Herbert W. Kalmbach, Richard M. Nixon’s personal lawyer and a conduit for hush money from the 1972 presidential campaign to the Watergate burglars, died on Sept. 15 2017 in Newport Beach, Calif. He was 95.
Mr. Kalmbach was briefly imprisoned and temporarily lost his law license for illegally raising vast bundles of cash, much of it furtively exacted from corporations and individuals.
He oversaw a secret $500,000 stash to finance sabotage and spy operations against the Democrats run by the Nixon political operative Donald H. Segretti. He funneled $220,000 to pay off the seven defendants who had bungled the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex. And he steered $100,000 to an unsuccessful campaign to defeat George C. Wallace’s comeback as governor of Alabama in 1970.
In another episode, after withdrawing $100,000 earmarked for the anti-Wallace effort from a safe deposit box, he hand-delivered the cash to a stranger in the lobby of the Sherry-Netherland Hotel in New York, identifying himself as “Mr. Jensen of Detroit.”
Mr. Kalmbach later testified that when John W. Dean III, the president’s counsel, instructed him to meet him in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, to discuss the hush money, he was cued to wave his arms boisterously during their conversation so that they would not appear to be conspiratorial.
On Feb. 25, 1974, he pleaded guilty to violating the Federal Corrupt Practices Act by raising $3.9 million for a secret Republican congressional campaign committee. The money included a $100,000 contribution from an ambassador who was promised an even more prestigious post.
On June 17, Judge John J. Sirica, in United States District Court in Washington, sentenced Mr. Kalmbach to up to 18 months in prison. But Mr. Kalmbach wound up serving only a third of that, 191 days, when Judge Sirica released him the following January, citing his cooperation with prosecutors.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1949 and a law degree in 1951 from the University of Southern California and was admitted to the bar in 1952. He became friendly with Nixon later in the 1950s after being introduced by H. R. Haldeman, Nixon’s future chief of staff.
His wife, Barbara Forbush Kalmbach, a former Rose Bowl princess, died in 2005. He is survived by a daughter, Lauren Kinsey, and a son, Kurt. Another son, Kenneth, died in 1980.more » « less