Monday, March 28, 2011

Is Arkansas Governor the Stepping Stone to the Presidency?

Mike Huckabee. A Simple Government. New York: The Penguin Group, 2011.

The author abhors personal attacks. He compliments Bill Clinton for campaigning for all of Huckabee’s opponents without ever personally attacking him.

Huckabee notes the issues are complex, but he believes the solutions are simple. Appling justice, integrity, and freedom to our political governance should guide government towards proper actions.

He seeks more morality, family values, and more intact nuclear families, He notes families that converse and eat meals together have children that get better grades at school and are less likely to use alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.

The author is very concerned that 75% of African American births are out of wedlock. He also notes some states with abortions per pregnancies at 33% in New York, 30% in New Jersey, 24% in Connecticut, 9% in Arkansas, 6% in Utah, and 6% in Mississippi. He is opposed to abortion and favors abstinence education.

Huckabee argues our country was meant to have a Federal government that protets borders and allowed liberty and travel.

The stimulus plan made the Federal government the main source of funds to states and local governments during the first three months of 2009. Programs were created but the Federal government funds are now gone. State and local governments have to choose between ending the programs or paying for them with their own funds.

Union versus nonunion public employees find union public employees with 30% greater salaries and with 70% more benefits costs. Huckabee believes these costs too much,

60% of Federal spending goes to Social Security, health care, and the military, with each being about one fifth of the Federal budget. Safety net programs are 14%, retirement benefits are 7%, interest on debt is 6%, education is 3%, research on science and health 2%, and nondefense foreign aid is 1%.

In 1970, one third of the Federal budget was mandatory spending. Today, about two thirds of it is mandatory spending.

Social Security set the retirement at age 65 when the life span for men was in their late 50s and for women in their early 60s. While it is too late to change benefits, Huckabee argues it is appropriate to ask younger people to expect a higher retirement age and fewer benefits.

Medicare has $38 trillion of unfunded liabilities. Huckabee recommends allowing private insurance to be available instead of going on Medicare and to increase eligibility for Medicare.

Almost half of everyone pays no Federal income taxes. 1% of the top payers of taxes pay as much taxes at the lowest 95% of taxpayers pay.

Huckabee recommends reducing the capital gains tax on investments of five years or more.

The effective corporate tax rate including tax breaks, is 35%. This is the highest tax rate of the 33 countries in the Organization for Economic Opportunity and Development where their average effective tax rate is 19.5%. Huckabee argues decreasing our tax rate will increase international investments.

Huckabee favors a national sales tax that would replace taxes on income, corporate, Social Security, Medicare, capital gains, self employment, estates, and gifts. He also favors a prebate that provides the sales taxes to the poverty level to ensure no one falls below the poverty level.

Huckabee calls for allowing health insurance to be sold in different states.

When Massachusetts adopted a statewide health care policy, health care increased from 16Tof the state’s budget in 1990 to 35% of the state’s budget in 2010. Massachusetts insures a family at an average cost of $20,000 while the private sector costs average $13,000.

The Federal health care plan intends to establish a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparable Effectiveness. Huckabee warns this organization could ration health care.

Huckabee supports charter schools. He supports personalized learning where a student completing an extracurricular activity could get credit for that activity.

Huckabee supports nuclear energy. He believes it is safe.

Huckabee charges that corruption in the Interior Department led them to net oversee oil drilling that led to a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He also faults industry for not having a remote controlled shutoff switch, as Canada requires. There was also a lack of advance planning for such a disaster as there were not enough containment and absorption booms.

A lack of planning and action led to a lack of insulation being placed in structures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 1,000 Americans died plus billions of costs due to fuel hauling accidents caused by this lack of insulation.

Natural gas is seen by Huckabee as providing enough energy to give us time to move towards long term energy self sufficiency. He sees clean coal, where the U.S. has 30% of the world supply, as a future resource/

Huckabee sees immigration as a complex problem. He believes in securing the borders and preventing illegal immigration as a first step.

Huckabee warns that we have weaknesses that terrorists could exploit, such as nuclear power plant cooling systems and cyberattacks.

20% of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post traumatic stress disorder or depression. Veterans services have failed to meet needs.

Huckabee supports a foreign policy that lets enemies know we are able to fight.

Good People Come From Bowling Green, Kentucky

Rand Paul with Jack Hunter. The Tea Party Goes to Washington. Nashville: Center Street, 2011.

Rand Paul, elected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky in 2010, attributes his victory to voter discontent over government. He believes the voters want changes to the Federal government status quo. He campaigned against Federal government spending which has created a $13 trillion debt. Paul criticizes spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and opposed the Federal health care plan.

The authors believe the role of government is “to protect our liberties” and not to provide economic protections. He sees the Tea Party movement as a protest against the taxes supporting government programs. There is no formal Tea Party structure, but the term symbolizes disenchanted voters.

Rand Paul’s father Ron was one of just four members of Congress to support Ronald Reagan for President in 1976. Rand Paul notes that while President Reagan increased military spending due to the Cold War threat that this need for high military spending no longer exists. He also questions why military spending is greater now than during the Cold War.

President George W. Bush spent more money than most other Presidents. The authors believe Republicans should not be afraid to criticize other Republicans, especially when they are “big government conservatives”.

Senator Jim Bunning supported “pay as you go”, a rule the Senate had adopted. He voted against legislation for unemployment compensation benefits because he felt it violated this rule. Bunning’s fellow Kentucky Senator, Mitch McConnell, did not like Bunning’s philosophy and wanted Bunning out of the Senate. Bunning could not raise enough money to run for reelection and he chose not to run. Paul defended Bunning and ran for the seat. Dick Cheney and Rick Santorum endorsed his opponent, Trey Grayson. Sarah Palin, Sen. Jim DeMint, and Bunning endorsed Paul.

Paul met with Mitch McConnell and assured him that he would not critical but would be complimentary towards McConnnell. McConnell stated he would stay out of the primary.

Paul believes the government has taken away too many property rights. He opposes the Supreme Court decision allowing the government to use eminent domain to increase revenues to government.

The authors argue there is nothing in the Constitution to require people to purchase health care or to have education decided by the federal Education Department. They note increased spending on education has not improved students’ test scores.

The Federal government has at least 263 organizations spending at least $75 billion annually on terrorism issues. The Homeland Security Department will become the third largest Federal Department behind Defense and Veterans Affairs. 30,000 people monitor phone calls. Yet none of this prevented the Fort Hood shootings or the underwear bomber attempt.

The arms industry is enormous, the authors note the Defense Department is our largest employer with 1.4 million on its payroll.

The authors argue there are similarities between Trotskyism and neo-conservatism in that both seek to export social democracy to other countries through military means.

The wisdom of occupying a country is questioned. It does not stop terrorist groups and it may even encourage terrorism. Islamic ideology has not changed over decades. What has changed is that American military occupation makes us a target.

There are 1,000 American soldiers per al Qaeda fighter. Yet the military is not effective in fighting al Qaeda. The U.S. builds schools and then bribes the Taliban not to blow them up. The Taliban then use this money on arms against the U.S. military.

As President Jefferson did in fighting the Barbary pirates, it might make more sense, according to the authors, to hire contractors to deal with terrorists rather than attempting to fight them with a conventional war.

Rand Paul is worried that government intervention is disrupting the economy. He notes with alarm there are few controls over Federal Reserve Bank actions. He believes more free market systems in health care would lower costs.

The authors note the dollar’s value had declined 96% since 1913, when it was backed by gold. It is now backed by borrowing.

Rand Paul seeks to balance the budget, require legislation to be printed with time for members of Congress to read it, and that the Federal Reserve Bank should be audited.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Back When Republicans Won World Wars Before Becoming President

David Eisenhower with Julie Nixon Eisenhower. Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of My Life with David D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969. New York: Simon & Schuster. 2010.

Immediately upon ending his term as President, Dwight Eisenhower went to live on a farm he purchased in 1950 in Gettysburg, Pa. People gathered along the published route to see and greet his car as he passed by.

In Eisenhower’s last Presidential address, he observed that the U.S. had experienced eight years of peace and the economy was sound. He warned that the “military industrial” complex could upset domestic policies. Khruschev’s call for “wars of national liberation” drew international attention. President-elect Kennedy was fearful about the nation’s standing and declared the U.S. should “be as a city upon a hill---the eyes of all people are upon us”. In his inaugural speech, Kennedy declared “let us begin anew”, words that many Eisenhower supporters did not like.

Eisenhower believed Nixon should have used Eisenhower more in the 1960 Presidential campaign. It was felt the election was partially a referendum of the Eisenhower Administration.

Eisenhower pledged to back Kennedy’s foreign policies, so long as they did not include recognizing Red China. He also wanted Dulles International Airport to continue being named after Dulles and he wanted his rank as a Five Star General reinstated.

Kennedy’s aides realized that the Five Star rank would give Eisenhower more distance from the White House. Kennedy approved the request and Congress granted it.

Kennedy turned more to fellow Democrat Truman than to Republican Eisenhower for guidance. This was even though Truman considered Kennedy a “spoiled young man”. Truman had discussed supporting Eisenhower for President if he ran as a Democrat in 1948 and Truman would have been his running mate. The friendship between Truman and Eisenhower dissolved when Eisenhower chose to run for President as a Republican in 1952.

Eisenhower had planned a CIA led invasion of Cuba from Trinidad by Cuban exiles trained in Guatemala. Kennedy was hesitant as he knew world opinion disapproved of colonialism by national superpowers. Kennedy attempted to distance the U.S. from the invasion and delayed the invasion date. The invasion location was moved from a daytime invasion from Trinidad to a more difficult nighttime invasion at the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy called off a bombing support in fear the Soviet Union could retaliate in Berlin. The hope was the invasion would create an uprising of popular support for a new government. Castro defeated the invaders within two days. Eisenhower was upset because he believed more support should have been given to assure the invasion worked. Eisenhower strongly believed in proper planning and organization and he believed Kennedy was reacting upon too much conflicting advice rather than creating a set plan of action.

Kennedy wondered why Eisenhower spent so much of his Presidency playing gold and with whom he golfed. Kennedy stated “I could understand if he played golf all the time with old Army friends…All his golfing pals are rich men he has met since 1945.”

Several Republican leaders suggested forming a “shadow government” led by Eisenhower. It was decided it should appeal more to younger, more conservative voters. It was decided Eisenhower should “remain above the battle”.

Nixon wanted to run for President and was debating running for Governor of California in 1962. Eisenhower encouraged him to run, noting Nelson Rockefeller had a platform as New York Governor that provided him public attention. Also, Eisenhower thought Nixon was the strongest candidate to win California for the Republicans.

Eisenhower stood by his criticism of the “military industrial complex”. He spoke how the overproducing of missiles was too costly financially. He feared it was giving the U.S. a negative worldwide image. He warned of public policy succumbing to “a scientific-technological elite”.

Eisenhower criticized Kennedy’s “grab for power” that increased spending and centralized government. Kennedy went to Harrisburg, 35 miles away from Gettysburg to make his strongest attack on the Eisenhower Administration. This attack in his backyard drove Eisenhower to go on the campaign trail. Eisenhower sent a message to Kennedy of “one more attack like that in Harrisburg and my position of bipartisan support in foreign policy will draw to a permanent end.” Kennedy did not attack Eisenhower on foreign policy ever again.

Kennedy pursued a less confrontational policy towards the Soviet Union and obtained an agreement to stop atmosphere nuclear weapons test.

Eisenhower was upset when ABC News anchor Howard K. Smith had a special entitled “The Political Obituary of Richard Nixon”. Eisenhower asked ABC News to discharge Smith. Smith went on permanent assignment as a reporter. Smith returned as an ABC news anchor a few years later.

The Pennsylvania legislature, Governor, and Supreme Court gathered in Gettysburg for the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Governor William Scranton noted “the tyranny of prejudice is doomed because the American people, in their common sense, realize it is wrong”. Eisenhower spoke, noting “Lincoln’s faith on the Gettysburg battle would one day result in a peaceful union has been justified, but the unfinished work of which he spoke in 1863 is still unfinished.”

After Kennedy was assassinated, President Lyndon Johnson asked Eisenhower to meet him. They spoke three times shortly afterwards. Eisenhower and Truman met and put past their previous disagreements. The two, though, would not speak to each other again.

Eisenhower disliked Barry Goldwater. Goldwater had called the Eisenhower Administration “a dime store New Deal”. Goldwater had inherited the conservation wing of the Republican Party from anti-Eisenhower Robert Taft supporters. Eisenhower and moderate Republicans could not determine a strategy while Goldwater’s campaign advanced. Eisenhower felt Goldwater did not have a basic grasp of Presidential powers, especially when Goldwater spoke of ending relations with the Soviet Union yet claiming he as President would not have the ability to do it. Eisenhower doubted Goldwater’s grasp of Presidential authority.

Eisenhower supported the United Nations and civil rights, which Goldwater fought. Ts helped boost Nelson Rockefeller’s candidacy, as Rockefeller agreed with Eisenhower on these issues. Rockefeller’s divorce and remarriage to a younger wife hurt Rockefeller as Goldwater campaigned on morality. Rockefeller’s wife gave birth just before the “winner take all Delegates” California Primary, which allowed the morality issue to reemerge and Goldwater won the California Primary by a narrow 68,000 votes. Rockefeller withdrew from the race.

Goldwater was 150 Delegates short of the nomination. Dwight Eisenhower’s brother Milton recommended Bill Scranton for President. Dwight agreed and he called to meet with Scranton. There is disagreement as to what happened at the meeting. Scranton believes he had Eisenhower’s support for President. Eisenhower believes he only wanted Scranton to announce he was available to run for President. Scranton appeared on television and Eisenhower was unimpressed with what he saw. Eisenhower called Scranton to state he would not be part of any “stop Goldwater” movement. Dwight Eisenhower did approve of his brother Milton being a Delegate from Maryland for Scranton.

Goldwater secured the nomination. Eisenhower called Goldwater and recommended Goldwater pick Scranton as his running mate. Eisenhower didn’t know Goldwater had already decided upon Republican National Chairman, Rep. Bill Miller.

Goldwater met with Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and governors Scranton, Rockefeller, and George Romney of Michigan. They all met in Harrisburg. Eisenhower and others tried to convince Goldwater to explain and moderate his views on extremism. Goldwater announced he refused to make any “concessions”. Eisenhower privately stated he thought Goldwater was “just plain dumb”.

Milton Eisenhower felt going to war in Vietnam would be a “colossal mistake”. Dwight Eisenhower felt the U.S. should not enter the war by itself. Eisenhower advised Johnson to win the war, He opposed the “graduated response” that was the policy, arguing instead for a “quick and overwhelming” response. Eisenhower also called for a wider warin, including invading Cambodia.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More on When Michigan Republicans Didn't Play Nice

Bruce A. Rubenstein and Lawrence Ziewacz. Payoffs in the Cloakroom: The Greening of the Michigan Legislature, 1936-1946. East Lansing, Mi.: Michigan State University Press, 1995.

In the 1920s, many Michigan state legislatures were known to pad their $3 a day salary with bribes. Governor Fred Green called them “one of the finest legislatures that money can buy”. The Depression only increased t he desire of legislators to find money through any means.

A scandal emerged in 1939 when Janet MacDonald killed her daughter and herself. She left behind notes detailing numerous bribes she had given. The local Prosecutor declined to investigate. Detroit City Council passed a resolution to create a grand jury. A grand jury indicted 25, including the local Prosecutor, the Police Commissioner, and the County Sheriff for bribery and protection criminal activities.

The push for reform moved towards investigating legislators and lobbyists. There was a focus on legislator s accepting money in return for disallowing more chain banks. A legislator, Sen. William Stenson, stated an unknown man put money and a note in his overcoat instructing him how to vote on the bill. State Treasurer D. Hale Brake then claimed a “barrel of money” had influenced the legislature. The Attorney General had resisted investigating yet then decided to form a grand jury.

The Michigan National Bank President, a branch bank, was an ally of Michigan Republican boss Frank McKay.

A lobbyist claimed that Rep. William Green demanded $600 for a vote. Other legislators were reportedly similarly named by a lobbyist and seeking funds for their votes. Rep. Warren Hooper claimed the Executive Secretary of the state Medical Society tried to bribe him to kill a bill.

Rep. Stanley Dombrowski stated a lobbyist, Charles Hemens, offered him $350 regarding the chain banking bill with $150 upfront and $200 after the vote. He claimed he was threatened after testifying before the grand jury. Dombrowski changed his story, claiming it was another legislator who offered him the money and not Hemens. Dombrowski was found guilty of perjury.

The Attorney General, a former State Senator, hired Jay Linsey as the Chief Grand Jury Prosecutor. Critics claimed that Linsey, who was associated with McKay, would be biased in steering the grand jury away from McKay and other McKay Republicans.

The Grand Juror, Judge Leland Carr, responded to Linsey’s addition by selecting an additional prosecutor, Kim Sigler. Carr let Sigler know that Carr distrusted Linseys connections to McKay. Sigler conclude that indicting McKay was the main goal of the grand jury process.

McKay helped elect Fred Green as Governor in 1926. McKay began using his influence to dominate state Republican conventions along with Republican leaders Edward Barnard, a Detroit lader, and William McKeighan, a Flint leader. McKay alleged convinced Governor Frank Fitzgerald to allow illegal gambling operations to occur by steering the State Police away from investigating them. McKay is also believed to have illegally extorted state contracts for his surety bond companies. McKay also owned the General Tire Company, which had the contract for all state vehicles. The State Treasurer even purchased and stored the company’s flawed tires.

Three grand juries in the early 1940s looked into McKay. One was for allegedly accepting bribes to influence which products were sold in state liquor stores. Another was to look into alleged fraud involved municipal bond bids. A third looked into whether McKay extorted money from Edsel Ford, President of Ford Motor. No indictments emerged. NcKay claimed the grand juries was biased by U.S. Attorney General Frank Murphy, who had lost a race for Governor to a McKay candidate.

The Attorney General stated that prosecutions made by any grand jury would be tried by his office. Carr objected, stating he believed Sigler should prosecute the cases from his grand jury. The Attorney General eventually yielded and let Sigler prosecute/

A leak from the grand jury, most likely from Sigler, indicated that half the legislators brought before the grand jury stated they took bribes.

In 1944, Judge Carr issued arrest warrants on 20 members of the 1939 legislative session along with six executives of finance company for the largest bribe scheme in Michigan politics. Over $25,000 was reportedly used to influence auto loan legislation. Ernest Prew, General Finance Corporation’s Vice President, admitted his guilt.

Some legislators debated cutting funds to the grand jury. One of the legislators indicted, 77 year old Miles Callaghan, defending the funding. His speech helped win approval for the funds. Callaghan later pled guilty and became a grand jury informant.

National radio newscaster Walter Winchell informed the public that the Grand Jury was using Charles Spare as a special investigator. Spare, a former Ku Klux Klan member, had a history of defaming others. Legislators threatened to cut the Grand Jury’s funds because of Spare. State Sen. Charles Diggs, Michigan’s only African American legislator at that time, was upset over being judged by an investigator with a history of bigotry. Spare was dismissed yet later was hired back by Sigler under the name “Mary Duke”. When Sigler left his position, all references to Spare were deleted.

In the trials, Sigler stated in his opening he would prove “the use of money, liquor, beautiful women, and lavish entertainment to sway the votes of pliant legislators to the will of selfish special interests”. Ralph Smith, President of Community Finance Company, admitted a legislative committee was created “for buying votes”. Senator Callaghan testified the bribery took place.

Charles Hemans, a lobbyist, was given immunity in return for his testimony. Hemans spent $15,500 of the Grand Jury’s funds. Sigler hid this as state law prevented payments to testifiers. Hemans testified he bribed legislators at sums ranging from $100 to $300, plus giving alcohol to those who drank.

Sigler made further indictments of more alleged bribed involving intangible tax legislation. Many had already been indicted and two additional lobbyists were placed under indictment. Former Lt. Gov. Frank Murphy was then indicted along with others for bribery involving liquor license legislation Murphy admitted his guilt.

The trials diminished McKay’s influence. He was defeated for reelection to the Republican National Committee. McKay allies lost their statewide positions.

Hemans testified that lobbyists were known as the “third house” of the legislature. Most of the indicted legislators denied receiving bribes. Defense attorneys attacked Hemans’ credibility. One attorney noted that all but one of the indicted legislators were Democrats, that Republican were the majority legislative party in the legislature and thus had the real power to influence legislation, and that none of those indicted were on important legislative committees. Thus, it would make little strategic sense to bribe those with the least influence. The jury found all the legislators and all but tow of the other defendants guilty.

The authors conclude that Siglar “was not the courageous white knight who appeared in public, but rather a self-serving, self-promoting schemer”. Sigler sought to indict and convict McKay in hopes of furthering his career.

State Sen. Warren Hooper had refused to testify against others. Hooper was a McKay ally. Sigler questioned Hooper until Hooper collapsed. Eventually, Hooper admitted that McKay offered him money to keep legislation on horse racing from coming out of his legislative committee. McKay would pay $1,000 to each committee member. Hooper testified to receiving $500 from McKay. He further admitted to receiving money from McKay on banking chain legislation. McKay and others were then arrested, including Floyd Fitzsimmons, a fight promoter. Sigler then charged Fitzsimmons with bribing Rep. Gail Handy on horse racing legislation. Sigler was calculating that it would be easier to try McKay if the jury knew that one of McKay’s co-defendants, Fitzsimmons, had already been convicted.

Fitzsimmon had previously convinced Rep. William Green to hire Sigler as his attorney to defend Green on graft allegations. Sigler violated lawyer – client confidentiality by using when Green told him when Sigler later became a Grand Jury Prosecutor.

Frank McKay and another, according to later testimony, paid $25,000 to have Hooper murdered by several members of the Purple Gang. Hooper was shot to death.

Fitzsimmons was convicted. Sigler then charged four former legislators and three others with conspiracy over dentistry legislation influence, For unknown reasons, a trial date was never set.

Five legislators were charged with accepting bribes on naturopathic medicine legislation. There additional current or past legislators were subsequently indicted.

Several witnesses died. Sen. Earl Munshaw died while his car engine was running in a closed garage. His death was ruled accidental. A witness died when his car was struck by a train, leaving people wondering why he didn’t exit his care beforehand. Former Lt. Gov. Murphy died of heart problems at age 46 before his trial began. Sen. Callaghan died of a stroke.

A lobbyists with immunity testified giving bribes ranging from $250 to $500. He gave smaller bribes to Rep. Francis Nowak who asked to be included. The jury found some guilty and some not guilty. In a second related trial, testimony claimed $1,200 was given to six legislators. All were convicted.

Rep. Jerry Logie and Rep. Charles Diggs were charged with taking bribes on pari-mutual betting legislation. Logie received $800 and Diggs received $150. Former State Sen. Chester Howell testified he made the bribes. Logie and Diggs were convicted.

Four Purple Gang members were charged with Hooper’s murder. Charles Leither, one of the Purple Gang members convicted of killing Hooper, agreed to testify against McKay. Before McKay’s trial, Justice Howard Wiest died. Judge Carr was named to the vacancy. Carr thus was no longer the Grand Juror. The new Grand Juror, Judge Louis Coash, was not the ally to Sigler and Carr had been.

Prior to the McKay trial, a County Prosecutor alleged that McKay’s private investigators tampered with the jury. Several jurors recalled to receiving threats. The trial was moved to another location.

Sigler accused McKay of controlled the Liquor Commission, including its hirings and its businesses, in an unlawful conspiracy that benefitted McKay’s clients. Hiram Walker hired McKay to get more of its product line into Michigan state liquor stores. Others similarly testified to giving money to get their products shelved. George Ackes, who led the Liquor Commission’s Statistical Department, testified there was 96% to 98% perfect distribution, which was evidence than no distiller was given favoritism or discriminated against.

McKay’s lawyer argued that it was legal for McKay to have clients and that receiving a commission was legal. There was no bribery, the lawyer argued. The Judge agreed and he gave a directed verdict of not guilty to all defendants. All 12 jurors agreed.

Pro-McKay State Senators successfully passed a resolution to investigate the $400,000 of funds given to the Special Prosecutor Sigler. Sigler told the press the legislature was still under investigation, thus giving the press the idea that the Senate investigation could be part of a cover-up.

The Senate investigation uncovered the $16,000 paid to Charles Hemans, including entertainment and liquor for him. Payments under law was capped at $3 a day. Sigler defended the payments claiming he needed the cooperation of Hemans.

Sigler feared Judge Coash would dismiss him. Sigler gambled by alleging Coash was allied with politicians opposing the Grand Jury Coash dismissed Sigler. 15 newspapers editorialized for Sigler to be brought back. A few newspapers agreed with the dismissal.

Sigler than announced he was running for Governor. Sigler campaign upon his success as a Prosecutor. A week before the primary, an allied Sigler Prosecutor made an indictment that helped publicize Sigler’s efforts. Sigler won the Republican Primary. He went on to be elected.

The Grand Jury next indicted 17 current and former legislators regarding a banking bill. Rep. Raymond Snow pled guilty. Snow stated he turned down bribes but took one because it was hard to live on his $3 a day legislative salary. He also claimed he although he took the money he didn’t vote on the bill. Charles Hemans then announced he would not testify on this case. Hemans sated he had “faith” in Carr and Sigler but not in Coash and the new Prosecutor, Dick Foster. Three imprisoned former legislators were given immunity, They testified about the bribes. Hemans refused to testify. Without the testimony of Hemans, the Judge quashed all the indictments.

Sigler was defeated for reelection by G, Mennen Williams. Coash dismissed charges against 15 people whose trials never began. The total cost to taxpayers for the investigations was $495,189.

In 1957, Coash had all the Grand Jury records destroyed Foster was upset to learn this, citing law requiring the County Clerk to keep the records.

Back When Michigan Republicans Played for Keeps

Bruce A. Rubenstein and Lawrence E. Ziewacz. Three Bullets Sealed His Lips. Lansing, Mi.: Michigan State University, 1987.

In 1943, a grand jury investigation into Michigan state government corruption resulted in 130 arrests and 60 convictions, including the Lt. Governor, 12 State Senators, and 11 State Representatives. It was discovered that legislative votes were open to sale from lobbyists and special interests.

Attorney General Herbert Ruston, a former State Senator, had refused to create a grand jury even when the Detroit Citizen’s League provided evidence of corruption. State Rep. William Stenson publicly declared that someone unknown to him put $1,350 and a note on how to vote on legislature concerning banks into his coat pocket. The Attorney General then felt obligated to create a grand jury. Judge Leland Carr was a one person grand juror.

The press attacked Republican State Party leader Frank McKay. He has been State Treasurer until resigning during a previous grand jury. McKay, though, was a political king maker who chose nominees for Governor and state offices. The press believed McKay and his political associates allowed illegal gambling operations to exist in Michigan. Futher, the press discovered McKay obtained state contacts for his own company. Three grand juries looked into charges McKay engaged in various influence peddling schemes. McKay was acquitted.

Judge Carr discovered over half of legislators brought before him stated they took bribes. Over a third of the entire legislature was eventually indicted.

At first, 20 legislators (some no longer in office) and six finance company employees were indicted on $25,000 in bribes on automobile financing legislation. The employees pled guilty are received immunity. Sen. Miles Callaghan became an informant.

The legislature considered holding up $150,000 in funds for the grand jury. Some legislators were concerned that the grand jury’s investigator Charles Spare was a Klansman who previously incited wartime factory strikes among white workers. Spare was released from the investigation yet was later secretly hired under the name “Mary Duke”.

The law did not allow for paying witnesses more than $2 a day plus meals. Yet a key lobbyist who turned witness, Charles Hemans, was provided funds and expenses that included prostitutes and replacing a mattress. Hemans then refused to testify against friends. He served 1 ½ years for unlawfully fleeing Michigan het he received a high salary from a bank that he had refused to testify against.

Sen. Warren Hooper admitted to the grand jury he received a salary from McKay in return for keeping a horse racing bill from moving out of his committee. Hooper also told of McKay bribing other legislators. Hooper was promised immunity for agreeing to testify against McKay.

Senator Hooper was shot to death. The legislature quickly acted to approve funding the grand jury.

Muri Aton, a local prosecutor, found a witness who indicated there could have been a woman with a man in the vicinity of Hooper’s murder. Kim Sigler, who was prosecuting the grand jury, and Aton kept their silence on this information. When Sigler was nominated for Governor, the little known Aton was picked to run for, and was elected, Auditor General. Sigler had decided to use the murder investigation to further his career and he wanted to bring down McKay to do so.

Rumors emerged that Hooper had affairs. The State Police found suspicion that Hooper had been threatened to be killed by Harry Rosenberg, a mobster in a group known as the Purple Gang because Hooper supposedly had an affair with Rosenberg’s wife. Sigler considered this a possible tie to McKay since McKay’s bodyguard Charles Leiter had belonged to the Purple Gang.

Sigler, before becoming grand jury prosecutor, was an attorney for Rep. Bill Green, who was under indictment. Green had explained to Sigler a lot about legislative graft. Green was upset when Sigler left as his attorney and used what Green had told Sigler before the grand jury.

Sam Abramowitz, a Purple Gang associate, was found, through questioning as confirmed by a polygraph test, to have been involved in the Hooper murder along with Henry Luks. Luks failed the polygraph when denying his involvement.

Sigler speculated that McKay had ordered and financed Hooper’s murder. Meanwhile, the grand juror Judge Carr charged McKay, Charles Leiter, and other Purple Gang members for liquor law violations. Abramowitz and Luks testified against some associated who were convicted of conspiracy to commit murder.

Sen. Ivan Johnson criticized Sigler’s spending, especially funds spent on Charles Hemans. The current Grand Juror, Judge Louis Coash (who had replaced Carr when he was made a Supreme Court Justice) dismissed Sigler. Sigler, realizing his career faced oblivion, attacked Coash and claimed he sought only to punish criminals. A week later, Signer announced he was running for Governor. A week before the primary, a Sigler ally indicted Sen. Johnston for bribery. This created a boost for Sigler’s campaign and helped him win the primary. Sigler was later elected Governor.

State Police Commissioner Donald Leonard investigated the Hooper murder. He took all the records when he resigned of Commissioner in 1952. McKay supported Leonard in his unsuccessful campaign for Governor.

In 1985, grand jury files was discovered. Sigler had brought Hooper to testify in front of McKay. Hooper testified McKay gave him a $500 bribe.
The Purple Gang was offered $25,000 to kill Hooper if it was done before Hooper next testified. McKay was presented, as a sign of good faith that the money would be paid. Abramowitz tried to blackmail Governor Sigler, claiming Sigler knew his testimony was false. Abramowitz vanished and was never seen again.

KcKay lead a successful campaign to defeat Sigler’s reelection as Governor in 1948.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Education New York Style

Diane Ravitch. The Great School Wars: A History of the New York City Public Schools. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000 (originally published in 1974).

In the beginning of the 20th century, the school reform movement sought and brought the centralization of the New York public school system. A decentralized system of schools was seen as being ripe for corruption.

The author sees a common school system paid for by public taxes as an important creation. She notes that have been and will be conflicts, such as over community control of their schools as was demanded by many Catholics in the 1840s versus the Public School Society, which was controlled by Protestants, and by many African Americans in the 1960s. Some issues, such as church versus state, centralization versus decentralization, and how to best educate low income students have been long term issues that continue to the present. It is important to remember, as many social issues revolve around education policies, that the main objective has to be learning.

Public schools have never in their history education virtually every student. That is their mandate, but there appears to be little reason to see how they will accomplish this. Schools have always faced problems imposed by parents with low incomes and by crime. Additional problems have arisen in recent decades with drugs and increased percentages of broken family units. In 1995, 90% of New York high school students were in a school with over 900 students. These problems are enlarging at times when there are fewer job opportunities for unskilled labor, making a good education more of a necessity.

The centralized versus decentralized issue includes who should decide where a student attends school. A belief that a parent should choose the school means one rejects the idea that this is the right of a central bureaucracy to so decide. Some support allowing waivers for students to attend charter schools. In addition, a parent has an option to go the private sector to purchase a private school education if the parent has or can arrange for the ability to afford it.

The battle between the Roman Catholic Church and the Public School Society in the 1840s led to nonsectarian but secular public schools that allowed nondenominational (but mostly Protestant in appearance) Bible study and prayer.

In many school battles, the disagreements often occurred from new arrivals to a community who believed that present values in schools conflicted with their values. Battles were often over such issues as who controls school governance, decentralization versus centralization, and the issue of providing education to children of the poor, all of which issues continue to today,

In 1997, New York public students were 37% Hispanic, 36% African American, 15% white, and 11% Asian American. In 1970, these percentages were 25% Hispanic, 38% white, and 1.5% Asian American.

The rise in Hispanic and Asian students produced a new element to the traditional battles between newcomers and established elite. This time, the newcomers did not have common concerns, as happened more in the past. Asian students tended to do well and wanted schools to advance their social mobility. Hispanic students tended not to do well and were concerned about preventing dropouts. They sought bilingual education.

A 1969 law had the Board of Education being consisted of one appointee of each of the five Borough Presidents and two members appointed by the Mayor. The board appointed a Chancellor to administer the school system. There were also over 30 elected community school boards yet they had little powers as hires and contracts were centralized with the Chancellor. There were relatively few community level decisions. The decentralized boards had problems with corruption. Voter turnout in those elections decreased. Nepotism increased. The teachers union and other interest groups organized and won control of some Boards.

In 2000, the four year high school graduation rates were 70% for whites, 66% for Asian Americans, 42% for African Americans, and 38% for Hispanics. The seven year graduation rate for all was 60%.

Chancellor Frank Macchiarola instituted promotional grades at grades 4 and 8 where a student who was a grade level behind in reading or two years behind in Math was held back. He issued citywide curriculum guides. He resigned in 1983 and his promotional policy was abandoned. Students moved from grade to grade regardless if they mastered the subject.

Charter schools receive public funds and meet certain standards but operate without local school board influence. They offer unique classroom options that attract students. Teachers have more lax standards as long as academic standards are reached.

In the 1990s Chancellor Rudolph Crew approved charter schools, froze principal salaries for four years, and gained the power to fire them while insisting they give up their right to tenure. Many principals and other supervisors left for other districts and many vacancies resulted as few then applied for their positions.

The author observes each school system reorganization came about after a major battle that emerged during a new wave of immigration.

New York education in the 17th century was offered by churches to their members. Some hired tutors. Some private pay schools emerged. The first school that was not religion based was a school for African American children which opened in 1787 by the Manumission Society.

New England states formed schools supported by public taxes in the late 18th century. There were strong Calvinist drives in New England for public education. New York embraced this concept a few decades later.

In 1795, the New York legislature allocated $50,000 a year for five years in matching funds for local governments to create schools. 1,000 schools with almost 60,000 students emerged. In 1805, the New York state government created a permanent school fund that began awarding funds that began collecting enough money for the schools in 1815.

New York city used these 1795 funds for eleven existing schools (ten church schools and one African Free School). No new schools were created. It was decided it would cost too much to create a citywide school system. 52% of the city’s children attended a school at some time during 1795-96.

Religious groups supported education so men could read the Bible. Religion seen as a means to save souls and reading was therefore considered important.

Te Manumission Society and the Family Society, which was mostly Quaker, advocated and created nonsectarian public education. This upset Catholic clergy who wanted Catholic sectarian public education. There was a large immigration of Catholics, mostly Irish, in the 1820s and 1830s.

The Manumission Society persuaded New York to create public education and gained business support for taxes to support education. There were two education tracks, one for the poor and another for the wealthier. With the growing number of poor being Catholic, large numbers of the poor students were not being served. The Society’s first school opened in 1809 of a cost of $13,000 to build. It included educating 150 girls in a separate classroom as the Female Association’s School.

Bethel Baptist Church began a school for poor children of all faiths in 1820 and began receiving public funds in 1921. The Bethel Baptist Church paid lower teacher salaries and over-reported expenses. This allowed it enough funds to have three free admission schools. The Free School Society sought to have funds also provided to their schools. The Society argued public funds should not support a church’s operations.

The public support for universal education grew in the 1820s and 1830s. Governor William Seward in 1838 supported universal public education.

Some Catholics attacked public schools over reading the King James version of the Bible. Some claimed the textbooks attacked Catholicism. The Public School Society thought the textbooks were the primary school. Textbooks that offended Catholics were removed. Much of the Catholic opposition to public schools remained. In fact, many of the Catholic priests sought to destroy funding for public schools.

In 1841, the Board of Aldermen voted 15-1 that the Catholic schools failed to meet standards to receive public funding. Governor Seward expressed disappointment that New York City was failing to educate Catholic children. Catholics brought their cause before the state legislature. Seward wanted any kind of universal education, either secular or sectarian. The issue was postponed by a Senate committee by a 11-10 vote.

60% of New York City students were in school versus 96% of New York students in the rest of the state.
Catholic organizers proved to Tammany Hall Democrats that they needed Catholic votes to win. Most Democrats then opposed funding the Catholic schools.

An amendment banning teaching any religious doctrine or tenant in any New York City Schools passed the legislature 65-16. Catholic Bishop John Hughes supported this bill. While it was not what Catholic educators wanted, many Catholics were glad that this bill defunded the Public School Society. The State Senate approved the bill and Governor Seward signed it.

A Catholic ticket in the upcoming elections then withdrew and endorsed the Democratic ticket. On election day, rioting in the streets resulted. A group of angry people stoned Bishop Hughes’ residence. The militia was sent to protect St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Mayor Robert Morris was reelected while Whigs won control of Common Council by 9 to 8.

The Board of Education decided Bible reading without teacher commentary was not sectarianism. Many Catholics were upset schools used Protestant Bibles.

In the first central Board of Education, each of the 17 wards operated the schools within their ward. Local school boards chose the courses, books, and made its’ own contracts for supplies. The full Board of Education paid the bills. The Board was composed of two elected Commissioners, five trustees, and two inspectors from each ward.

The Public School Society gave up competing with ward schools and it stopped functioning in 1853.

Financial limits of cost construction costs were removed. This resulted in large construction cost increases.

The Superintendent certified prospective teachers. Local School Board chose who to hire. A main entryway into employment was knowing a trustee. Teachers as young as 16 were hired. It was discovered some positions were sold. An 1864 scandal found one ward’s trustees and some principals extorted money from teachers and contractors. These problems caused the legislature to change the school system into several districts with each distract electing a School Commissioner with a three year terms and a central School Board with 21 members. Ward politics, though, continued to have a dominating influence on school practices.

Tammany Hall Democrats took over the School Board and its contract awarding abilities. Home rule was passed for New York City. The Tammany Hall Democrats grabbed political and financial control of much of city government.

The School Board members awarded contracts to politically connected firms. It was never shown the Board members enriched themselves. School expenses rose rapidly ever as student attendance fell.

The Superintendent or assistants in the 1850s through 1890s visited every classroom at least once annually to exam the students. The scores from the exams were used by local Trustees for promotions or lowering salaries. Teachers were not provided their scores so they did not know how their students were doing in each subject.

Female teachers were paid half what males earned. A female teacher was discharged upon marring until courts ruled this invalid in 1904.

Psychologists helped bring an education reform movement that sought to mold character as part of education. It was hoped this would get poor students to ultimately overcome poverty.

School budgets were often insufficient for their expenses in the 1890s. Per capita school costs fell from 1890 to 1895. The public and press reported the deterioration of most school buildings. A common complaint was the school bureaucracy left no one accountable to fix the problems.

Nicholas Murray Butler organized a school reform movement seeking to hire more education experts and new laypeople in education. He also opposed local control of schools. The legislature, with several Republicans seeking to hurt Tammany Hall Democrats, passed school reform measures. Mayor William Strong decided to agree with the reform movement for centralized control of education over local control. Centralized control then meant shifting power from local School Board to a Board of Superintendents.

Teacher salaries created controversies. In 1898, New York City formed by combining with nearby counties. The Manhattan and Bronx Board attempted to have teacher pay increases contingent on passing exams. The teachers helped in persuading the legislature to instead set salary increases according to years of experience teaching.

As universal education was adopted, schools had to adjust to teaching students who previously were unexposed to education. Many lacked English skills, especially children of immigrants. Trade and industrial schools were created, primarily for African Americans and children of recent immigrants.

New York created standard curriculum to be used in all schools. New York spent $100 million on building new schools from1898 to 1915. Still, overcrowded schools remained an issue as immigration into New York flourished.

New York implemented using the entirety of school facilities, with half of students’ time in class and half at play, laboratories, auditoriums, etc. Half the students would be in class and then switch with the other half in the other school facilities. Thus, all school facilities were used the entire school day. After school, the facilities were open for community use. Some parents felt more time should be spent in the classroom. Some students objected. At one school, about 1,000 students rioted and broke windows. It was claimed they were expressing their dissatisfaction with the new system. Rioting spread to other schools under the new system over ten days. 5,000 students marched against the new system. It was alleged the plan was devised by many elites to prepare for economic servitude. The next elected Mayor, John Hylan, ran on a campaign that included promising to eliminate this system. He delivered on that promise.

Mayor Hylan continued expanding schools. $300 million was spent to educate an additional 475,000 children. Still, 50,000 students could only enroll on a part time basis in 1930.

Science entered into education. Intelligence testing led to ending mass instruction of teaching at different levels. This allowed every student to graduate, even though they graduated to different levels of instruction at the same grade. In 1940, there were 20,000 students enrolled on a part time basis. Graduation rates were almost 100%. The average number of students per class was 34.

In New York City, the African American population was 150,000 in 1920, 328,000 in 1930, and almost 750,000 in 1950. The Puerto Rican population in 1950 was 250,000. Most African Americans and Puerto Ricans lived in segregated parts of the city. Most had low paying employment. It was believed that education alone had been the reasons previous immigrants had achieved economic gains, which the author labels a “myth”. African Americans and Puerto Ricans moved in New York in hopes of economic success. They found segregated housing and neighborhood schools that were also segregated. Segregation was illegal, but existed in fact.

The official response was to view everyone as equal. Racial information was removed from school forms. Yet, this equal treatment under neighborhood schools resulted in segregated schools. Dr. Kenneth Clark gained much notice by observing that African Americans were given provided less of an education than other received. Mayor Robert Wagner felt school issues should not be politicized, which meant elected officials were not going to act. The School Board developed an integration plan. The plan declared that education is slum neighborhoods were lacking. This helped many whites to presume that integration African Americans into their schools would deteriorate their children’s education.

Demonstrations supporting and opposing school integration arose. A combination of racism, worries, and economic fears drove much of the opposition. More funds were provided to African American schools while the subject of integration was little addressed. Large numbers of what students left the public school system. Enrollments were opened to attract public integration, but only a few entered. Only under 50 of eligible African Americans chose to switch to a predominately white school.

In 1961, student test scores declined. School officials generally declined to mention that the migration of new students mostly form racial minority groups was a primary cause. Ignoring the problem meant not resolving it.

A scandal over financial irregularities in school construction funds led to new Board of Education members in 1961. That same year, the 43,500 New York teachers voted to unionize with the United Federation of Teachers.

The State Education Commissioner declared no school in New York State could have more than 50% of its students from racial minorities. Outside New York City, this was easily obtained. Yet this ignored that in 1963, African Americans and Puerto Ricans made 40% of the New York City public population, including 52% of first graders.

African Americans threatened to boycott these officially declared inferior schools. Some noted integration went for only one direction, moving African Americans into predominately white schools. White students were not moved into predominately African American schools. White parent sued to prevent having white students placed in predominately African American schools, and the courts agreed with the parents.

Some whites agreed with the goals of integration. A group EQUAL, composed mostly of whites, was more militant in its advocacy for integration than some predominately African American pro-integration groups.

Dr. Kenneth Clark spoke out against bussing students long distances to other schools, calling that “unrealistic”. While he believed integrated schools were better than desegregated schools, he argued that it was more important for teachers to believe that students from the slums could be taught. He argued for more effective teaching.

Bayard Rustin, with support of many community groups and churches existing in the ghettos, organized a boycott of African American students refusing to attend the schools. The boycott lost some allied support with white liberals. A second boycott was organized, only this time without Rustin’s support. Rustin feared a white backlash could set the movement backwards. A third boycott was held. A state court ruled that integration was not required by law.

A Board of Education report issued in 1964 declared that desegregation was achievable. Calls for integration were revitalized. The plan called for keeping neighborhood schools at the elementary level, and thus these schools would be segregated, while junior high and high schools would be desegregated. New construction of high schools to met demand from the emerging proportion of racial minorities as students occurred in predominately white neighborhoods. An administrator would oversee a cluster of an integrated middle school and several segregated elementary schools whose students would graduate to that middle school.

New schools were built in the ghettos. Still, there were no plans for actual integration of these schools.

Community action poverty programs often resembled the patronage organizations that Tammany Hall and other groups used previously to organize immigrants.

Martin Mayer, a journalist, observed no large city spent over 70% per pupil what New York spent. Yet the schools were not improving. He also noted the absence of a sizeable African American middle class in New York City.

The author notes similarities between African Americans in the New York public schools in the 20th century and Catholics in the 19th century. Both groups immigrated in large numbers to New York City and found a school system that did not address their unique needs. Assimilation by these groups was fought by existing society.

Dr. Kenneth Clark’s research increased the belief that there was an institutional problem that was failing to properly educate African American students. This led activist groups to charge that racism was deliberately trying to keep African Americans “subservient”.

Whereas prior beliefs kept elected politics out of School Board actions, Mayor John Lindsay felt he had to become involved. He asked for a decentralization plan. A plan creating more community control was developed.

A report criticized the school bureaucracy for not responding to integration of schools. It called for more public participation. Yet, with strong opposition to integration, it is doubtful that would have led to integration. Neither Mayors Wagner nor Lindsay endorsed integration, leaving the job to a Board of Education that lacked the power to create integration. The School Board issued a report calling for more community control, ignoring the previous historical evidence that education reform is less apt to happen when education control is decentralized. Mayor Lindsay submitted a decentralization plan for elementary schools.

In 1968, almost 54,000 of 57,000 teachers engaged in a strike. It lasted two days. The teachers were given more protections from local boards. The strike was declared illegal but the agreement made with the teachers was declared legal. Yet some teachers were denied positions that were won in the agreement. A second strike was called. A second agreement provided protection so returning teacher s could go to work while passing angry crowds.

Disagreements continued between local school district leaders and the teachers unions. Another strike shut down about 85% of schools. This led to the creation of groups calling for community control and resistance to the teachers union. The union ultimately was able to have the displaced teachers returned to their positions.

The legislature eventually agreed to create more local autonomy in education decisions while giving more protections to teachers.

The author notes that common schools allow basic values to be taught to all.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

If Laws Were Sausages, We'd All Have Coronaries

Daniel L. Feldman and Gerald Benjamin. Tales from the Sausage Factory: Making Laws in New York State. New York: Excelsior Editors, State University of New York Press, 2010.

Author David Feldman was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1981 to 1998. He notes Otto von Bismark commented that “laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.” Feldman saw, and writes about the process (of making laws).

This book finds the legislative process as a slow and complicated process where even great ideas can years to gain acceptance and passage. The authors note that the legislature often finds it easier to take symbolic action over a more complicated and harder to obtain agreement on substantive actions. Indeed, the authors see symbolism acts as an essential part of how the legislature addresses the psychological need that the public desires for some sort of attention on a matter. Passing legislation requires legislators working with their peers and obtaining public approval of their ideas. Understanding insider legislative politics is important in getting bills passed, yet the authors note that proposals that are substantive and have strong merits do well in the insider politics. Outside interests have major influences on legislative success and failure. Legislators are advised to learn about the laws they amend, the legislative process, and to apply their values in how they work. This comes together in the “sausage factory” whose output is legislation.

The authors argue that bipartisan gerrymandering helped decrease the reputation of the New York legislature. In 1971, the Citizens Conference on State Legislatures ranked New York as having one of the four best legislatures. Gerrymandering separated legislators further away from responding to public opinion and more towards responding to political party leaders.

Traditionally, gerrymandering was designed to give Republicans a majority in the State Senate and Democrats a majority in the State Assembly. Obama carried New York in 2008 with 62% of the state vote which helped elect enough Democrats to the State Senate that they were a majority. This was their first Senate majority since the 1964 Lyndon Johnson landslide. The Democrats were diverse and four refused to support the leader of the others, Malcolm Smith. Of these four dissidents, one, Pedro Espada, was indicted for receiving a salary from a nonprofit that received state funds with his support. Another, Hiram Monserrate, was arrested and convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. He was later expelled from the State Senate.

Republicans courted Espada and Monserrate to regain political control of the Senate. Republican politician Republicans sought a new leadership election in hopes of regaining control of the Senate with the help of dissident Democratic Senators. Democrats moved to adjourn the Senate and 28 left. 30 Republicans and the four dissident Democrats remained. Those remaining elected Republican Senators as Senate President and Majority Leader. Two dissidents then rejoined the Democratic Caucus, creating a 31 to 31 tie. The Lieutenant Governor would have voted to break the time but the position was vacancy as Lt. Gov. David Patterson had become Governor when Elliot Spitzer resigned as Governor. When Governor Patterson called the Senate into special session, two presiders, one Democrat and one Republican, both presided and attempted to run the meetings simultaneously. Important legislature such as revenue grants to local governments, retaining sales taxes, and maintaining Mayoral control of New York city schools sat in the Senate bottleneck.

Governor Patterson appointed Richard Ravitch as Lieutenant Governor. This was a new procedure he Attorney General declared as unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals ruled 4-3 that Ravitch could serve as Lieutenant Governor but that he could only vote on procedures matters and not to break the tie for Senate control.

Monserrate switched back to the Democrats to become Majority Leader in a deal that made Democrat John Samson the Senate President instead of Malcolm Smith.

It is noted Tom Golisano donated $5 million to Democratic legislative candidates in 2008 while advocating for conservative tax and spending proposals.

The author David Feldman was elected to the Assembly with the support of most of the regular organization as well as reform Democrats. A faction of regular Democrat supported his primary opponent, who he defeated. After his first election, he faced little electoral opposition.

As a legislator, Feldman was active in community issues and constituent services. He worked to reduce long sentences for drug offenders and for gay rights, consumer protection laws, environmental protection laws, and for reducing the number of parking tickets issued, which he claims were excessive. He, from person experience, learned that many constituents paid parking fines only to discover a second computer that did not align with the computer keeping track of the payments then required these payments be made in order to register a car. He introduced and had a bill passed that made the Motor Vehicle Bureau reimburse and pay extra to those so affected. The city lobbied against the bill as it affected their revenues. Still, the author learned about fighting the good legislative fight. He realized, even in small ways, legislators could improve lives.

The authors observe that many legislators often tended to act in their own self-interest more so than in the public interest. Working for constituents helps the constituents yet it also helps the legislators get reelected.

Party affiliation was a major factor in determining legislative behavior. Legislators did not always act in their own self-interest. The authors observed that Assemblyman George Michaels voted his conscience in voting in favor of making abortion legal knowing, correctly as it turned out, that the vote would lead to his defeat.

Legislators are presented as voting on issues, in this book, on a cost-benefit analysis. More emotional issues may not follow this cost-benefit calculation. Yet in general, legislature value efficiency (which means different things to different people), security, liberty equality, and property. The public expects representation, fairness, and a right to dissent.

The values legislators have impact their work. They are concerned how their constituents feel about issues. Organized interest groups that influence public opinion can impact how legislators respond. An important outside influences that can sway public and legislative opinion is the media.

Legislators develop friendships with each other, much as people ordinarily do. These friendships can influence how they vote on issues as they may wish to avoid conflicts and agree with friends on issues important to their friends.

Legislators sometimes have to deal with conflicting values. Legislative leaders may threaten actions when a caucus member desires to vote against the party leadership line.

In New York, the Speaker usually designates a Speaker Pro Tempore to preside over the Assembly while the Speaker works the phones conducting actual business while listening to floor discussions in his office. Many discussions among legislators occurs in their party’s conference, or caucuses. Legislators ask about the legislation they are going to vote on, debate merits, and form floor strategies. The Speaker often decisions made, although “majority will” could sway the Speaker in another direction. Many final decisions were formed by “three men in a room”, usually the Governor, Assembly Speaker, and the Senate Majority Leader. The authors note that Conference decisions could influence the responses of their leader in the Room of Three.

Morality or lapses on morality have roles in legislative behavior. In New York, Democrats and Republicans tended to stay together in separate hotels: Democrats in the DeWitt Clinton Hotel and Republicans in the Ten Eych Hotel.

The authors observed most legislators were not dedicated in their legislative committee assignments and one avoided them all together.

New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, as of 2004, were the only full time Senates that used a fast roll call. The legislative leaders give their vote and unless of member of that party indicates otherwise, all the members of that party are indicated as voting accordingly. The member need not be present in the room to vote. A slow roll call is sometimes called for political purposes to get individual votes recorded with their presence.

The legislative leadership has various means to kill a bill. Bills can be sent to committees where the committee chairs are instructed not to refer the bills out of committee. Bills that emerge from committees that leadership doesn’t want can be sent to the Rules Committee and the bills can be kept there from every emerging.

The Rules Committee seldom met yet reported bills consistently. The Rules Committee, in reality, was the Speaker acting as the Rules Committee Chair.

Feldman was a member of the Rules Committee. He confirms that it never met. It was the Speaker and the Speaker’s staff who determined which bills were reported from the Rules Committee.

The New York legislature allows for swift approval of legislation under necessity power due to timely emergencies. This means of approving bills became more routine. The New York courts struck down passage of a ban on selling cigarettes on the Internet through legislative emergency powers as the courts rules this was not a timely emergency.

Speaker Stanley Steingut changed a tradition. The old ways involved county Democratic leaders brining the legislators their county political machines elected according to the Speaker’s wishes. Steingut instead worked directly with the legislators, bypassing the county Democratic chairs. Steingut also allowed each Assembly member of both parties to have a district office. Steingut lost a primary in 1978. Stanley Fink was the next Speaker. Fink did not institute any major procedural changes.

The authors note that Stanley Fink, Speaker from 1978 to 1986, was a masterful politician whose leadership surpassed that of Governors. Fink was a part of Brooklyn Democratic Party leader Meade Esposito’s political organization. Fink opposed the death penalty yet let pro-death penalty bills pass, claiming it was a vote of legislators and personal beliefs while knowing the Governor would veto them

The next Speaker, Mel Miller, left office in 1991 due to a felony conviction over his legal practice. Miller was replaced as Speaker by Saul Weprin. Miller’s conviction, incidentally, was overturned on appeal.

Speaker Weprin was known for urging Democratic Assembly members to “stay on message”, to support the party line, and not to deviate from the party line. He centralized staff, diminished the influence of committee chairs. Key staff to Weprin were delegated more authority than most other staff ever had. This created resentment from members.

Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, became Speaker in 1994 after Weprin died. Silver consolidated more power, justifying it as necessary to fight both a Republican Governor and Republican majority Senate. The Speaker’s staff were instructed not to share information with other Democrats leaders and Democratic committee chairs.

Strong leaders clam their powers are necessary to achieve legislative successes. Yet the authors argue, in New York, the strong leadership had difficulties producing results. Gridlock and dysfunction often was the result.

It is noted that the Republican majority in the Senate and the Democratic majority in the Assembly were strong majorities in both chambers from 2002 to 2008. Sheldon Silver was Speaker and Joseph Bruno was Majority Leader until his resignation in 2008. Two strong leaders with strong control with different political philosophies led to much legislative gridlock.

The Assembly Rules Committee became public meetings with recorded votes as of 2005. This decentralized some of the Speaker’s powers.

Conference committees of members from both chambers exist to resolve disputes between the two chambers over specific legislation. These conference committees are chosen by and thus represent the position of the legislative leaders. Before 1995, there were no conference committees.

In 1978, the Assembly passed a rule where the sponsor of a bill could insist upon committee action on the bill. Committee chairs got around this by scheduling votes on large numbers of bills and convincing committee members to vote on bills as a group as to whether or not they were to be reported from or held in committee.

Committee chairs are hardly ever scrutinized by the press for keeping a bill in committee. Even though this action allows one person to kill a proposal, this inaction is seldom criticized by the press.

The authors note that legislative success sometimes involves responding properly to inside politics, knowing the goals of different parties involved on the issue, and getting to points where enough parties agree.

The authors observe that, in 1990, half of newly imprisoned inmates in New York were convicted of buying or having drugs. 72% of females incarcerated were for drugs. Most were addicts. Police officials stated that drug dealers were replaced by drug organizations within minutes of being arrested, as so many other addicts could quickly be recruited to become dealers.. Thus, huge increases in Corrections expenses were not denting the flow of drugs.

Feldman was often on the other side of battles with Sheldon Silver. When Silver became Speaker, Feldman’s career began diminishing in influencel He did find some influence when a new Govenor, George Pataki, concerning the issue of getting more drug users into treatment programs. A Drug Treatment Program, while technically run by the Corrections Deparmtent, was created as a place for nonviolent second time felony drung offenders to serve time.

Support diminished for the strong antidrug laws with long prison terms were adopted under Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Long prison terms did not affect recividism. Support for treatment alternatives grew. David Rockefeller was among those who came out against his late brother’s drug policies, as did a leading academician on the issue who before was an advocate of creating these policies, John DiIlulio. Over time, Speaker Silver came to support judicial discretion in drug cases and increasing drug treatment programs. Majority Leader Bruno agreed mandatory sentences on drug cases were unfair. A seven hour negotiation session led to incremental reform that reduce some drug penalties and enabled judges to sentence drug offenders to treatment programs. The District Attorneys Association fought the agreement. Governor Pataki did not fight hard for its passage. The issue emerged in District Attorney elections and a leading defender of strict drug laws was ousted in a campaign where this was a central issue. Legislation finally passed. Further legislation reducing sentences for drug offenses passed when Democrats gained influence in the Senate.

The authors observe there is value in good staff. Feldman especially valued staff that researched and found good issues which could be supported. Feldman credits key staff for helping get a sex offender registry law enacted. This process included being diplomatic with the Speaker who favored a different version of the proposal and getting the Speaker to consider and then approve the proposal.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Not the Larry or Moe of Boston Politics

Jack Beatty. The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley (1874-1958). DaCaopfiese, 2000,

Police estimate one million people lined the streets of Boston to watch the hearse carrying James Curley pass. As four term Mayor and Governor, Curley had been their leader, especially to many Irish Americans.

The fictitious “The Last Hurrah” was based on Curley. He sued with a film version was made and then denied he had been paid $25,000 for the right, claiming whoever signed his name forget his signature. He agreed to a $15,000 payment. There are many who believe Curley may have conieved to squeeze a little extra money from the film producers in what may have been Curley’s real life last hurrah. He died two months later.

Curley did not get along with the Kennedys. He hold over his head, as blackmail, that John Fitzgerald, Boston Mayor and John Kennedy’s grandfather, had an affair.

As Mayor, Curley got long handled mops for cleaning ladies so they wouldn’t have to clean City Hall on their knees. It was said “Lincoln freed the slaves, Curley got the scrubwomen off their knees.” Curley also called them matrons and cleaners rather than scrubwomen, and he made their jobs civil service. Curley’s mother had been a scrubwoman.

Curley had two children die, at ages 34 and 41, of cerebral hemorrhages at two different locations on the same day. Curley stood for 14 hours to meet everyone who came to see him after their deaths.

Curley grew up poor. He filled his youthful hurt of being poor by seeking money and spending it.

Curley did not create a political machine. All his political organizations were for his own elections.

Arthur Schlesinger and Erik Erickson found that, in 1924, campaigns based on issues increased voter participation while campaign based more on personalities decreased voter participation. The TV ads of today often place great reliance on character and less of issues. These may be part of the reasons for smaller voter turnouts in modern elections than in the past. In 1880, 82% of voters participated in the Garfield versus Hancock election with one fifth of Northern voters being personally active in the campaigns. Curley ran on personality, with little regard for issues, and won elections with low turnouts.

Curley was elected to the Common Council in 1897. It was a group that listened to citizen complaints one night a week, but had little power. He ran for office independent of either Democratic Party factions. Curley ran door to door campaigns. He finished respectfully in a losing campaign. He claims he won and that the party machinery stole the election. He won a third try with party support.

Curley studied oratory and became a good speaker. He defended the poor and claimed his favorite designation given to him was “Mayor of the Poor”.

Curley switched allegiance from the Charles Quirk party faction to the Timothy McCarthy faction before the McCarthy faction won all caucuses in 1900. Election rigging is acknowledged by Curley as having occurred.

Curley served two terms on Common Council. He then ran for the state legislature. He was also a ward chairman and still a supporter of McCarthy. Curley say McCarthy as a rival and he plotted with a group called the Jackson Club. Curley though left the Jackson Club, vowing he never again waned to be a member of someone else’s political organization. Curley started his own club. He called it Tammany Hall, after the scandal ridden New York political club. To Curley, Tammany Club meant a place that helped people obtain jobs and which helped the poor.

Curley’s club resulted in former rivals Timothy McCarthy and Charles Quirk to unite. Curley was reelected to the state legislature and an ally also won. Afterwards, McCarthy lost reelection to his Alderman’s post to a Republican.

Curley and an ally were arrested for cheating on civil service exams by taking them for two others. Curley was found guilty and sentenced to twon months in jail. Curley was reelected the day after being imprisoned. Although he was the first Massachusetts state legislator jailed, he chose not to fade away in disgrace. Instead, he ran for Alderman at Large, running across all of Boston. He was one of eight Democrats who with the primary. The Reform Club members declared they had been “disgusted” by Curley’s nomination, with one member declaring “Massachusetts might become a second Pennsylvania---a shocking thought”. Tammany paid a dollar a vote to people who voted multiple times. Curley was elected.

Curley was expelled from the legislature but embraced by most of his fellow Aldermen. While there, Alderman Frank Linchen accused a number of Aldermen with accepting bribes. Linchen claimed Curley was their leader in getting a bill passed and was paid twice what the others received. A grand jury looked into the allegations and made no indictment.

The Boston Herald was critical of Curley. Curley wrote a letter threatening to stop publishing Council minutes in the Herald, which would cost the Herald $8,500. Curley denied writing the letter although the handwriting is his.

Tammany used intimidation. They threatened the Herald’s editor. They beat up a rival’s caravan by burning some with torches, hit one with a brick, and broke their musical instruments. They also violently disrupted a rival’s meeting.

Curley’s ally Tom Curley (no relation) turned on James Curley by support Theodore Glynn for Alderman over Curley. Tammany Hall was factionalized in the split. Tom Curley and others were purged from Tammany Hall, with a brawl afterwards. It is noted that James Curley was a strong man who fought physical fights.

The Boston American accused Curley of getting the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company to hire nonexistent people and that their pay went to Tammany funds.

In 1909, Curley was elected to the new City Council, created when the Board of Aldermen and Common Council were abolished. He then ran for Congress against incumbent Democrat William McNary. Curley accused McNary of taking funds from the Armour Sulzberger Company and Swift beef packers. He then accused his Republican opponent J. Mitchell Galvin as being close to an anti-immigrant politician, Henry Cabot Lodge. Curley was elected.

Immigration was a main issue for Rep. Curley. He argued against a literacy requirement for being accepted as an immigrant. He noted many people who arrived in American illiterate who became important, including signers of the Declaration of Independence. During debate when Rep. Augustus Gardner was reading statistics of crimes committed by illiterate immigrants, Curley replied “I was going to ask the gentleman how many illiterates had been arrested for forgery:, a crime, of course, an illiterate person would have trouble committing.

Curley ran for Mayor against incumbent John Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald withdrew from the race. Other opponents withdrew as well. It has been speculated that Curley did things to get them out of the race. Most of the Boston papers printed in English supported Curley’s opponent. Yet almost 90 foreign language papers supported Curley. Tammany called the wives of campaign workers for Curley’s opponent and told them their husbands were not campaigning but we having affairs. Curley was elected.

Mayor Curley reduced the pay of high positioned police and fire officers and of school doctors. He increased the pay for patrolmen, privates, and custodians. While 6,000 of 15,00 city employees received pay cuts, only a few were fired. He also nixed some city contracts Fitzgerald had awarded.

Curley is believed to have received 5% of several city contracts. This may explain why Edison provided lighting at much higher costs in Boston than it charged in other cities.

Curley expanded Boston City Hospital. He also expanded Strandway, a parkway by the bay. He abolished the Parental School where truants were sent for up to two years.

While Curley was Mayor, the city debt decreased. This is contrasted during the same period by per capita spending increases of over 100% in New York, Jersey City, and Albany, 75% in Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Curley increased censorship. Some books could not be sold in Boston. Words such as “bitch”, “bastard”, and “oh, God” could not be said on stage. The tango was banned from a park. Isadora Duncan could not dance with bare legs. Bare feet in public was banned.

In an act of hypocrisy, Curley lobbied Sen. Boies Penrose to allow a moive “Where Are My Children?”, about women having abortions without many negative consequences, shown in Penrose’s state of Pennsylvania. Curley had a financial interest in the film.

The author notes that many historians talk about the widespread bribery of public officials during this era. Today, disclosed payments to campaigns are allowed. Instead of individuals being corrupt, the author observes, today the system is corrupt.

Curley took “honest graft”. He did not take money from illegal operations. Curley bought a large house in Boston far away from his old ward. The luxuriousness of the house led many to question where he got the money to afford the house. People performing work on his house received city contracts.

Curley allowed political free speech. Socialists and peace groups could meet and speak in Boston while President Wilson was having them jailed elsewhere. Curley also stood up for German Americans who were physically attacked in other cities, noting they were not Germans under the Kaiser.

James Gallivan, who took Curley’s Congressional seat, ran against Curley for Mayor. Andrew Peters resigned as Assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary to also run. The press reported Peters had raped a 11 year old girl and had paid tens of thousands of dollars of blackmail to her parents. The girl committed suicide. Peters denied the story. The race enlarged as U.S. Peter Tague decided he had a chance as well.

Curley had tow favorable short films about him made. He warned theaters that their licenses depended upon their showing the films.

Peters won the election. Gallivan divided the Irish American vote. Curley decided to run for Governor. Curley then changed his mind and ran against Gallivan for Congress. Gallivan noted that Curley no longer lived in the district. Gallivan defeated Curley.

Curley ran again for Mayor. He and District Attorney Joseph Pelletier realized neither could win with both in the race. A Curley aide, without Curley’s knowledge, offered to have an arbiter decide who should withdraw from the race. Pelletier accepted. Curley was upset but agreed to the arbiter. Curley’s negotiators got both sides to agree to a pro-Curley arbitrator. The arbitrator decided Curley was the stronger candidate. Some believe Pelletier was looking for a graceful method to leave the race, and this was it.

Curley accused his Republican opponent John Murphy as being a “reformer”. That tag was unpopular in 1921. A Republican ran as an independent. It is believed Curely ran him to take away votes from Murphy, which likely helped. The independent received 4,260 votes and Curley won by 2,698 votes.

In his second term, $11 million was spent updating the City Hospital. He also increased school building spending. Curley raised assessment to raise revenues. Some businesses removed their top floors to lower their assessments.

Curley ran for Governor. Curley spoke out in favor of restricting child labor. His opponent called that “Bolshevism”. It was a strong Republican year and Curley lost.

The law was changed to prevent a Boston Mayor from serving successive terms. Curley’s Fire Commissioner Teddy Glynn and Curley’s brother John Curley. the City Treasurer, both ran. Curley was divided and finally endorsed Glynn. John Curley withdrew from the race.

Curley worked for Al Smith’s campaign for President. Smith lost but he carried Massachusetts. Some credit Curley’s work with making the difference in Smith winning the state.

Curley sought a third term as Mayor. The Good Government Association endorsed former State Treasurer Frederick Mansfield, another Catholic. Mansfield accused Curley of graft and that mismanagement was keeping Boston from achieving home rule. Without home rule, the legislature had a lot of say in Boston’s public policies. Daniel Coakley also ran. Coakley taunted Curley with requests to allow Coakley to tell the truth about Curley, from what Coakley knew through lawyer-client confidentiality.

Curley was a planning visionary. He called for creating a 50 year plan for metropolitan Boston, including 43 towns around Boston. Many met these ideas with derision. Still, had this regional planning been addressed since Curley’s time, there may not be the educational disparity between excellent schools in white communities and poorer achieving schools in African American neighborhoods.

The Depression hit during Curley’s third term. Two weeks into his term, the first case of death by starvation hit Boston.

John Fitzgerald planned to run for the U.S. Senate in 1930. Curley planned to run for Governor in 1932 after Governor Frank Allen would like win his second two year term in 1930 and then likely not run in 1930. Curley figured the seat as Governor would be open a d he would still be Mayor and could use his strengths as Mayor to mobilize support. Curley guessed Fitzgerald would lose running for Governor. Curley offered to throw his support to Fitzgerald if he ran for Governor instead. Fitzgerald agreed. Fitzgerald faced primary opposition. Fitzgerald suffered nervous exhaustion during the race and withdrew.

Curley became President of the National Conference of Mayors. The Mayors gathered and realized that solving the problems of the Depression were beyond the abilities of Mayors.

Curley ran for Governor in 1932. He also supported Franklin Roosevelt for President. Curley convinced Roosevelt to challenge Al Smith in the Massachusetts Democratic Primary. Massachusetts was considered a state leaning heavily towards Al Smith. This primary was also Curley challenging the state Democratic Party organization. Smith won the primary with over 60% of the vote and denied Roosevelt even a single Massachusetts delegate. Curley’s political reputation suffered. Yet, it improved when Roosevelt was elected President. Curley hoped for a major appointment but did not receive one. He was offered Ambassador to Poland but later withdrew his nomination.

In running for Governor, the party organization endorsed Charles Cole, a World War I General. The Boston Herald printed stories of graft wile Curley was Mayor. Still, Curley won the primary and then defeated another General, Gasper Griswold Bacon, in the general election.

Governor Curley sought to show power by removing Finance Commission members “for cause” after the Republican majority of the Commission turned down his request to do so. Curley tried attacking the reputation of a Commission member in a radio broadcast, but that didn’t work. So he offered another Commission member another job, and that worked. Democrats then, for the first time ever, had a majority of Commission membership.

Controlling the Finance Commission enabled Curley to fire people and put his appointees in their places. Patronage was dispensed. The Boston Globe criticized Curley for removing qualified employees and replacing them under political favoritism.

254 pardons and paroles were granted by Governor Curley on Christmas, 1935. Many of the prisoners paid high fees to their attorney who also paid Curley and an aide. Prisoners unable to purchase pardons and paroles rioted.

As Governor, a 10% surcharge on income, corporate, and inheritance taxes was imposed. The workweek at state institutions was reduced from 60 to 48 hours. A limit of using injunctions during disputes between labor and management became law. A prevailing wage for state construction jobs was created. Workers compensation rates were increased and allowed to last, if qualified, for lifetime instead of a five year maximum. Curley’s proposed a graduated income tax, retail sales tax, and an additional intangible wealth tax, which were defeated.

Curley tried to boast that his ties to President Roosevelt would bring in large projects to Massachusetts. Yet the Roosevelt Administration privately was not very fond of Curley. Many of Curley’s publicized grand proposals were approved, but at substantially lower levels.

Curley declared an emergency during a flood. He took command of the National Guard for two straight days without sleep. He criticized the legislature for not approving sufficient flood relief funds.

Curley declared that judges over age 70 should submit to physical and psychiatric examination. He hoped that would allow him to replaced some of the 36 judges this concerned. The press reacted strongly against his attempt to “pack the courts”. Curley abandoned this proposal.

Curley won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Roosevelt spoke at a political rally and ignored Curley. Curley’s campaign suffered without getting Roosevelt’s support. He lost to Henry Cabot Lodge. He was the only Democratic U.S. Senate candidate to lose in 1936.

Curley is believed to have received kickbacks for awarding some state government contracts.

Curley ran for Mayor of Boston in 1937. Curley mistakenly claimed he had given a patronage job to a rival’s sister who had no living sister. He accused another rival of being a British government agent but could not show any evidence supporting the claim. The Cardinal endorsed Maurine Tobin over Curley. Tobin won.

Curley then ran for Governor against Democratic incumbent Charles Hurley. Curley won the primary. The press wrote of a $40,000 kickback Curley received from a legal dispute. A civil, but no criminal, suit resulted. Curley was ordered to repay most of the amount plus interest. Curley lost the election.

The law changed so Maurice Tobin could run for reelection as Mayor. A scandal involved Daniel Coakley helped Tobin defeat Curley.

State Sen. Daniel Coakley, Curley’s close ally, was impeached for taking $1,000 to fake a letter from a priest to have Raymond Patriarca, convicted of murder, pardoned by Curley on his last day in office as Governor. Coakley became the first person in 321 years of Massachusetts colonial and state government to be prohibited from ever running again for office. Some Curley allies challenged Tobin’s victory. They claimed Tobin’s campaign finances were afoul of the Corrupt Practices Act. After several months, the state Supreme Court dismissed the allegation.

Curley next ran for Congress against Rep. Thomas Hopkinson Eloit. Eliot had been the main drafter of the Social Security Act as a Congressional aide and then served as the first General Counsel to the Social Security Board. Curley ran against Eliot on the slogan “Curley or Communism:. The Catholic Bishop indicated the Catholic Church hierarchy preferred Eliot, a Unitarian, over fellow Catholic Curley. Eliot observed the same people voting in different precincts. Curley won.

Curley surprised some by having a liberally voting record in Congress. He was accused of agreeing to lead a Kalanite company that committed fraud while it was supposed to have been aiding the war effort. The Attorney General Francis Biddle informed President Roosevelt that Curley’s “profit had been trifling” but that he could be indicted. President Roosevelt requested that Curley be allowed to testify before the grand jury. Biddle consented. Curley gave an hour long speech before the grand jury. The grand jury then indicted him. Curley declared the charges were political from New Deal Democrats who wanted him out of office.

Curley meanwhile was elected Mayor. He was then convicted of the fraud charges. Curley refused to resign as either Mayor or as U.S. Representative. Curley appealed the conviction, which took a year and a half.

Curley got revenge against Governor Tobin. Curley attacked Tobin’s viciousness against Curley at the Democratic State Committee. The speech drew applause. Posters of Curley’s claim that Tobin was “vicious” and “cruel were placed around Boston. Tobin was defeated for reelection by Republican Robert Bradfield.

The Appeals Court upheld Curley’s conviction. Curley was imprisoned. Governor Bradfield and the legislature passed a bill giving Curley his salary while imprisoned and declaring that Curley would be reinstated as Mayro from the temporary Mayor upon his release.

100,000 signed a petition requesting President Harry Truman to give Curley clemency. 100 members of Congress signed, including every Massachusetts Democrat except John Kennedy. Truman commuted Curley’s sentence.

The legislature considered abolishing the office of Mayor of Boston. Instead, a plan for a strong Mayor with at two- party- election after primaries was placed before voters.

Curley ran for reelection. He spent no money and returned the one contribution he received. He lost.

Curley ran unsuccessfully for Mayor two more times. Curley was given a full and unconditional pardon by President Truman. Curley stated he needed to keep campaigning to keep himself alive.

Curley convinced state House Speaker Tip O’Neill to help the legislature approve a $12,000 yearly pension for Curley.

Curley’s career fizzled as he for Governor in 1954 but received only one vote at the Democratic Convention.