Charles Leon Clapp, 83; Scholar, Nixon Assistant 

Wednesday, February 22, 2006; Page B07  Washington Post


Charles Leon Clapp, 83, a special assistant to President Richard Nixon and later a member of the Interstate Commerce and Postal Rate commissions, died Feb. 13 of prostate cancer at the Washington Home hospice. He lived in the District.

Dr. Clapp, a onetime professor of political science, served in the Nixon White House from 1969 to 1974 as a special assistant to the president, working first under counselor Arthur F. Burns and later on the White House domestic council.

He organized and managed 17 presidential task forces on a range of subjects, including aging, science, highway safety, small business, women's issues and pollution. He was a White House liaison with the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Transportation and other agencies.

In 1974, he was appointed to the Interstate Commerce Commission and served until 1981. He was a member of the Postal Rate Commission for 12 years, serving as chief administrative officer, before retiring in 1995.

Ensign Clapp of APA 213 Mountrail

Dr. Clapp was born in Wakefield, Mass., and grew up in Beverly, Mass. He served in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific and was a magna cum laude graduate of Tufts University in Massachusetts. He received a master's degree in political science from Harvard University in the late 1940s and a doctorate in political science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1955.

He taught at Florida State University from 1947 to 1949 and from 1951 to 1952. In 1949, he began graduate work at Berkeley, where he also taught political science courses.

He came to Washington in 1955 on a fellowship to study the inner workings of Capitol Hill. The next year, he joined the staff of a Senate committee investigating lobbying and campaign contributions.

He was on the staff of Rep. Charles E. Chamberlain (R-Mich.) in 1958, then studied politics for three years at the Brookings Institution.

In 1963, he published a book, "The Congressman: His Work as He Sees It," which the New York Times called "a revealing and fascinating report on the problems, frustrations and complaints, the aspirations, achievements and rewards of the legislator as he performs his duties."

Dr. Clapp was a legislative assistant to Sen. Leverett Saltonstall (R-Mass.) from 1962 to 1967 and served as assistant to the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, supervising administrative matters, from 1967 to 1969.

Dr. Clapp considered himself a moderate Republican with friends on both sides of the political aisle and was a former president of the D.C. Political Science Association.

He served on the D.C. Republican Committee for more than 20 years and was a member of his condominium board for 12 years, including eight as president. He had homes on Cape Cod and in Sarasota, Fla.

He never married and had no children. After the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law, he became the guardian of two nephews.

There are no other survivors.


I'm so sorry to here of Ensign Clapp's death. I remember him well as he was not just an officer but a regular guy. After the war he sent out a News letter to us guys for a few years, he kept in touch with quite a few of us. - Glen Ayer

Thanks for forwarding notice of Lee Clapp's passing.  Lee, as we all called him was a boat group officer, and one of the brightest stars on the ship.  He was extremely bright and had a fantastic sense of humor.  One of your photos taken in Tsingtao shows Lee as a young officer.  Earl Dunn - LCM Coxswain - 1944-1946