- Category : Business-Top-executive
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (16,21,27,57)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sphinx 4
American lawyer and politician, the Governor of Maryland 1967-69 and Vice-president under Nixon, 1969. He was forced to resign in October 1973 for financial misconduct, income tax evasion and allegedly accepting bribes, the first vice president in American history to resign in disgrace. He pleaded No Contest and withdrew from political life to work as a business executive.
The son of a Greek immigrant peddler, Agnew grew up during the Depression days when his dad was forced to shut down his restaurant and sell fruits and vegetables in the streets. After serving as a combat infantry officer during WW II, he earned a law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1947. He found it difficult to establish a practice and took a job as an insurance adjuster and as personnel manager for a small market chain. In the '50s, he returned to law and into politics. Tall, well built and silver haired, Agnew first came to public attention in 1966 when he won office as Governor of Maryland. His income was still comparatively modest with a salary of $25,000 a year and a limited expense account.
He was a little-known politician when Nixon picked him as a running mate in 1968; he made a name for himself with die-hard conservatism and rhetoric, colorful phrases and changes in mid-stream. He held office during one of the most turbulent periods in American history and was embroiled in racial conflicts and the role of the press, Vietnam and Watergate. A novice in national politics, he suffered from his own inexperience and clumsiness. He made such faux pas as calling a reporter "a fat Jap," using the word "Pollack," and remarking casually, "When you've seen one slum, you've seen them all." Nonetheless, he accompanied Nixon in winning the presidential office in November 1968.
In early 1973, the bludgeoning of the Watergate scandal did not seem any threat to Agnew's position. There was no evidence that linked him or his staff to the growing outcry. However, in the fateful summer of 1973, his past caught up with him. A wide-ranging investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore uncovered evidence that Agnew had accepted kickbacks from state contractors in Annapolis. The glare of publicity was already on the administration and the president was so embattled that he had little support for Agnew. In August 1973, the investigation into Agnew's affairs became public.. He vigorously maintained his innocence and insisted that he would not resign. While he was denouncing the Justice Department, his lawyers were quietly plea bargaining with the Attorney General. The results of the negotiations were made public on 10/10/1973 in a federal courthouse in Baltimore. The vice-president resigned in exchange for which he was allowed to plead no contest to tax evasion charges. He was fined $10,000 and placed on probation for three years, but spared a jail sentence.
Agnew nursed his anger for 20 years that Nixon had sacrificed him in an attempt to avert Watergate. Nor did he ever forgive the press for what he felt was a vindictive approach to him.
He died of leukemia 9/17/96, Ocean City, MD.