Chapin was born in Wichita, Kansas. He got his first experience in California politics in 1958 at the American Legion's Boys State summer program, where he was elected the head of the Tory Party. His counterpart, the Whig Party leader, was Stacy Keach, who went into acting as a career.
Mr. Chapin studied at the University of Southern California, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, graduating in 1963. When Nixon ran for California Governor in 1962, Chapin, then a student at USC, was a paid Field Man (the on-the-ground organizational leaders for election campaigns)and worked with the volunteer organization. After the 1962 campaign while still at USC he was hired by H.R. Haldeman to work at the J. Walter Thompson Company in Los Angeles.
Chapin was part of Nixon's Presidential campaign from 1967 to 1968, serving as the candidate's Personal Aide. Time magazine described him as "young, athletic, religious, handsome, clean-cut, bright, ambitious, and tough."
He was Special Assistant to the President (1969-71) and then Deputy Assistant (1971-73). He was the appointments secretary, responsible for scheduling presidential activities and appointments. In addition, Chapin was in charge of the White House television office. Chapin also oversaw the hiring and supervising of the Presidential advance men, and headed that group in 1969 to prepare for Nixon's trip to the People's Republic of China. In 1973 Chapin was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the year by the United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) for his work on the historic China trip. Even Chinese Premier Chou En-lai was impressed with Chapin's skill at detail work, singling him out publicly in the Beijing meetings: "You are an example of how we should utilize young men in government."
It was during this time Chapin hired Donald Segretti, his former colleague, to disrupt the campaigns of Democratic Presidential hopefuls during the 1972 Presidential primary season through acts of political "sabotage" - known as the "dirty tricks" campaign. Chapin was asked to find a "Dick Tuck" (a legendary Democratic political saboteur) type of prankster to perform the "dirty tricks" to work under H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's Chief of Staff and the President.
Segretti later testified before a grand jury about the activities including Chapin's supervisory role. Chapin denied any detailed knowledge of Segretti or the activities that Segretti undertook during grand jury testimony. Segretti testified,"When Dwight hired me he made it clear he was hiring me because I was a lawyer and would know what was legal and what was not." Chapin was never indicted for any of Segretti's activities. Chapin resigned to work as an executive for United Airlines but was drawn back into the swirl of Watergate legal proceedings.
In 1974 Chapin was found guilty of making "false and or misleading statements" for refusing to offer incriminating evidence and was remanded to the California corrections camp at Lompoc (so-called "Camp Cupcake") from August 1975 to April 1976. Despite the relatively minor repercussions he remained indignant, initially vowing to appeal "all the way to the Supreme Court" [he did appeal to the Supreme Court] in a very hostile political climate. It was later revealed that he was earning $1000 a week while in prison, being on the payroll of W. Clement Stone Enterprises. 
Afterward Chapin reentered the private sector, working at W. Clement Stone Enterprises in Chicago and from 1977-79 published a magazine called Success Unlimited. Chapin then went to work for the International Public Relations firm of Hill & Knowlton in Chicago. Later Chapin had assignments in Geneva, Switzerland; Tokyo, Japan and Hong Kong where he was Managing Director, Asia, for Hill & Knowlton.
In 1986 Chapin started Chapin Enterprises. The firm provided consulting services to many prestigious companies and associations. Chapin remained involved in politics and in 1980 working for Reagan's election and in 1988 had a position in the George H.W. Bush Presidential campaign. He has maintained an active interest in politics.
He is now a business consultant and mentor/coach in East Hampton, New York.
References[edit | edit source]
- "", Political Organization (Field Men),
- "", AEI bemoans loss of Camp Cupcake,
James Robert Jones
|White House Appointments Secretary
Served under: Richard Nixon
Warren S. Rustand