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PPOTECT T1 E _cient i neet4 1-1 AND VIZAWE r BY Rol3E.RT zzwrol4 wrorH A 7Ru. gHEART’ EIGHTEEN DOLLARS Let those flatter who fear, it is not an American art. JEFFERSON Democracy on the Creep 5he The state government is now coming apart at the seams from its town, multiple seaminess. Like a long-rotting fabric, it is tearing and ripping all at once. There is no hope but in a new garmenta new governmental team. We began last year with Bascom Giles’s duplicity, bribery, and admit :ted thievery. Perhaps he is the only man to blame; but if so, why has he been able to escape with an aggregate term of 75 yearsbut an effective term of only two to six years ? What did he have to bargain with to get such a reckoning ? As.. months passed, information turned up of enormous bribery in the State Senate and, to a lesser extent ‘\(because a representative’s vote is was fully reported by the Observer May 23. This newspaper developed many other stories on the government’s manifest corruptionconflict of interest situations in which officials use their public power to squelch their private business competitors, instances of apparent coercion by state department heads to extract gifts from their employees, fantastic lobbying tricks like an all paid flight to the Kentucky horse races for twelve legislators. Yet to emerge is the whole story of this state government’s philosophical corruption: its loss of the sense of the public trust. NOW COMES UPON US the most nauseating of all this administration’s Offal : the insurance scandal. Above everything else, it means that many hundreds of thousands of Texans have been bilked out of their insurance and their insurance investment. It could not have happened without gross negligence or worse in the state government. It could not have happened had there been any effective concern for the public , welfare in the State Insurance Commission or the Governor’s office. Four insurance examiners are charged with taking gifts,apartment rent, deer hunts with officials of 4′ broke company they then declared was solventto the disastrous effect that it continued in business two years and then fell ofits own weight, Now we find that two of the insurance commissioners themselves are taking junkets and “vacations” and “hitching rides” all over the -country with officials of the companies they are charged to regulate. Did they also take gifts, and if so, what, when, and why ? The examiners get suedbut not the commissioners ! In. the U. S. Trust case it emerges now that the commissioners were warned in August, 1 9 5 4-16 Incorporating The State Observer, combined with The East Texas Democrat Ronnie Dugger, Editor and General Manager Sarah Payne, Office Manager Published once a week from Austi,n, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $4 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies 10c each. Quantity orders available. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the act of March 3. 1379. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to he truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own, conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. months before they finally had to close it upthat U.S. Trust’s assets were probably over-valued by $1 million and that if this was so it was insolvent. Nothing was done. Toll : almost 150,000 depositors and investors. As if all this weren’t enough, it is now known that R. C. Lanning accepted $10,000 for lobbying for U.S. Trust & Guaranty Company while :Gunning was still chairman of the State Board of Control, the state’s multi-million-dollar purchasing agency. Did Lanning have any other clients while he was in charge of the’ state’s buying? THE GOVERNOR has the temeritythe incredible temerityto say that he has “full confidence” in all of the commissioners. He must not plan to run for re-election : let him go to the people with that battle Cry. Commissioner Garland Smith collected campaign contributions for him in 1954 and ran his first campaign for . lieutenant governor ; Commissioner Byron Saunders was his college roommate. Talk about croneyism ! The daily press would have lynched Harry Truman for as much; where are the scathing editorials on the Shivers Administration? Through it all the Governor maintains a blitheness utterly puzzling to sensible men. Asked if he would call a special session on insurance, he turned to the reporter and said : “What for ?” The people should hereafter think of him as “What For ?” Shivers. May he never represent this state again within or beyond its borders. The courts are under political. pressures from this vindictive and socially primitive administration. That whole story will probably never be told, because the people are sup. posed to have an untarnished admiration for the courts, and nobody will talk about it . on the record; but take this newspaper’s word for it–it is as stunning a part of the story as any other, and in some respects, it is the worst of all. Now the three commissioners go to the people and promise a statewide audit of every. company in the state. But who does the audit ? Private accountants hired by the companies, _themselves! The plan at first “shocks” the commissioners, but they didn’t have the guts–or, worse, the sense of their duty to uphold the public ethicto stand up against it. The Governor, of course, is “particularly proud” of this plan. NO RELIEF will come from the Legislature. Too many of its members are bought, too many others compromised by precisely the same influenced-peddling gifts and jaunts Staff Correspondents : Bob Bray, Galveston ; Anne Chambers, Corpus Christi ; Ramon Garces, Laredo; Clyde Johnson, Corsicana; Mike Mistovich, Bryan; Jack Morgan, Port Arthur; and reporters in Dallas, Houston, Beaumont, El Paso, Crystal City, and Big Spring. Staff Contributors : Leonard Burress, Deep East Texas ; Minnie Fisher Cunningham, New Waverley, Bruce Cutler, Austin ; Edwin Sue Gores, Burnet ; John Igo, San Antonio ; Franklin Jones, Marshall ; George Jones, Washington, D.C.; J. Henry Martindale, Lockhart ; Dan Strawn, Kenedy ; Jack Stiminerfield, Austin ; and others. Staff cartoonist : Don Bartlett, Austin. Cartoonists : Neil Caldwell, Austin ; Bob Eckhardt. Houston : Etta Hulme. Austin. MAILING ADDRESS: Drawer F. Capitol Station. Austin. Texas. EDITORIAL AND BUSINESS Q,FF10E: GO4 West 24th St.. Austin, Texas. Phone 7-0746. HOUSTON OFFICE: 2601 Crawford St.; Houston, Texas \(Mrs. R. D. Randolph, director, subAUSTIN Mrs. Shirley Lasher is 31 years old. She was arrested on April 20 last year in Foley’s department store in Houston, and her purse was searched. A Texas-at-Large Senator Daniel is expected to hint very strongly this week that he will seek the governorship. Reuben Senterfitt has lost some support because he hired John VanCronkhite for his campaign for governor. VanCronkhite was involved in the first rash of insurance scandals in 1954. Daniel’s entry may snuff out Senterfitt entirely. It does not appear that James P. Hart or Agriculture Commissioner John White will run for governor, especially since Ralph Yarborough is an almost certain entry. Daniel’s vacant Senate seat May tempt themas it may tempt Gov. Shivers or Lt. Gov. Ramsey. The intangible evidence is strong that this will be a “clean the rascals out” year Jimmy Phillips told a reporternot off the recordthat his chiefproblem in his race for the top job is. dissociating himself from the Senate. HiS call for resignations from the Senate investigating committee apparently WaS an effort in this direction. and feasts with which the four examiners and the commissioners are now charged. Senator Bracewell’s refusal to sit in on the secret session of that lousy Senate committee was proper and courageous, and we heartily cornmend him for it His resignation from the committee was a tragic error; what does that do but turn it over to the cover-up administration completely ? What good can he do for the public’s business and the public’s right to know in Houston? We are sorry he quit. The sad truth is that the Senate is too compromisedtoo interlocked to do anything about these scandals. Recall from the Observer of May 23 last year : “The retainer system among senators has become a major link between the industrial interests and the Legislature of Texas …. On the question of how many legislators are on. retainer fees, the average estimate of those \(59 legislaserver’s questionnaire was 60 lady from Beaumont whO had been shopping in Foley’s said that red stamp markings on a $10 bill they, found in Mrs. Lasher’s purse identified it as part of $18.00 the lady had reported missing from hers. “The thief had thrown away the bread, but his arm was still bleeding.’ Bascom Giles is 55 years old. He was in the General Land Office of Texas between 1939 and 1955 as the duly-elected land commissioner. He has confessed to agreeing to take $74,000.00 in bribes from land promoters and to helping others steal tens of thousands of dollars from the state. On January 9, 1955, with no jury, present, a district judge in Austin heard Giles enter his last nine guilty, pleas and sentenced him to nine prison terms, each of six years, bringing his . penalties on 13 counts to an aggregate of 75 yearsbut an actual maximum of six years, since all the terms will run at once. On January 11, 1955, in a Houston district court, a jury found Mrs, Lasher guilty of theft from . the. person and sentenced her to seven years in prison. Yet who can wish simple ill upon a man after he has done his damage? “What. a mournful moment is that Ut which society withdraws itself and gives up a thinking being for ever.” R.D. percent of the Senate.” If one man with one insurance company can “retain” six or eight senators and get the votes to prevent his regulation, what can one biob industry like oil buy from that body ? The House committee is :appointecl by this cover–up adminis.tration, and while we would not prejudge its work, our hopes are not high. Through all of this, remember: there are good men; most of them are men of good will, trapped by venal superiors and the venal times, struggling in a flood of corrupted authority : this is the most difficult yet, next to the truth of the flood, the most essential thing to remember. ULTIMATELY there are only two solutions : grand jury action including realistic prosecution for bribes, with careful examination of the “retainer”and a public \(led, sion at the polls for a cleaned-out Capitol. air Urns Mistrurr IS5 {v zeati JANUARY 18,175’5-,