Election 1944: ‘1000 Club’ link to Roosevelt denied by party leaders (10-26-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 26, 1944)


Arkansans accept ‘responsibility’ –
‘1000 Club’ link to Roosevelt denied by party leaders

Democratic chiefs say instigators of plan to raise money have already been rebuked

New York (UP) –
Democratic leaders said today that President Roosevelt had no connection with the “1000 Club” which Governor Thomas E. Dewey said had been promised special privileges for $1,000 campaign contributions. They also denied that it was authorized by the Democratic National Committee and said its instigators had already been criticized by party officials.

DNC Chairman Robert E. Hannegan said the club was never discussed with President Roosevelt, and “any quotation contained in the letter read by Governor Dewey attributed to the President is wholly without substance.”

Two accept ‘responsibility’

Mr. Hannegan said:

There is nothing mysterious about the “Thousand Club.” It is entirely independent of the Democratic National Committee and the statement attributed to the President, I repeat, is wholly without foundation and unauthorized.

H. L. McAlister and Samuel J. Watkins, Arkansas Democratic finance directors, whom Governor Dewey said signed the letter from which he quoted, issued a statement at Little Rock in which they assumed full responsibility for the letter and said it had been misinterpreted by the GOP presidential candidate.

Statement quoted

Their statement said:

We assume personal responsibility for the “Thousand Club” letter. The interpretation Mr. Dewey placed on the sentence “members of this organization undoubtedly will be granted special privileges and prestige by party leaders” is entirely foreign to ours.

The words “prestige and special privilege” do not mean to us what has been inferred by him.

Arkansas citizens have received many benefits, directly and indirectly from the present Democratic administration. We know what to expect from a Republican administration. We have tried both. Our thinking on the matter of contributions to the party is definitely expressed by this sentence which was placed in practically all of the letters going out from this headquarters – the amount of your contribution should be measured by your ability to pay, by your party spirit and by your desire to see the present Democratic administration continued.

‘In trouble before’

The men revealed that they had been in trouble before with the national party for their efforts to build a fire under hesitant campaign contributors and on one occasion Wilburn Maycock, National Committee counsel, wrote them that one of their letters “does not reflect the policy or ethics of the Democratic administration and it is to be repudiated as such…”

Mr. Hannegan seized the opportunity to criticize GOP campaign contributions.

He said:

The Democratic National Committee does not have “angels” of the type of Joe Pew of Pennsylvania who has contributed $13 million to the Republican Party.

Because of this fact, the project to interest liberal and progressive business and professional people who are able to make a contribution of $1,000 was developed to assist in financing the campaign.

‘Investment in democracy’

Mr. Hannegan said he had not seen the letter to which Governor Dewey referred but had been advised of the “Thousand Club” by Edwin W. Pauley, treasurer of the National Committee.

“Those who subscribed $1,000 are making an investment in democracy and this project has my approval,” he said.