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O’Donnell May Face Republican Challenge was dated March 4 for travel the previous month. If Burnett waited six weeks after making his contribution as he said, to file his voucher, that would have meant he gave the $75 to Triplett either in February or April. White, who was unopposed for renomination to a position he had won nine times before, had very low campaign expenses this spring. His only expense in the primary was his $1,000 filing fee, due by early February. Facing token Republican opposition, E. G. Schuhardt, in the fall, White won easily without campaigning. He says his expenses will come to about $3,000. Burnett says the impression was general among departmental employees that money he says they were being asked to contribute was going to be used in White’s political campaign this year. “Everybody knew where it was going, but nobody could prove it,” he says in his statement. He goes on to say he was promised no compensation for making his deposition. Asked his motivation for so doing, he replies, “Well, it’s just that it don’t seem right that he’s using the taxpayers’ money to run his campaign on, plus the fact that he put pressure on us tothat’s what rubs me the wrong wayput pressure on us to make us give it.” BURNETT WAS not present when Republican leader Stokes held his press conference in Austin; in fact, he seemed surprised, worried and annoyed at the use that had been made of his statement. Contacted by newsmen, Burnett said he did make a deposition but didn’t know it was going to be made public. Would he be available to testify before the grand jury? “No, sir, I’m not going before any grand jury. They [Republican investigators] told me they only wanted that statement for campaign purposes. That’s the only reason I gave them their statement. I sure don’t like this.” He says he was assured by Republican workers that he would not be liable to prosecution for his role in the alleged voucher swindle. Stokes indicated indirectly at his press conference he believes Burnett may be in line for prosecution; the Republican leader said one of the reasons he believes Burnett’s story is his “willingness to admit complicity in a scheme of finance the election campaigns of White with state funds.” He said Burnett has “put his neck on the line” by his admission. Stokes said that Burnett had volunteered his alleged information, coming to Republican headquarters in Austin in October on advice of an acquaintance. Stokes added that other persons had come in from “different sources unconnected with each other,” and “an extensive investigation followed.” White charged that Republicans had interfered with the work in his depart , men t with their investigation. “From these hundreds of contacts they have come in with this pitiful little document 6 The Texas Observer that is mainly conjecture,” he said. “These charges are obviously an attempt to cover up the total flop that he [Stokes] made as a campaign organizer and his dismal failure to influence the election in Texas.” He said he didn’t blame Schuhardt for the attack. White said he supposes that political contributions probably are made by his employees in behalf of his campaign. But he denied that he has accepted any such contributions directly; they would have been given, he said, to campaign committees. This, White said, is legal. He added that he has never checked to see which employees contribute to his campaigns and which have not. Most of them do not, he said. Those who do do so voluntarily. He said he believes it understandable that employees of state agencies might want to contribute to the campaigns of their department heads, as they Republican State Chairman Peter O’Donnell faces a challenge in his leadership Dec. 8 at a closed meeting of the State Republican Executive Committee in Austin, but he is expected to survive. It is doubtful that anti-O’Donnell forces have the votes at this time to topple him from his chairmanship. However, O’Donnell is expected to resign as chairman soon and will become the new GOP national committeeman from Texas, succeeding Albert Bel Fay of Houston. Fay, according to reliable GOP sources in Houston, has passed word to PresidentElect Richard M. Nixon that he would like to be the next secretary of interior. Fay, a dilligent worker for Nixon in Texas and a heavy contributor to the national campaign coffers, sent the word through Sen. John G. Tower, who is in charge of dispensing patronage in the state. Sources said it is doubtful Fay will succeed Stuart Udall as the secretary of interior, but Fay may be in line for a top post in interior. The chief reason cited for this is an apparent conflict of interest. Fay, among his other business connections, is associated with the oil industry, and he cannot be viewed as unbiased when dealing with disposal of the billions of dollars in shale oil deposits now under control of the department of the interior. O’Donnell challenged Fay last spring for re-election as national committeeman in a move that threatened to split the party just before the state convention. Top GOP leaders, including Tower, realize there likely would be a large turnover among personnel if their boss is defeated. Triplett, Burnett’s former supervisor was asked by a reporter if it had been part of his job to ask employees for voluntary campaign contributions. “Not necessarily,” he replied, declining to comment further, saying he’d tell the grand jury whatever they want to know. Republicans have added a few dollops to their original charge against White and Triplett. Stokes told the San Antonio. Express that “This thing may snowball,” that he has learned “a few other things” since the allegations against White were made. Details have not been forthcoming. but United Press International has reported that Republicans believe their investigation of the White matter has led to the discovery of “several phony names” on the state payroll. G.O. hurried to Houston where they hammered out a compromise whereby O’Donnell would succeed Fay some time after the election. If terms of that agreement hold, O’Donnell, whose terms as state GOP chairman have found disfavor even among his own colleagues, will move up to the national committee post. V It is reported also that Tower now favors Paul Eggers, the unsuccessful GOP gubernatorial nominee, as the new state chairman, but there is no indication Eggers will accept. Others mentioned as possible O’Donnell successors include Jack Cox of Austin, former state chairman who broke with the TowerO’Donnell establishment at the GOP National Convention and backed California Gov. Ronald Reagan for the nomination, and Jack Mabee of Odessa, another Reaganite. Another message Tower carried to Nixon recently was one saying Peder Mondsen of Houston would like to be U.S. ambassador to Norway. Mondsen, now a U.S. citizen, is a native of Norway and is a former *school chum of King Olaf VI. He also is the son-in-law of Albert Bel Fay. V According to Newsweek, Sen. Strom Thurmond, Richard Nixon’s key Dixie campaigner, recommended hawkish Sen. Tower as secretary of defense. “Diplomatically,” Newsweek recounted, “Nixon replied the idea sounded good to him but added that Tower’s appointment would mean the loss of a GOP seat in the senate.”