FOR THE TRUTH YOU NEED TO KNOW Support and Subscribe to THE TEXAS OBSERVER Address : Drawer F, Capitol Station, Austin.. Name: Street Address: City & State: One-Year Subscription, The Texas Observer, $4.00 \(We will be glad to send sample issues of The Texas Observer to friends of our readers at no charge. Send us the name and address and, if you wish, the issue or THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 4 March 7, 1955 `WHAT ABOUT ME, BOY?’ FEDERAL GOVERMENT NICE TO HAVE-WHITE Shepperd Says State Not Through With Giles moneyand not with sales taxes or education taxes.” On public health:, “I don’t know if Truman’s national health insurance plan was the answerbut the government is responsible for the welfare of the people. The nation’s health is just as important as its economic or military strength. “Medical aid is not now reaching a vast segment of our people, and it should be available to all. Local people, I believe, should take care of local situations, but when this isn’t done, government aid should be forthcoming. If our medical profession wants to prevent government interference, it had better make medical care available at small cost to those not able to pay dearly for it. The most vigorous lobby or the most expensive publicity campaign won’t help the doctors any on this.” White, in other words, thinks the federal government is a nice thing to have around when state services are limited. “We’re part of the federal government,” he says. “It’s not our enemy. It’s us, and we’re it.” White thinks the biggest power factors in Texas today are the oil, gas. and utility interests, along with the trade associations \(“very ef”And surprisingly,” he adds, “the people. They still swing a lot of weight around the Capitol. You should see some of the legislators who are always pushing special interest bills occasionally sit down and say out loud: ‘I wonder what the folks back home would think of this?’ ” He has a lot to say about party loyalty. “I’m a Democratwith a big Da plain unhyphenated Democrat,” he said. “You’re either a Democrat, or you’re not. If you’re an independent, say so. If you’re a Republican, say so.” White said what he was in 1952, and, according to him, some state officials finally said what they were. Sam Rayburn was lingering in a Dallas hotel room, waiting for those contributions that never came in, and White plowed right smack into the “Vote TexanVote Ike” movement. While other officials either kept quiet or pushed actively for Eisenhower, White toured the state campaigning for Stevenson and Sparkman. Occasionally he’d ask citizens to vote for him, too. He won by 450,000 votes. A lot of people commended him for his political boldness, but he refuses such credit: “I was taking the easy way out the only way out for me,” he said, “It was easy because I’m a Democrat.” White says he would like to get acquainted with Bruce Alger, Dallas’ newly-elected Republican congressman. “Now there is an honest man with courage. I admire a guy like that … You can’t have a real party when persons in positions of trust and honor desert you.” White’s faith in the Democratic Party isn’t the blind, unswerving type. He just thinks it’s logical. “The farmers need the Democratic Party just about as .badly as they need a good rain,” he said. “The welfare of our farm people is closely connected with the welfare of the Democratic Party.” In only one instance has he neglected to spring to the aid of the Democratic faithful. This past summer he refused to voice his feelings on the gubernatorial race. although he had been a busy critic of the Shivers Administration since 1950 \(“I was anti-administration when I came here; I am anti-adHe won’t talk much about why he neglected to endorse Ralph Yarborough, but, significantly, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson was also quiet on his choice for governor. White admires Johnson. “Lyndon Johnson is one of our great Americans,” he says. “Sam Rayburn is the greatest.” All White will say about the 1954 race is this: “I don’t think one candidate should endorse another. It never won an election for anyone.” Actually, the question of White’s support of Yarborough probably runs deeper than that. There was some backstage byplay early in 1954 when both White and Yarborough were possible candidates for governor. White. supremely confident he could defeat Allan Shivers, wasn’t so sure about it with another candidate splitting his strength. Yarborough, equally confident, refused to pull outso White didn’t run. He now says “I’ll be running foroffice in 1956.” Will Yarborough’s recent political activity have any effect on any of his decisions? “Absolutely not,” he says with a trace of bitterness. He won’t reveal what he’ll be running for in 1956, but friends say it definitely won’t be for Commissioner of Agriculture. He’s after the big one now. White. a six-foot. 215-pounder, was born on a farm near Newport, Texas, in the southern end of Clay County. His father was a tenant farmer, and the family drifted from one place to another until 1937 when they got a loan from the old Farm Security Administration for a farm of their own in Wichita County. “That loan made us participating citizens,” White says. “It wasn’t a handoutjust an opportunity. The Government got its money back with interest.” White attended Iowa Park High School, played tackle on the football team, and was graduated in 1942 taking with him a $100 scholarship to Texas Tech. “That $100 got me to Lubbock, paid my tuition and bought my books. All I needed was a start, and that was it.” He worked in school as a bellhop, an auto parts salesman. a dishwasher and a football banner salesman. Leakage of the heart kept him out of service, although this condition has since been cleared up. He married in college and graduated in 1946. Midwestern University \(t h e n. Hardin diately to start a veteran’ school of vocational agriculture. Sixty-one-year-old J. E. McDonald had never lost a fight in his 20 years as commissioner and was seeking reelection in 1950. White had no political experience, no money and little organized backing. McDonald led in the four-man race in the first primary. White, shaking hands and driving all over the state, overtook him in the runoff and won by 9,000 votes. Since then he hasn’t even been pushed hard. As for the Democrats who strayed from the party in 1952? “The people vote as they please,” he says, “but state officials should have some degree of party loyalty. I think they should be welcomed back in the partybut not on their own terms.” WLB Shivers wrote Ashburn that he was sure Bascom Giles would “expedite” the 17-veteran, group deal, which has subsequently come under fire because the original appraisal was almost doubled before the deal was closed. The Texas Observer printed a photostat of a copy of the letter which went to Giles along with a banner story. Shivers said: “Some newspapers carried headlines. The inference was that this employee was using his influence trying to rush a deal. “I don’t believe there has been an instance where any pressure has been exerted by my office. We have had some 1500 to 2500 letters of inquiry about the status of applications since the veterans’ land program started. It has been standard procedure, and will continue to be, to refer these letters, like any other letters we receive from citizens, to the proper agency. Inquiring about ing land to the State began coming to light. Veterans sold their rights to the promoters for anywhere from a set of false teeth to $300. Saturday, Attorney General John Ben Shepperd left the B e x a r County grand jury room when he heard about the Giles indictment to predict that “Texas grand juries are not through with Giles. There will be other indictments against him.” Shepperd hailed the Giles indictment as “a climax of months of investigation and workjustice for a public furious over the abuse of its veterans and misuse of its funds.” Giles repaid the trust of the people, Shepperd said, by “using the state veterans’ program for personal and political gain.” The indictment, issued by the Travis County grand jury, says that Giles and Sheffield did “conspire, combine, confederate, and enter into a positive agreement … to unlawfully and fraudulently take $83,500 … of the State of Texas … with the intent to appropriate it to their own use and benefit …” Only one of the indictments issued by the jury involved Giles. District Attorney Les Procter says the Austin probe has just begun. L. V. Ruffin of Brady, a business associate of Sheffield’s, was also indicted on criminal charges last week. He is charged on nine counts of uttering a forgery, nine counts of encouraging a forgery, and one count of theft from the State of $83,500. Giles, dressed in a light blue suit and not visibly shaken, was arrested by Department of Public Safety plain clothesmen Saturday in a downtown Austin parking lot. He was held in custody for an hour and a half, booked by Sheriff T. 0. Lang, and released on $60,000 bond. His son, Rogan Giles, and his lawyer, Clint Small, Sr.who exploded to a reporter that his name had better not get in the papers signed the bond for Giles. It was reduced from $100.000 on Small’s request. The scene at the Sheriff’s office Saturday was strange. Giles was nervous at first but relieved his tension by asking reporters if they could help meet his bond. Bill Carter, chief of the INS Bureau in Austin, replied: “Well, I’ve got a second lien on one of your houses in Delwood.” Giles laughed hard. Delwood is t h e apartment development in which he was associated with Sheffield. A newsman said “this is a sorry way to spend Saturday afternoon.” “What about me, boy,” Giles said. Newsmen confiscated Sheriff T. 0. Lang’s copy of the indictment. Giles apparently had no idea of what was coming and asked to see the status of a case is not exerting pressure, whether it is done by telephone or letter or whether the employee happens to be there and asks in person.” Shivers also said he would recommend that the Legislature authorize a special court in Travis County to handle the land cases and to provide special prosecutors for District Attorney Les Procter. OLON ROGERS CH. 2879 RENT-A-TOOL CO, MOBILE PrIBLIC ADDRESS EQUIPMENT ‘COMMERCIAL PAINT SPRAYS SALES RENTALS 1107 QUITMAN HOUSTON the charges when the newsmen were through. His only visible alarm came when reporters asked him if he knew where Sheffield was. He said no, he didn’t, why did, they ask? Because Sheffield was indicted with him, he was told. “Indicted jointly with me?” he exclaimed. In front of the county courthouse. with his son and his lawyer, Giles was asked if he would be in Austin until the trial. “Well, I’ve been here 54 years,” he said. \(He is a number where he could be reached? “Well, not that I know of,” he said. He lives at 1204 Ridgemont in the Delwood 4 Addition in Austin. Giles was asked by this newspaper if it is possible that the Senate Investigating Committee may have already granted him legislative immunity under the Texas law protecting from prosecution a person who invokes the Texas fifth amendment and is then required \(that is, ther on the same matters. “I have no reply to that,” he said crossly. \(Giles plead the immunity before the Senate committee and then tesGiles said he did not know what the indictment was about or what it was based on. He and Sheffield were indicted together in connection with a 12veteran, 400-acre deal on Dimmitt County land. This is one of four deals on which C. H. Cavness said Ruffin made an “apparent” profit of $310,000. Ruffin said he has never seen that kind of money. This newspaper carried a story out of Brady on January 31 quoting Brady and Austin sources that Ruffin was being made a “goat.” Giles said in Austin Saturday he does not know Ruffin but does know Sheffield. Sheffield and others bought the land in question in the Dimmitt County deal for $165,000 in 1953. Ruffin sold it to the State for $353,944 in 1954. Giles and Sheffield are indicted for conspiring against the State on the deal in 1953; Ruffin is indicted for closing the same deal with the State in 1954. Bank records presented to the House committee investigating the scandals by a Victoria banker show that Bell received $3,000 from T. J. McLarty of Cuero the day after McLarty deposited $154,000 in state warrants, and another $500 the day after McLarty deposited $22,700 in state funds. The state money was paid McLarty for land he was selling the State in a Guadalupe County deal. McLarty has surrendered himself to DeWitt County authorities. He will appear before House and Senate committees this week. They had placed him under subpoena but he has been in Denver. This newspaper also published reports that Congressman Bell might be involved in group land deals on January 31. Bell wired that he had represented “veteran applicants” at no retainer but did not mention group land deals. The Texas Observer wired and wrote Bell asking specifically if he had represented any sellers of blocks of land before the Veterans Land Board. “The answers are no,” he wired back. Bell told the committee he was unable to be present at last week’s revelations. But screaming headlines all over Texas about his connection with the deal drew from him a statement in Washington that as an attorney he was employed “in connection with sales of land to veterans” and received legal fees for those services. “I have violated no law or moral code …” he said. The headlines after the House committee’s hearing were the first mention of Bell’s involvements in any newspaper except The Texas Observer. Sheffield, as already related by this newspaper, engaged in business deals with Giles and C. 0. Hagan in Austin real estate. Sheffield is nowhere to be found. Ruffin was taken into custody in Brady Saturday morning and released Saturday night in Austin on $40,000 bond. A reporter asked him by phone from Brady if he had been arrested. “Hell yes I am, there is two fellows here big as a damn mountain. Somebody down there must think I’m mean as a lion. I’ll be down there after luncham I supposed to smile all the way?”
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