As reported here on June 26, 2014, long time NAFUSA member Johnnie Mac Walters died on June 24. NAFUSA arranged for an American flag to be flown over the Department of Justice in Mac’s honor, and NAFUSA member Walt Wilkins (South Carolina 2008-2010), currently the Circuit Solicitor in Greenville, presented the flag to Mac’s four children at a memorial service in Greenville, South Carolina on July 19. Walt reports that the children were very grateful and sincerely appreciated the gift from NAFUSA. Letters to the family were also sent by NAFUSA members Bill Sessions and John Clark.
Clark shared his “refreshed recollections” contained in his letter. He recalled the assistance Walters gave to Sessions and Clark in ensuring that their requests for timely decisions on matters crucial to their 1972 grand jury investigation did not get bogged down in the bureaucracy. Clark’s reference to “George” refers to George Parr, the notorious South Texas political boss under investigation for income tax evasion. The reference to “my book” refers to Clark’s non-fiction book The Fall of the Duke of Duval (Eakin Press, 1995), chronicling the year-long grand jury investigation and the multiple prosecutions that grew out of it.
After re-reading the Times piece and thinking further about the chronology of events, it’s my recollection that Scott Crampton succeeded Johnnie as Ass’t AG – Tax Division in 1971, when Johnnie became IRS Commissioner. We knew Johnnie, of course, as well as Scott. We knew at the outset of our investigation in the Spring of 1972 that we had a tight Statute of Limitations deadline for George’s 1966 tax year ; and when we needed an expedited decision on an immunity grant for Karl Stautz to help us meet that deadline, Scott (at DoJ), and Johnnie (at IRS) helped to accomplish getting the facts reviewed and the decision made promptly. When we needed assurance a little later in 1972 that the mandatory review by IRS Regional Counsel of the proposed indictment wouldn’t get bogged down in needless bureaucratic delays, Johnnie assured us that it wouldn’t, and it didn’t. Johnnie believed in us and in the validity of our investigation, and he was helpful to us in ensuring that key decisions were made after proper review and without unnecessary delay. As you may recall, we were concerned because Regional Counsel reviews and decisions had a reputation among US Attorneys’ offices as needlessly slow, as did immunity requests at DoJ. Our District Director, Bob Phinney, was also concerned about the potential delay we might encounter at Regional Counsel level. I.A. Filer told me that he thought George Stephen (the Chief of Intelligence in Phinney’s office) was the one who selected the team of agents that was assigned to our investigation. We had three Special Agents (I.A. Filer, Jerry Culver, and Charlie Volz) and crack Revenue Agent Ed Watts. As I wrote in my book, I never worked with a more professional or a more capable team of investigators.
At the time of the Parr investigation, Sessions was the United States Attorney for the WD of Texas (1971-1974) and Clark was the First Assistant. Sessions later became a United States District Judge for the WD of Texas and the Director of the FBI. Clark succeeded Sessions as U.S. Attorney (1975-1977) and is currently of counsel with the San Antonio law firm of Goode Casseb Jones Riklin Choate & Watson. He is also a past president of NAFUSA and one of the founders. Sessions is currently a partner at Holland & Knight in Washington.
Clark says, “Johnnie Mac Walters truly believed, as the oft-quoted maxim puts it, that ‘A public office is a public trust.’ I felt privileged to know him.”