Egil “Bud” Krogh
The Nixon Years
Egil “Bud” Krogh was at the center of a scandal that would ultimately destroy a presidency and change the world. In 1971, 31-year-old White House deputy counsel Krogh was tasked with finding and stopping White House leaks and became head of the Special Investigations Unit; Krogh and associates were familiarly known as the “White House Plumbers.”
He authorized the burglary of Dr. Lewis Fielding’s office in an attempt to discredit Daniel Ellsberg, who released his Pentagon Papers to The New York Times without authorization. Krogh says it was his loyalty to the president and his belief that national security was at stake that led him to authorize the break in and lie to cover it up. In 1973, before any other involved parties admitted wrongdoing, Krogh spoke up.
Of the various White House-based conspirators, Krogh alone pled guilty and refused to trade inside information for a reduced sentence. (In fact, he testified at the Watergate trials only after his sentencing.) He went to prison in 1974 and served four and a half months.
Following his release he was disbarred by the Washington State Supreme Court and taught ethics for five years at Golden Gate University, educating graduate students on how to avoid the pit he fell in. In 1980, Krogh successfully petitioned (with help from White House Prosecutor Leon Jaworski) to be readmitted to the bar and has been in practice since.
In 1994, Krogh wrote The Day Elvis Met Nixon, in which he recounts the day the King showed up at the White House, asking to speak with the President to offer his service in helping to keep young people off drugs. But in Krogh’s most recent release, Integrity: Good People, Bad Choices and Life Lessons from the White House, he tells his own story — from rising young presidential counsel, to his indictment and prison sentence, to redemption and the power to do what is right.
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Krogh was Senior Fellow and Chair on Leadership and Ethics at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington, DC. Part of the Center’s mission is to promote “civility, character and inclusive public leadership.” Krogh contributed to the ethics training initiative for political appointees and to the National Consortium for Character-Based Leadership, which focuses on ethics and leadership for young people.
“I would be glad – in current circumstances above all – if every public servant were to read and learn from Integrity. Our nation and constitutional democracy, presently in danger, would be safer for it.” ~ Daniel Ellsberg
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