On March 24, long-time Republican adviser and fundraiser Fred Malek died in Virginia. Malek, who was 82, served in many Republican Presidential administrations, including those of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan
Malek was born December 22, 1936 in a small town outside of Chicago. His father was a beer truck driver and his mother was a homemaker. They were both of Slavic descent, with his father having Czech heritage and his mother having Yugoslavian heritage.
After finishing high school, Malek fulfilled an early dream of his by attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated there in 1959, and he served in Vietnam as a member of the Army Special Forces. While on R&R in Hawaii, he became acquainted with Marlene McArthur, and he married her in 1962. Not only does she survive him, but so does a son and a daughter, a brother and a sister, and 5 grandchildren.
In 1964, Malek graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA and afterward worked in private industry as a management consultant.
Years in the Nixon Administration
Malek’s first political job was as a deputy under secretary in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in the Nixon Administration. Many years later, he was instrumental in raising the funds necessary for the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Julie Nixon Eisenhower and Tricia Nixon Cox, who are Nixon’s daughters, issued a statement in response to Malek’s death, saying that he do more than anyone else to help secure their father’s legacy.
But Malek’s time in the Nixon Administration was not without controversy. In the summer of 1971, Malek was the White House personnel chief when Nixon asked him to count the number of Jews working in the labor bureau, suspecting a “Jewish cabal” was out to damage his presidency.
After refusing 4 times to comply with the order, Malek finally agreed to count the number of Jews in the top echelon of the bureau, guessing their ethnicity based on their last names. The letter he sent to the president in regards to this resulted in the demotion of at least two Jewish employees.
In 1988, The Washington Post exposed both the letter and the demotions, and Malek was forced to resign his position as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee. Though he insisted that he never knew about the demotions, this been subsequently challenged. He later committed himself to fighting anti-Semitism.
After leaving his position as the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget in 1975, Malek returned to private industry, where he became a successful executive and adviser. He was also once part owner of the Texas Rangers, along with future president George W. Bush.
But Malek never strayed too far from politics. In 2008, he was the national finance chairman of John McCain’s failed campaign for president. That same year he began working for the Republican Governors Association and was credited for vastly improving fundraising at the organization. His strategies helped raise more than $300 million, which helped elect 84 Republican governors between 2008 and 2018.
Malek also co-founded the American Action Network, which is a conservative action group, and President Trump appointed him chairman of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which is a research group.
Malek will be buried in the cemetery on the grounds of West Point.