REMEMBER FRED MALEK?…. I’ve long struggled to understand exactly how certain Republicans manage to not only remain part of polite society, but thrive as key GOP insiders.

Take Fred Malek, for example. Malek is now one of “Washington’s wealthiest Republican power brokers,” despite his role in enforcing “ideological and religious purity” for Nixon, including the disgraced former president’s “crusade against Jews.”

Nixon was concerned about officials at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which he thought was controlled by a Jewish “cabal.” Malek became known as Nixon’s “Jew counter,” responsible for identifying Jewish BLS employees. Recently published materials add new details to Malek’s scandalous role in “reforming” the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The memos suggest that Malek’s role lasted at least from February to December 1971. In a February memo to Chief of Staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, for example, Malek described statistician Harold Goldstein, who he said had mishandled a news briefing, as “a competent civil servant” without partisan bias. But Malek added that “we might be better served if a Republican partisan handled these briefings in the future.”

Haldeman responded with a request in March 1971 that “we take on and completely rearrange” the bureau, to which Malek responded that he had “a general plan of attack” to analyze the attitudes of all key people, including their “loyalties.” […]

On July 26, Malek aide Dan Kingsley sent Malek 13 names that included the people’s age and length of service; he described them as “key” employees without mentioning the word Jewish. But Haldeman asked Malek that day for more information on the “demographic breakdown” of key bureau personnel. […]

Three days later, Kingsley wrote a memo to Haldeman — signed by Malek — describing the 13 as “ethnics,” their euphemism for Jews, and clarifying which of the larger pool of top personnel were “ethnics.” The memo includes the following annotation: “It is interesting that of the top 17 positions, 10 are ethnics.” It was followed by Malek’s typed initials: “FVM.”

Many of the Jews identified by Malek later lost their jobs.

And what’s Malek up to now? Well, he’s on a Virginia budget panel, appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R); he was a campaign finance chair for John McCain’s presidential campaign; he’s an advisor to former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin (R); and he’s been tapped to head up the American Action Network, a Rove-backed campaign operation to direct right-wing campaign funds into electing Republicans.

In 1988, Malek’s scandalous past forced him to resign from the Republican National Committee. Now, apparently, the party is content to make him a major Republican player.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.