Bernie Joe "Tex" Burkett collection related to Watergate

Biographical and Historical Notes

Tex Burkett

Bernie Joe (BJ) “Tex” Burkett (1924-2010), was a Republican political operative and public relations professional.

Tex Burkett was born in Era, Texas, on August 14, 1924. After a stint in the Army Air Corps (1944-1947), Burkett attended the University of Minnesota, graduating with a degree in journalism in 1950 and a master’s degree from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1952. While still a student, Burkett became interested in politics, campaigning for former Minnesota governor Harold Stassen who ran for president in 1948. He also worked on the senate campaign for Prescott Bush (R-CT), father of President George H. W. Bush and grandfather to President George. W. Bush.

After working in San Antonio for a gas and oil reporter, Burkett joined the DuPont Company’s public relations team in 1954, handling the petroleum chemicals division and training public relations officers at DuPont’s foreign offices.

During his 19 year career with DuPont, Burkett was active in local Republican politics, helping found the Young Republicans of Christiana Hundred group, managing James McKinstry’s unsuccessful 1960 bid for Congress and Insurance Commissioner Bob Short’s 1962 campaign. In 1964, he directed Republican Evelyn Lord’s race for mayor of Wilmington.

In the mid-1970s, Burkett left DuPont to work as chief legislative assistant and advisor for Senator William V. Roth in Washington.

After retirement, Burkett and his wife, Rosanna, moved to San Diego in 1989, where he continued to be active in local Republican politics, campaigning for former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

Burkett died on December 3, 2010. He is survived by his wife and four children.


”BJ ‘Tex’ Burkett.” (accessed January 19, 2018).

”Bernie Joe “Tex” Burkett, “ambassador-at-large” for former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, dies at 86.” December 18, 2010. San Diego Union-Tribune. (accessed January 19, 2018).

”Former Roth aide passes away.” December 18, 2010. Dialogue Delaware. (accessed January 19, 2018).

The Watergate Affair

The Watergate Affair was a series of political and legal scandals from 1972-1974, culminating in the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon on August 9, 1974.

The Watergate Affair began on June 17, 1972, when five burglars were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee office, including James McCord, the head of security for President Nixon’s re-election campaign. During the ensuing investigation, two additional confidants of President Nixon, Howard Hunt, a former CIA officer and G. Gordon Liddy, a former FBI agent who worked for the re-election committee, were identified as co-conspirators in the break-ins.

In early 1973, the trial of the buglers and their co-conspirators began. McCord and Liddy were convicted in January of burglary, conspiracy and violating federal wiretapping laws (the other five defendants pled guilty). The judge in the trial, John J. Sirica, continued grand jury proceedings in order to further explore the growing conspiracy. Also in the spring of 1973, the U. S. Senate voted to establish a special investigative committee to probe alleged abuses in the 1972 presidential campaign, chaired by Senator Samuel J. Ervin, Jr. (D-NC). Testimony to the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Committees in July 1973 revealed that President Nixon secretly recorded all meetings and telephone conversations in the Oval Office.

With the revelation of the recordings, both Senator Ervin’s committee and Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, appointed by President Nixon to investigate the break-ins, subpoenaed the tapes of a number of conversations. By October, Judge Sirica and ordered the President to turn over the tapes, an order upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals. When Cox refused to drop the subpoena, the President ordered Cox to be fired. Both the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General resigned in protest of the order, leaving it to Solicitor General Robert Bork to fire Cox. This event became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” When the President did release the tapes, it was revealed that President Nixon ordered the FBI to tamp down the investigation into the break-ins. This order came on June 23, 1972, only six days after the break-in.

In the spring of 1974, Judge Sirica ordered the President to turn over additional tapes, an order upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on July 24, 1974. This order coincided with the House Judiciary Committee passing three articles of impeachment against the President (the House Judiciary Committee had begun impeachment proceedings in May). On August 8, President Nixon announced his intention to resign at noon on the next day, August 9, 1974.


Franklin, Dan. "Watergate scandal." May 16, 2017. Encyclopædia Britannica. (accessed January 22, 2018).

Perlstein, Rick. "Watergate scandal." October 13, 2017. Encyclopædia Britannica. (accessed January 22, 2018).

Scope and Contents

The Bernie Joe "Tex" Burkett collection related to Watergate include a copy of the articles of impeachment proposed by Rep. Harold Donohue (D-MA), as well as background and briefing materials for Senator William Roth (R-DE), preparing the senator for the possible impeachment trial of President Richard M. Nixon.