Spiro Agnew Biography

Spiro Theodore Agnew (November 9, 1918 – September 17, 1996) was an American politician who served as the 39th Vice President of the United States from 1969 to 1973, serving under President Richard Nixon.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Agnew is the graduate of Johns Hopkins University and University of Baltimore School of Law. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1941, serving as an officer during World War II, and was recalled for service during the Korean War in 1950. He worked as an aide for U.S. Representative James Devereux before he was appointed to the Baltimore County Board of Zoning Appeals in 1957. He lost election for the Baltimore City Circuit Court in 1960, but was later elected Baltimore County Executive in 1962. In 1966 Agnew was elected the 55th Governor of Maryland, defeating Democratic opponent George P. Mahoney. He was the first Greek American to hold the position, serving from 1967 to 1969.

At the 1968 Republican National Convention, Agnew was nominated for Vice President, running alongside presidential nominee, former Vice President Richard Nixon. They defeated incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Senator Edmund Muskie, in the 1968 presidential election. In 1972 Agnew was reelected to his second term as Vice President, defeating Senator George McGovern and Ambassador Sargent Shriver.

During his fifth year as Vice President, late in the summer of 1973, Agnew was under investigation by the United States Attorney's office for the District of Maryland, on charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery, and conspiracy. In October, he was formally charged with having accepted bribes totaling more than $100,000 while holding office as Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland, and Vice President of the United States. On October 10, 1973, Agnew was allowed to plead no contest to a single charge that he had failed to report $29,500 of income received in 1967, with the condition that he resign the office of Vice President. Nixon replaced him by appointing then House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford to the office of Vice President.

Agnew is the only Vice President in United States history to resign because of criminal charges. Ten years after leaving office, in January 1983, Agnew paid the state of Maryland nearly $270,000 as a result of a civil suit that stemmed from the bribery allegations. He is cited as one of the worst Vice Presidents in American history.