Election 1944: Biddle to get PAGOP’s booklet case (10-31-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 1, 1944)


Biddle to get PAGOP’s booklet case

Ohio CIO pamphlet also investigated

Washington (UP) –
The Senate Committee Investigating Campaign Expenditures unanimously adopted a resolution last night urging Attorney General Francis Biddle to file a test case against the Ohio State CIO Union Council to determine whether its political activities violate the Corrupt Practices Act.

It also voted unanimously to refer to Mr. Biddle “for his information” all committee records on activities of the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee.

The Ohio case involves distribution of a pamphlet by the Ohio CIO Council, urging defeat of Sen. Robert A. Taft (R-OH) and the election of his Democratic opponent, William G. Pickerell. CIO officers told a subcommittee today that the pamphlet was for the information of CIO members and the general public and thus was neither a campaign contribution to Mr. Pickerell nor a violation of the Corrupt Practices Act.

The Pennsylvania case involves distribution of state committee pamphlets attacking Chairman Sidney Hillman of the CIO Political Action Committee and linking him with President Roosevelt. Harvey Taylor, chairman of the State Republican Committee told the investigators that the publicity division had arranged for printing and distributing three million of the pamphlets.

Mr. Taylor disclaimed any responsibility for the pamphlets, asserting that he approved the original order on recommendation of the publicity committee and had nothing to do with the actual distribution.

Committee Chairman Theodore F. Green (D-RI) voted with the Republican Senators; Joseph H. Ball (R-MN) and Homer Ferguson (R-MI) at a closed meeting to refer the cases to the Attorney General.

Senator Ball told reporters that the recommended test case would be the first in history, but that the committee felt it was warranted since testimony of the CIO officials “indicated possible violations” of the Corrupt Practices Act section defining political contributions and expenditures.

Jack Kroll, the council president, told Senator Ball’s subcommittee that the organization ordered 200,000 couples of a pamphlet entitled He Wanted to do Business With Hitler and Hirohito – the Amazing Story of Sen. Robert A. Taft, at a cost of about $2,368, for distribution among CIO members and the general public. He said the pamphlets were intended only for the readers’ information and, as such, could not be considered a campaign contribution.