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irishgit (148)
Hughes connection to Watergate is somewhat distant, and more than a little convoluted, but it does exist. It has it roots in events 12 years before the break in.

Nixon's 1960 presidential campaign was damaged by the revelation of a $205,000 loan to his brother Donald from Howard Hughes. It has been frequently speculated that Nixon's drive to learn what the Democrats were planning in 1972 was based on his belief that the Democrats knew about a later bribe that his friend Bebe Rebozo had received from Hughes after Nixon took office.

In an ironic and rather bizarre chain of events, during Nixon's re-election campaign Donald Nixon was being fed information from John Meier, a former business associate of Hughes and an associate of DNC Chair Larry O'Brien. Donald Nixon believed he was being given straight information, but Meier was actually acting in collaboration with Democratic activists and feeding him misinformation. Meier told him that O'Brien had details of Richard Nixon's dealings with Howard Hughes that had never been released. In fact, no such information existed, but both Nixon's were convinced it might, and investigators for the Senate Watergate Committee speculated that it was part of the motivation for the Watergate break in.

While Hughes had no part in the planning of illegal activities, nor in the coverup, and was brought into this as part of a campaign of misinformation, it is also true that his dealings with Nixon didn't bear a lot of scrutiny. While he has no direct guilt in the scandal itself, he was hardly an innocent.

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