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Edwin Meese III

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Edwin Meese III served as the seventy-fifth Attorney General of the United States, 1985-1988, under President Ronald Reagan.

Attorney General Confirmation

During his Senate confirmation hearing to become Ronald Reagan's Attorney General, Edwin Meese faced difficult questions from Democratic Senators. One area of questioning regarded an unsecured loan for $60,000 on which he did not pay any interest on for over 20 months, after it was noted the Washington Post. The loan had come from a trust fund managed by John McKean, who Meese barely knew, but had supported to be a Reagan appointed member of Postal Service board of governors. Another line of questioning regarded Meese's role in the Reagan Administration's decision to back out from their support for the IRS determination to revoke Bob Jones University's tax-exempt status, because of its interracial dating/marriage policies. [1]


"Attorney General Edwin Meese III became directly involved in the Reagan Administration's secret plan to sell weapons to Iran in January 1986, when he was asked for a legal opinion to support the plan. When the secret arms sales became exposed in November 1986, raising questions of legality and prompting congressional and public scrutiny, Meese became the point man for the Reagan Administration's effort, in Meese's words, 'to limit the damage.'" [2]


Edwin Meese III served on the Council for National Policy (CNP) Executive Committee in 1994 and as CNP President in 1996. Meese was "distinguished fellow and holder of the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy, the Heritage Foundation; former Attorney General of the U.S.; Counselor to the President, 1981-1985; former Chief of Staff and Senior Issues Advisor for the Reagan-Bush Committee; former president, Council for National Policy; former professor of law, University of San Diego; former vice president for administration, Rohr Industries.

"As Chairman of the Domestic Policy Council and the National Drug Policy Board, and as a member of the National Security Council, he played a key role in the development and execution of domestic and foreign policy. During the 1970s, Mr. Meese was Director of the Center for Criminal Justice Policy and Management and Professor of Law at the University of San Diego. He earlier served as Chief of Staff for then-Governor Reagan and was a local prosecutor in California.

"Mr. Meese is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute of United States Studies, University of London. He earned his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

"During the Reagan Kitchen Cabinet, Joseph Coors and others from the Heritage Foundation received a letter of endorsement from White House Chief of Staff Ed Meese in which Meese promised Edward J. Feulner, Jr., the president of Heritage, that 'this Administration will cooperate fully with your efforts.' After leaving the Reagan administration, Meese joined the staff of the Heritage Foundation." [3]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch resources


  1. "Fending Off Tough Questions", Time Magazine, March 12, 1984
  2. Final Report of The Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters, Volume I: Investigations and Prosecutions, Lawrence E. Walsh; Independent Counsel, Chapter 31. Edwin Meese III: November 1986
  3. The Council for National Policy: Past/Present Officers & Prominent Member Profiles, Part II ~ H - M, Watch Unto Prayer

External resources



External articles

By Edwin Meese III

  • "The Dangerous Federalization of Crime," Hoover Digest, 1999, No. 3: "Federal crimes used to be limited to matters that truly involved the whole nation, such as treason and counterfeiting. But lately the federal government has been amending its criminal statutes to take over more and more criminal prosecution from the states. Edwin Meese III on an especially pernicious form of federal aggrandizement."
  • "How Reagan Helped to Build the House of Bush," Hoover Digest, 2001 No. 1: "George W. Bush, it seems plausible to argue, wouldn’t have been elected president in 2000 if George H.W. Bush hadn’t been elected president in 1988. And George H.W. Bush wouldn’t have been elected president in 1988 if Ronald Reagan hadn’t invited him to be Reagan’s running mate in 1980. Edwin Meese III describes how Reagan decided to issue that 1980 invitation—starting the Bushes on their way."
  • "At His Side. Remembering Reagan," The Nation, June 23, 2004; appeared in National Review, June 28, 2004.
  • "Partisanship Is Their Principle. Senate Dems on judges — then and now," The Nation, July 16, 2004.
  • "Reagan Revolution Revived?" FullDisclosure, May 26, 2005: "Ed Meese on Tax Limits, Pornography & Mental Health Reforms." Lead-in to purchase streaming video online.

Articles & Commentary