting attorney us attorney i might also say without any criticism marcus
weather service council that the committee i believe will do the testimony taken before its wealth under oath by affidavit and other statement on its merits take into account all those factors that that might be made to appear in the record all those matters that you mention that really haven't already proven one form or the other that should not be prejudicial to the status of the standing and this decreases or should it be prejudicial that's what that is but i would point out that these statements of buddhist priest dismissed commanders for tremendous will be considered impartial by this committee and all the time the circumstances as well on the question of the relevance of the questions when troy i'm happy to hear that council has no objection to their answering i think that we've conducted a pretty freewheeling
inquiries so far all that we can proceed apace with our answer to to these charges which to continue then please mr fernandez yes miller head of the national economic development association that the letters that may eleven nineteen seventy two and it was signed by alfred are the locals executive vice president and chief operating officer this letter to put it in its proper context was submitted by much available as soon after i was attacked on the floor of the house of representatives by congressman henry b gonzalez of san antonio texas mr gonzales according to the congressional record which i have written attack may approximately
two weeks after i visited san antonio texas in the role as chet national chairman of the national hispanic finance committee i went into san antonio texas which is a hotbed of democratic activity very little republican party activity and iran in a storefront office in downtown main downtown san antonio i put a big staging re elect the president i called a press conference at the tv people are radio newspapers without israelis aren't lining the purposes of the national hispanic financed them i mean the two party system of apartheid to the spanish speaking people wherever we were located i emphasize very strongly the track record of president nixon and the administration with respect to spanish speaking people
i urge the people of barry county texas which is the county surrounding san antonio to do everything in our party support our financial campaign and to support the president in his bid for re election approximately ten days two weeks later democratic congressman henry b gonzalez attacking on the floor of the house of representatives and he attacked me and possible conflicts of interest he attacked me on the grounds of the possibility of wrongdoing while i was chairman of the board and president other national economic development association it was a beautiful piece of character assassination done under the sanctity their privilege of the house of representatives in other words i don't think it would damage as think he made against me you know mr gonzalez by innuendo by
to suggest the phrases of wind up at the picture as to my character and as do my act qualities as a national leader among spanish speaking people i received a copy of a congressional report from the front of mind i read it in great detail in the great amazing because i've never been attacked by any congressman anywhere anytime and this is all new to me and i was enraged eye contact with some of my mexican american friends in san antonio texas and asked them what it should fly to san antonio and called for a press conference than rebut congressman gonzalez i was told by my friends who knew this congressman that that was not necessary answer that had never met the man who has not to my knowledge that this was not necessary that this was a technique used by congressman gonzalez whenever he can but mexican american leadership anywhere in his terms a threat to his congressional domain
that you would lash out in every direction hoping that the recipient of the whiplash would fight back and therefore we would be in newspapers for the next ninety days i was urged to ignore this attack i was told that if i did not follow the advice that i could not get anything accomplished with respect to my fundraising activities in san antonio texas i swallow my pride i took my beating and moved on to the next they get an ordinance that springs to mind that i learned from my father a mexican immigrant from mexico he told me as a boy song if you over as an adult work of the many guns i want to remember some the morning the camels have died from envy and jealousy than from cancer we have this propensity to cannibalize our leadership and i'm no different than any other mexican american trying to service people in this country i have a thought crime founder of the national
economic development association i was particularly as to share this organization because of my background i think i have an expanded background in finance economics marketing and management and certainly my background in the field of finance a second to none with respect my area of expertise second to none anywhere in the united states i was urged by the members of the war i was urged by some other people from the administration to take charge of this organization i we highlight the fact that at the time that i organized there were some thirteen thousand five hundred and shared banks in the united states only one organized men and controlled by spanish speaking people there were four thousand five hundred insurance savings and walls none organized medicine controlled by spanish speaking people i was urged on to provide my
leadership my expertise my management know as a volunteer to lead our people out of the economic doldrums i accept that this assignment and i'm proud of everything i did while i was chairman of the national economic development so silly this letter was written by mr alfred it or those who participated in the coup d'etat against me when i was chairman of the board it and i'm a big boy i don't i can't worry about things like that those things happened i was chairman for fourteen months some surprise that lasted as long as i did let's go down those of a series of allegations times reveals beginning on page two it stays here firstly the allegation that mr fernandez uses position that neither for his personal financial betterment is true and while the illegality would be difficult to prove there is no doubt that certain of his actions were improper what action i don't know the dispersal financial buttermilk dough out
wasn't true i don't know anything about that when i organized me that i that less of myself and researching i certainly i still on the corporation which is a small corporation i think you have five employees working under its direction and got there and the fear they're putting you divest yourself set aside not participating in any amendment activities of the organization i remove myself i'm sorry an organization i made no no i will attempt to manage the organization directly or indirectly but that did not disqualify the organization from entering into contact with respect reputations for charitable or so they can do whatever they want to harvest corporation and he does it for the first six months the
organization of need and financial my interests mr medley oh it stays here also that idea we were like to exit which let the board of directors to terminate his relationship with the national economic development association in august nineteen seventy one this is the nineteen eighties and the nineteen nineties soon after the my resignation one of the members of the war on men in albuquerque new mexico and then you investing in a los angeles and apologize to me for years and participated in which resulted in the corporation
secretary of state you know banks and savings and loans and many of them were part of the formation of the dough it had received my sanity of upwards of ten thousand dollars or whether the latest happening as an organization have a separate policy response and such for analysis firm research and pretty hard to prepare the surface require agencies of course neither would not answer any more mention of any financial institution research speaking people throughout the united states to heal and it is an area in which we have been largely neglected and this was a policy which was about the bible or indeed that
senator montoya i believe i still have copies of the records right here well and i was needed directors it was requesting permission for inclusion of that is just not realistic at no time did i ever was willing to receive a ten thousand dollars fee or for that matter any kind of healthy organizing financial institutions will overturn term record of need it is we have to question whether they're
being received any such fees while you were president last tuesday said regarding information formation of savings on associations and banks as investors in a statement before last tuesday's hearing is occasions officially unofficially known as quantitative easing which is in sight numerous members of the board of directors are also friends of mine who participate in social political action business activities with
cbs news and then i take exception to that point where the best available state's approach we took immediate steps to remove him from the last year malaysian and live with my head hung out again this committee and i don't think the backbone of this committee with respect which now it's a minority enterprise minority activities to our country it is the toughest thing i've ever done in my life to try to work the spanish speaking people into a cohesive unit we have a tradition of not working together and be among ourselves we joke at the mexican american is not popular puerto rican puerto rican does not one want us to know in that it's getting the
straight diverse groups to work together to ensure that i'm going well but the gist of it is i was able to do when i organized a committee also you know to get this entire industry perspective than fourteen months i organized international management consulting company and eleven also some political i recruited trained and motivated the management of the organization are processed over one hundred million dollars in loans for spanish speaking does this man some fifty million dollars were actually approved i think a sounds of taxpayer dollars that was my rule would need a fully committed fully dedicated to the point were at that time i picture was the tremendous respect the spanish speaking people because the rest of my life i will devote myself the peak to working with the spanish speaking people
the young arab states that there is a transcript of the last board meeting when i realized that there was a tape recording of it and this is probably true because it was my policy at all means to request a tape recording of the analytic recording of the meeting so that the secretary would be able to prepare a properly i can sense westervelt was this africa summit has taken this transcript i request this committee that the record the little pencil a lot of these are pieces of evidence can be sudden i think i think the appropriate way to handle essentially on a level field the jurisdictional expects the committee would be from that that document or that tape be receiving the files of the committee with a little determination on its relevance important record rather than improving it as an exhibit to the record this time there is no objection to that
procedure until it hasn't really use them the proper documents and take the receiver the files the committee for later determination sen mccain yeah there's a nervous mr fernandez did you have any conversations with a mr yamamoto or tony gonzales concerning grants or people who would be asked to people who would receive grants ole receive grants or contracts are there wasn't there when on discussions with heroes these two men with respect to our country the subject the better
and we would be republican and that so occasionally at a it was brought to my attention that it's also received a grand jury we knew that people were and i believe you indicated in response to a question the staff yesterday morning that you had no discussions is it your testimony that he did not mean to include these gossip sessions by it oh you answer i leave us yesterday morning when the word had any discussions with mr lombardo or ms rodriguez concerning the recipients of grants and contracts and i believe you said that you did not i do not just fall and did you
know whether joseph riley as the head of game as associates was receiving a contract with the government during the period he was chairman of the washington dc virginia and maryland gradually hispanic finance committee i do not know whether he had a contract at that time i do know that he is a management consultant in washington dc and that as to whether he himself members of the white house staff including sanaa motorola making efforts to secure our contracts for him and that was then without your knowledge that i ever was i was and how often were you speaking to mr lombardo and mr rodrigues i would venture to say i'm an average of at least once a week during the campaign and
when i was writing washington dc i always made it a point to try to police vehicles and this was not mentioned in those conversations was the fact that the possibility that the white house that was working to secure contracts or mysterious news and so walker what is the name of his company to know all systems in newport beach california and you know whether there were any effort made during the campaign to secure contracts will grasp of his company i know of no such efforts by iran does not discuss this witness them our motto orbis a writer it is that he's now sterling was the number of those in the testimony yesterday was taboo thought of the exhibit which you that divide which i'd like to read that again and ask if you have any knowledge of that or any participation in any member and in march second nineteen seventy
two detroit and one with our recent discussion regarding media and our comments of the tail wagging the dog i am attaching an editorial written by anita employee opposing he pointed to a city where as deputy director of ongoing this is the latest example of the unwillingness to cooperate with the administration i think before commerce on squawk on a two million dollar grant you should sit down with it a go and explain the facts of life i would appreciate you being kept abreast of this highly important matter do you have any personal knowledge of the circumstances surrounding a memorandum you know i thought in the sleepy certainly the final people involved in a memorandum on
homes to gear and that i had no knowledge at such a memorandum was being prepared for looking at efforts were being made to get in a lot of cases the toll is improvisation that the national hispanic finance committee raised one third of a million dollars now did you do anything that could be called the digging into this the priest has his problems with fha did you ever tell anybody that you were going to dig into a recent problems are you familiar with a new story according to that effect and that is in the story that appeared on september second nineteen seventy three in the miami herald of the track i'm familiar with a new story and that is that you store incorrect with a reporter who interviewed me because he did not get full
disclosure as i talked to him and that he withheld certain information and some of my phrases were distorted and specifically about the book yes or no vote you have commented on businesses credibility from your standpoint i dont like asking whether you have any reason to believe that this decreases our bears any grudge against you i do not like to rewrite man was the day we visit secretary stands all and i completely forgot and i gather that in that you have no reason to shadow no way getting any light on why this decreases might be testify falsely against rudy solas notion now are you familiar with the provisions which deals with soliciting
oh definitely rhodes says whether entering into any contract with the united states or any department or agency either for the rendition of personal services were furnishing any material supplies or equipment to the united states and the department or agency thereof what were selling any land the building to the united states or any department or agency that payment for the performances such contracts or payment for such material supplies equipment land the building used to be made in holland park un funds appropriated by the congress at any time between the commencement of negotiations for and the
labor one the completion of performance under or two determination of negotiations for such a contract or furnishing of material supplies equipment land the buildings directly or indirectly contribution of money or other thing of value or promises expressly was widely to make any such a contribution to any political party committee for a candidate for public office or twenty person for any political purpose or use or a section very knowingly solicits solicits any such contribution from any such person or any such weapons during any such error she'll be fine now we are familiar with that section during the events in nineteen seventy two presented river come across a section in charge and that has the same question that you're not familiar with it when you
spoke to members is that we're a testimony until as minot is a disconnect seven over the questions that emerged for some are there other questions if there are no other questions the witnesses excuse me thank you similarly there are no other witnesses scheduled for this afternoon in the committee will stand adjourned until ten o'clock tuesday morning so now i have that been fermented side of john prine is the story the committee's to pursue this a broad subject of campaign financing in more detail next week stephen hess mom are watergate regulars as as an experiment so in this area of campaign financing primarily as an aide richard nixon in the past has also authored several books on american politics and is now a senior fellow at the brookings institution stages up the senators vote they took a year stever today we heard a man named ben fernandez describe the hollander
some extent why he collected fines for president nixon's campaign reelection effort is his rationale for doing this is a fairly typical of white people get in the fundraising of a selfish motives or their altruistic motives are there are seeking lot of wealth dr alice furlaud various reasons is because he told us pretty clearly and i think they are instructive first of all there was the question of personal ambitions christopher fernandez said he would have liked to have been the first spanish american cabinet officer second we might call benefits with different entities that that it would be useful to the spanish american community if they had a presence in the nixon campaign in other words he was there because of those wealthy and deeply felt it's support in his own community and thirty might call a problematic approval he was saying i like what nixon did in his first administration for the spanish americans and i am supporting him in a sense retroactively
retroactive sanctioning cities are where fairly typical fairly benign reasons well let's get beyond the benign reasons to be cancerous reason certain speed the quid pro quo we saw a man yesterday john jay priestess who said very frankly i'm not to give up to one hundred thousand dollars depending on the story you believe and for that i expect my troubles with the fha to be over selecting their houses i'm not even a republican i don't care a damn thing about richard nixon i just wanted that the fha of how much campaign contributions do you suppose is given for those reasons christie says the other side of the quite clearly they were not benign reasons as you said he wanted a fix enough something on the government now i would say that the majority of contributions are in fact from the nineties is after all a nineteen seventy two that spat contributed no campaign something in the neighborhood of four hundred million dollars perhaps we could say that a few million with tainted in this way but most of
his contributions came for a variety of reasons support for a candidate in your freezer opposition were out of what might be called community chest reason that people give as part of their obligation as being a good citizen or for symbolic what's relevant and jobs office that so there are all sorts of reasons that people in a campaign and if we're going to continue to have a system of private campaign financing although i personally prefer a public campaign financing system i think we have to find ways of separating them out allowing the legitimate reasons to come forth and finding ways to to end those over the priest's is that the curfew of you stay with a private system of financing and even aside from the priest gives reasons you have you mentioned ago the status givers now i know the late jane wyman was one of the most successful fund raisers the democratic party tell me that people who gave thousands of dollars often they're just to say well i don't get socially in the white house i know the president and yet you are
buying something with your money that wouldn't be available to the ordinary citizen edge well thats right thats certainly true it i myself a republican system of financing primarily because the private system has become so tainted even when there's no wrongdoing there's such a feeling that it is corrupting the system is very hard now to separate out those benign cancers reasons and another thing i know we've heard over and over again during watergate is a lot of the mischief of perpetuated by the committee to reelect president may have been really because they had too much money to spend they just didn't know what to do with it so they don't approve these outlandish spy plans and these other activities just i'm going to spend them and i certainly think that are and that can be made that if they didn't have the money they couldn't spend it legally or illegally on the presidential level there's a definitely a number of supply of money there's myrna sufficiency the problem is though that at the same time most of the rest of politics is under finance the local politics and in fact the
earl the money is not just used for the sake of money is in fact the way that a candidate has to tell his message so without elections will be a mockery and we think the only way to correct this discrepancy with you through legislation yes i think this is the one area of these hearings that we've been involved in cincinnati where there should and could be corrected legislation it's interesting isn't it the interest in the hearings of fall off some of the coverage is not what it was in that we remain out the end of the most important the most the part of the problem with most of most readily to a solution and not many people are paying attention but that's right because the first part of it really is a question of morality how do you legislate morality we can have laws on the books to prevent people from wearing red wings or carry a hundred dollar bills and they're settled society paid a tremendous price for that this question of how do we control our own public financing system is key and it's clearly
right for congressional legislation feinstein thanks very much i'll package on this was in fact the similarity committees fiftieth day of public hearings is difficult to realize that i was began as davis said back in may with the testimony of a man named robert earl and we stir today but as i said next week there will be still more testimony about this whole subject of out campaign money was raised in the nineteen seventy two presidential election one our forecasts say that's for the uk an impact on jim lehrer thank you and goodnight and backers brought to washington in november eighth and i videotaped coverage of today's hearing of the senate select committee on presidential campaign activity this program was made possible by grants from the corporation for public broadcasting and the ford foundation has been a production of unpack the vision of the greater washington educational telecommunications association
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1973 Watergate Hearings
Part 3 of 3
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Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer anchor gavel-to-gavel coverage of day 48 of the U.S. Senate Watergate hearings. In today's hearing, Ben Fernandez testifies.
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Politics and Government
Watergate Affair, 1972-1974
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Anchor: MacNeil, Robert
Anchor: Lehrer, James
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Chicago: “1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-11-08; Part 3 of 3,” 1973-11-08, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 28, 2023,
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APA: 1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-11-08; Part 3 of 3. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from