C. T. Johnson To Take Deposition Bearing on Allegations about ‘Unreported Campaign Expenditures’; He Agrees That He’t ‘Fishing’ JOHN WHITE RAMSEY ON THE DEFENSIVE F AUSTIN THE MONEY Ben Ramsey spent to get re-elected Lieutenant Governor last summer may soon becoome a major political issue. Vern Sanford, executive secretary of the Texas press association, will be asked about advertising that is distributed through his association at a deposition hearing before Notary Public Henry Beck Thursday morning of this week. C. T. Johnson of Austin and George Hinson of Mineola ran against Ramsey last summer. Ramsey got 806,000 votes; Johnson, 227,000; Hinson, 184,000. Johnson has already obtained a ruling from the Texas Supreme Court upholding his right to take the deposition from Sanford. He has announced legally his anticipation of instituting a suit against Ramsey “grow C. T. JOHNSON at ten percent of one month’s salaries, but it wasn’t fixed at that. We knew that some would give a little more than was needed and we knew that some people wouldn’t give, “Nothing was ever said, I mean to me, about who did or who didn’t give,” Moore said. “We could have given him some money and probably it would never have’come up, but we’d rather give him something he could keep.” Moore said that the December payroll in the department totaled $37,503, but that since $5,000 of that was a seasonal increase, the goal was set at $3,200. WHITE states he was out of town six or seven days before Christmas on some drouth relief business in Washington. “I was genuinely surprised he said. “Ordinarily I don’t think these, boys around here can do anything without my knowing about it, and had I known about it I’d have asked ’em not to do it.” He said that ever since the Christmas of 1951, his first Christmas as Agriculture Commissioner, the only office celebration was a Christmas party at which dollar gifts were exchanged. “This year everybody around was so doggone broke I suggested we not even do that,” he remembers. White returned from Washington Dec. 23. “That night after I got in Cliff Deaton .asked me to breakfast.” White tried to decline, as he was going to Corpus the next day at 8 o’clock, but Deaton insisted. So White agreed to breakfast at 6 a.m. “I was mad all the way over there,” White says. “There were a good eight or ten of the boys out there. Well, jus’ before we ate Brother Williams oyer here I promised not to fly the airplane any more.” It was a little box with the car keys in it. Williams says that White was so moved he tried to make a speech. He started saying “I’m gonna make ‘you a good Colt ” and then broke off. But White has said privately that the THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 4 August 17, 1955 ing out of unreported campaign expenditures.” Politicians of every shade of opin-: ion are watching closely. Under the new Texas Election Code, Chapter 14, every political candidate is required to keep an accurate record of all gifts he receives and payments he makes on account of his candidacy. He must file sworn statements about this. Any candidate who makes an unlawful campaign expenditure is liable to each of his opposing candidates for ‘double the amount of the expenditures. In addition, says Section 242, Chapter 14, he `’shall be fined not less than One Hundred Dollars fined and impritoned.” Any candidate who fails to report, in whole or in part, any gift or loan re,. ceived Or any payment made or debt incurred . -“shall bp liable for double the amount or value” of the unreported gift, loan, payment, or debt, to each of his opponents, the law says. Another stiff provision of Chapter 14 quires any person contributing or lending more than $100 to any candidate to find out if the candidate properly reports the contribution. “If such contribution or loan is not reported.” the law says, “it shall be the duty of the person making such contribution or loan to report the same under oath.” If the contribution or loan is not reported by either the candidate or the’ person making the gift or loan, “the latter shall be civilly liable to each opponent of the favored candidate for double the amount or such unreported contribution or loan, or part thereof unreported,” the law says. IOHNSON, now an Austin home builder, has filed an original petition in Judge Gardner’s court against gift “ruined” his Christmas. He was advised to return it at once by a friend. On Jan. 7 he wrote thank-you letters to all the employees. \(“Williams told me everybody had given,” he remembers, “and I didn’t know everybody hadn’t until some came up later and said phrased variously, it was an expression of appreciation; frequently White mentioned that he had been very surprised by the gift. “I was certainly one astounded person,” he said in one letter. and I got to talkin’ about it,” White recalls,” and I got to thinkin’ if I’da been called on I’d of had to borrow the money. We thought it was not fair to give that much. .I don’t know how much anybody gaveI didn’t ever want it to influence my decision on any individual.” So _White ,.wrote a second letter to his employees, this one dated Jan. 14, It read: “In my previous letter to you, I expressed the heartfelt thanks of Mary Jean and myself for your thoughtfulness this past Christmas. “Last evening, we discussed what a ‘personal sacrifice it may have been to you, especially at that time of year, to participate in this gift. “Your generosity far exceeded the usual spirit of unselfishness at Christmastime and, I fear, was perhaps overextended to such a degree that it may have been too great a gift to give. For this reasov., and with your permission, my wife and I would appreciate the opportunity to return your gift contribution. “Please do not think we are being ungrateful in suggesting this re-irribursement. On the contrary, we greatly appreciate it. But your very willingness to participate in such a gesture is gift enough for us, beyond the act itself. “I would welcome a personal note from you on this matter if you are in accord with our views.” White gave the Observer his file of replies to this letter. They numbered 41. All of them rejected his offer. Many of them were quite emphatic, and most of them expressed gratitude to White and affection toward him. “I’m frankly quite proud,”.he said, “especially after reading Sanford and T.P.A. ‘ asking for $31,700 damages. In his allegations, Johnson makes some -claims about T.P.A.’s activities as distributor of advertising for Ramsey’s candidacy. \(T.P.A. places political advertising in Texas newspapers for political candinoteworthy since Ramsey, in his ,sworn campaign expenditure statements, included ‘ two items of payment to the Texas Press Association: $150, on July 20, and 45.05,on July 31. Johnson’s original petition makes the following claims: That Sanford and T.P.A., in a writing addressed to all Texas newspapers on July 12, authorized placement of 10 column inchesof advertising for Ramsey in each of the papers; in a writing to all -papers July 10, authorized another 12 inches of advertising for Ramsey in each of the papers; in a writing to all weekly papers July 12, also authorized 12 advertising’ inches for Ramsey; and, “on or before July 20,” paid newspapers an aggregate of $5,500 for the 10-inch order, and “on or before Aug. 20,” paid therh $6,600 for the 12-inch order. Therefore, Johnson’s petition concludes, Sanford and T.P.A. expended $12,100 on behalf of Rathsey’s candidacy. The damages thus figure at $24,200, Johnson says, with reasonable fees forcollecting that amount being $7,500. Sanford will probably be called upon to testify on the matters that are alleged in this original petition. Ramsey’s statements of campaign expenses, each with an oath attached, between April 30, 1954, and Aug. 3, 1954, show a total campaign expenditure of $9,975.71; total debts incurred of $4,751.01; and total gifts received, $10,100. Payments cover the filing fee, printing, postage, stationery, mimeographing, telephones, clerical work, office rent of $600 to the Driskill Hotel for June and JulyL- and advertising. the letters, I knew it was a sincere `thine Some of the letters, however, contain allusions which may bear on, public issues involved. ” Cure wrote from Tyler that he had had “a prosperous year, and we consider it a privilege to participate in the gift to you, as a little token of our appreciation.” L. H. Knowles of Temple wrote: “You have honored me with my bread and butter job, so the least I can do is, to try to express my appreciation of same, and be worthy to serve you and Texas to the best of my ability.” Joe Smetana of Austin write: “As for the re-imbursement, I consider the reimbursement made in advance along about June of 1952 when I first began my work with the Texas Department of Agriculture. For that was the time when I first acquired the friendship of you and your staff.” , Jerry Ables of Austin wrote: “Mr. Boyd gave the part-time boys a choice, as to whether we were able to contribute or not, and we all agreed that it was a thing that we wanted to do. I feel that my contribution was only a small part of my thanks ‘overdue to you because of the job that you have made possible for me. I really appreciate this job because without it, I would not be able to attend the University.” “WHITE said, “Certainly there has never been any intent to cover this thing up, I told the press about it.” “I was faced with a small mutiny. What would you do? Turn around and be ungrateful or be as gracious as we can?” On the question of reimbursing the employees without consulting them about it, he said: “How you gonna repay ’em unless you know how much they gave?” Boyd said that there was not any way White could find out about thisthat nobody kept a record of how much each employee gave. White said: “I’d a come a lot closer firing a man who gave because he thought he bad to than a man who reared up and said ‘No.’ That’s the kind of man I like.” Expenditures reported for advertising total $1,524.90. Of this, the largest item is $1,065.45 to Universal Corporation in St. Louis. The two expenditures with T.P.A. $150 and $45.05are dated July 20 and July 31, respectively. O _ther advertising items: Texas Public Employees Association, $37.50; Texas Outlook, $105.13; Southwestern Railway Journal, $35; San Saba Star, $’7.40; Mason County News, $3.85; Fredericksburg Radio Post, 14.22; The Brownwood Bulletin, $13.75; Charles Jones, Bonhath, $47.55. The largest of the campaign contributions making up the $10,100 total was $1,000 from R. F. Windfohri, Fort Worth. Others over $500 were Vance Newell, Austin, $750; and at $500 each,. Simon Henderson, Lufkin; Lon C. Hill, Corpus Christi; Lester Clark, Brackenridge; Fred W. Shields, San Antonio; and A. R. DalbY, Lubbock. ASSOCIATES of Ramsey question the constitutionality of the law, which has never been tested in the courts. They raise questions about the civil ‘liability, of campaign contributors, as distinguished from candidates. And they raise a doubt about the Legislature’s -power to set further qualifications for the office of lieutenant governor, a posh ton provided for in the Texas Constitution. Opposing attorneys suggest that the law applies to an election, not an office. Williain Yelderman 2 who, with Roy Martin, is handling ?he case for Johnson, said that ‘the Texas Supreme Court held, in Smithv. Allred, that a limit on campaign expenditures and barring a , constitutional officer from office for vio: lation of the limit’ did constitute interference with the constitutional requirements, but Yelderman feels it is different where there is not a bar from officeholding. – . Ramsey’s lawyers have been David TiSinger and James Sloan, and the firm of Looney, Clark, and Moorhead. His lawyers have called Johnson’s deposition-taking “a fishing expedition.” JohnSon agrees that this iswhat it, is, in a sense. “Aren’t you fishing every time you -try to get the facts?” Johnson asks. “How else can you get the facts but by deposition?” Ifthe deposition is taken Thursday as scheduled, it will probably become clear whether Johnson is a good fisherman. RONNIE DUGGER Liquor ‘Control’ AUSTIN ‘ The Texas. Liquor Control Board “cracked down” on private clubs. here and over the state last week. Board ‘AdminiStrator Coke Stevenson Jr: said raids on threeAustin dubs -were part ar a statewide move toward stricter enfOrcement of the state Uglier, laws. Charges of running open saloons and illegal possession and sale of liquor were filed against employes of the clubsthe Jester’s Club, Palomino Club, and the Continental Club. The latter two are bistros frequented by members of the Legislature when they are in town. Two other local private clubs were spared in the crackdo -Wn. These, significantly, were the swank and ultra-private Austin Club and Headliners Chib, where the more important politicos, newspaper7 men, business and professional people foregather. The only explanation for the oversightno liquor board officials were available for comment over the weekend is that these clubs are very, very private, that members, in theory, bring their own liquor and store it in “lockers,” and that they definitely do not give admit-. tance to Liquor Control Board agents. Stevenson, howeeV r4 r, ;l.isted as a member of the Headliners Club. John White’s New 1955 Ford
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