Bartlett Appears Exclusively in the Texas Observe? Let those flatter who fear, it is not an American art. JEFFERSON ‘Beg Pardon, Sir, But Your Predecessor Has Already Provided Your Costume’ Jh e Cox \(,aye The Texas legislature is now passing through almost purgatorial soul-crisping anguish. The trials of :lames E. Cox are only a part of it. Poor Jim Cox, guilty or innocent, is only a minor representative from East Texas upon whom has devolved the accumulated suspicions and mistrust of the people about their legislators. We know, and every member knows, that if Cox intended to take the $5,000, even so, he is not alone in his guilt. Bigger men than he have been involved in bigger deals than the one that snared him. Still if lie is guilty, he is guilty. What else is to come to light is a question for time and circumstance, but let us be done with this, pious nonsense that the reports of other ; legislators’ involvement are ground-: \\Ve want to set down within the limits imposed on the public press our tentative conclusions about the ICT insurance failure after three weeks of study and research on it. In 1951 the state federation was sold on a good idea : that labor should own its own insurance corn pang, do business with itself, and get its insurance cheaper. By 1952 BenJack Cage had crawfished on the idea of a consumer’s insurance cooperative, justifying the ordinary premiums to the union men who owned the company with the deceptive argument that cut-rate insurance would be like paying “scab wages” to the poor working-class insurance agents. By 1953 the leaders of the state federation were seriously involved. William Harris, the president of the federation, tried to interest labor federations in other states, and for this work he took $5,000. Paul Sparks, the executive secretarythe man who really ran the state federation from day to daywas working hand-in-hand with BenJack and pushed through a new ICT contract for him a month before quitting labor and going to work for him in Houston. We do not see how these two men can be defended as friends of the workers who trusted them. By his deeds must Nile Ball also be judged. He sold the federation on the venture; before the year was out he was in partnership with BenJack Cage in the management firm that ran the ICT operation. He went to them as a trusted labor lawyer, and by the time they held their next convention he had taken up his new desk with Jack Cage & Co. As for BenJack himself, well, we are constrained by obvious consid Incorporating The State Observer, eombined with The East Texas Democrat March 5, 1957 Ronnie Dagger. Editor and General Manager Bob Bray, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $4 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies tOr each. Quantity orders available.. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937 at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, ender the act or March 3, 1879. less. This is the time for the purge, the catharsis, or the fix, the coverup. It is a time historians will remember. Will the legislature pass a meaningful lobby registration act ? Will they define the difference between a bribe and a legal fee so the people can be protected against lawyer-legislators working for people grinding legislative axes ? Will their new code of ethics mean anything ?have teeth in it? Surely the Cox case will frighten erstwhile profiteers, out of deals in lobbyists’ hotel rooms. Maybe it will even lead to a bill to require tape recorders to have loud “beeps” on them while they’re operating. But the best thing it could cause is a real revision in the ethical code in Aus-. tin. That is for the legislators to decide. eratioris from speaking out fully. \\Ve are glad he had a good time with Anita Ekberg ; we are not glad he charged it off to funds earned by the sweat of working men. The main thing is to get him back to Texas. No state subpoena can do it, and it is our recommendation that Jerry Holleman send somebody to go get him. Holleman, Sparks’s successor, was, it seems to be agreed, a little slow moving in slow by six months, or somewhat longerbut when he got the drift beyond any doubt and was sure of his authority, he threw out BenJack and, with new company management, fought desperately for months to save the company. No man can say he could have done better in Holleman’s position, and few men could have done as well. For the things that happened and the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer now much must be accounted for and many must be strapped under a limelight. But in this, too, as in the Cox case, the state is passing through the racking time of reform. You don’t replace termited foundations ‘without hoisting up the whole structure, no matter what gets broken inside. Corrimitteeo We want to commend Speaker Carr and the Cox committee in the House for their impressive determination to get the facts of the Cox case, regardless of the consequences. \\Ve would note, however, that Mr. Carr stacked the ICT committee 5-0 and the Cox committee 7-2 or 8-1 with conservatives. This is hardly the way to reassure the Houseor the people. TELEPHONE in Austin: GReenwood 7-0746. EIOUSTON OFFICE: 2501 Crawford St, Hoodlum. Mrs. R. D. Randolph, treasurer. We will serve no group or party but will hew had to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, hunsan values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy ; we will rake 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 MAILING ADDRESS: 504 West 24th St., A umtin, Texas. AUSTIN A lot of people are not going to respect the Texas Senate until it does something about some of its members. Last summer a number of senators who had been snared one way or another in the land and insurance scandals either retired or were defeated. But Carlos Ashley of Llano did not come up for re-election, and William T. Moore of Bryan, we are advised, had a weak opponent. Why should Ashley and Moore continue in the Senate? Why should they daily serve on committees and daily cast the votes for their districts on issues involving the citizenry of the state? .Why, knowing that these two lawyers took “legal fees” under dubious circumstances, have not the other senators censured them or taken any action? Senator Ashley, a gentle, friendly conservative from Llano, took, he admitted to a Senate committee, $10,000 in legal fees from A. B. Shoemake of U. S. Trust and Guaranty just before and then during the last legislative session. He was Shoemake’s floor leader against legislation to curb the disastrous U. S. Trust operations. When the story came out he returned the money, saying he was available but had not earned it. Not a word has bee said on the Senate floor about this. As far as the people know this is all right with the other senators. Anybody else can do it and say truthfully they had no guidance to the contrary from the Texas Senate. Senator Moore, an arrogant, blustery liberal from Bryan, took, according to letters and checks photostats of which we examined in Dallas, legal fees from ICT Insurance Co. during the 1953 legislative session when he was chairman of the Senate insurance committee. What is more, Moore got $300 a month during the session and $100 a month thereafter. Moore, like Ashley, says he is a lawyer, and he was merely engaging in legal work. There is no indication Moore advanced any of ICT’s legislative interests in return for the fees. It is also known that Moore accepted fees from three other insurance firms which later collapsed: Texas Mutual, General American Casualty, and a U. S. Trust subsidiary. Not a word has been said on the Senate floor about this, either \(exple know this, too, is all right with the other senators. Anybody else can do this, too, and say truthfully they had no guidance to the contrary from the Texas Senate. It is our personal opinion that neither Moore nor Ashley should be in the Senate. We so told them last week. We told them we were going to say so here. Ashley said we were wrong about it and he hoped there wasn’t any unkindness in the decision. We told him we were sorry about it and that there . wasn’t anything personal. Moore called us a “no-good sonof-a-bitch.” We responded in kind and suggested if he wanted to do anything about it then was the time. He said he wasn’t going to indulge in any threats. We have been worrying about the sivation for some time, and we know other people have. The subject is kicked around a lot at the Capitol. But with Lt. Gov. Ben Ramsey in charge we have all come to expect nothing to happen in such cases. We who are close to Austin forget the people go on expecting something to happen. It isn’t pleasant to raise such mat ters in print: But more important than politicians is the common wealth, the society of human beings, in whose name they serve. The oth er senators may not care about it, but the people who pay any attention at all care a good deal, and if the senators want to earn back their faith, they ought to start caring, too. R.D. Jae JeJ Stor y &xtts Minim= ci 6 ASHLEY AND MOORE
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