easy-open ALINIMINUM LONE STAR BREWING COMPANY SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA Bribery Charged In Oil Scandals \(Continued from Page McAngus said Carter told him he opened the account in October, 1958, signing a number of blank checks and giving them to his friend Murphy. These checks were used in transferring $31,000 to Murphy’s -checking account at the Hull State Bank in Hull, Texas. An additional $26,500 in checks were written to a Robert V. Jobe, who McAngus said answered the same description as Murphy, and then deposited in the Louisiana Bank and Trust Company of Shreveport. Murphy’s job as district engineer was to report on deviated wells. His salary at the time was $9,000 a year. He was one of two Commission employees dismissed for refusing the lie detector tests. A request Wednesday for District Judge David Moore of Gladewater to take a lie detector test on his oil dealings was made by Rep. Bill Hollowell of Grand Saline. “I’d certainly consider it,” Moore responded. “I don’t want to make any statement right now.” Moore had answered questions at some length on his oil interests, including two leases where deviated wells were found. He said others operated the wells, however. 26 Years Ago Jim Ray, a Texas Ranger, testified that Nelson Decker, the Commission’s inspector in Kilgore who was dismissed along with Murphy, told him “he’d received a gift of oil,” but never accepted any bribes or false reports. Another witness, Assistant Atty. Gen. Robert Flowers, testified concerning “approximately $47,000 of nonsalary items” in Decker’s bank accounts. Decker refused to answer questions, pleading self-incrimination. Others who refused to answer were East Texas oil operators W. S. Barber, Jack McCubbin, Rex Stegall, and G. U. Yoachum of Kilgore, E. W. Scates of Tyler, and E. B. Hearn Jr. of Longview. Billy Bridewell of Tyler answered several questions, but declined on 16 others. W. T. James, an oil driller whose nickname is “Whipstock Bill,” told the panel he began drilling slanted wells 26 years ago, long before the practice became generally illegal. He said he installed equipment used in deviating wells on the L. R. Jacobs lease so that oil could be Induced to flow from any of five wells. James estimated that some 300 East Texas wells have been slanted. Another witness, Mrs. E. B. Hearn Sr. of Houston, told the committee she did not know where her husband was, but understood he was in Ohio. She could not remember details of his activities. Hearn was president of the Trust Oil Company, singled out for paying money into the Murphy bank account. William J. Murray, chairman of the Railroad Commission, underwent intensive questioning. He testified: A study by his staff of marginal leases led to exposure of crooked drilling. When suspicions were aroused, staff members cornpiled a list of possible violators by examining leases on which production had substantially increased without any apparent reason. Only a conspiracy among oil operators, private surveying companies, and Commission employees could have hidden the crooked drilling. \(State law requires that a new well be surveyed for crooked drilling by the operator, a pri vate drilling firm, and CommisProposed new regulations will require that all new wells be examined for slant and amount of slant, which would require two separate surveys. Ray, the Texas Ranger, testified that Murray told Decker in Kilgore last May that he was not interested in any oil holdings that he, Decker, may have. Murray denied that he made the statement. arguing that the Commission has always been careful on conflict-ofinterest. ‘Fake Reports’ Rep. DeWitt Hale of Corpus Christi questioned Murray: “Would it take false reports which were synchronized to make “I would assume so,” Murray replied. Could any of the reports be changed while en route to the Commission office in Austin? Hale asked. “The independent survey does not go through any other hands,” Murray said. The Commission staff examine the reports, he added, as they are received. “The Railroad Commission never found any deviated wells” before April, 1961? Hale inquired. “Yes, we occasionally found deviations, but not from these reports,” Murray said. “Did you find any reports were false?” “Yes, when a well was substantially deviated.” James R. Wendover of Dallas, president of Nortex Oil and Gas Corporation, said illegal production still goes on between lease operators and pipeline gaugers. He recommended that the legislature establish prison terms and heavy fines against individuals who intentionally slant wells and against anyone who files false reports. Report Sent To Washington AUSTIN A report on the firing of Dr. Rupert C. Koeninger, sociologist at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville, has been filed with the national office of the American Association of University Professors in Washington. A special Texas committee of the AAUP, headed by Dr. William J. Kilgore of Baylor, investigated the case. Kilgore said he could not disclose the committee’s findings. A standing committee of the AAUP which deals with academic freedom cases will examine the report. If the report is approved, it will probably be published in the AAUP Bulletin. Recommendations would be considered at the annual convention of the AAUP in San Francisco next spring. Censure action by the AAUP against the Sam Houston administration might involve loss of accreditation, not only of that school but of five other teachers colleges under the jurisdiction of the state teachers colleges board of regents. Among the other poll tax states deadlines range from three months of the primaries in Alabama to 18 months in Mississippi. It is obvious that the further the deadline from the election, the greater the reduction in paid voters, since interest only begins to run high after actual campaigning has begun. In most non-poll tax states, the regular closing date is nearer election than the deadline for poll tax payments in the five remaining states. A permanent voter registration system is also more conducive to voting than a yearly registration requirement. The 1949 amendment in Texas, while repealing the poll tax, would have retained the February 1 deadline, established annual registration, and allowed a 50 cents optional county fee. It was a highly conservative measure, and there were indications that some liberals opposed it at the time on grounds it merely substituted one form of poll tax for another. Unique Factors Poll tax repeal, coupled with a liberal registration system, might revolutionize Texas politics, some Austin insiders feel. They reason this way: Although in the six states of the Old Confederacy which have abolished the poll tax \(Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georrepeal did not bring tangible overnight changes, the political situation in Texas today is considerably different.. Texas politics are more organized and sophisticated than in the more conservative South, the issues more life-anddeath, the two minority groups more knowledgeable politically than the Negro minority in the other Southern states. Further, the trend toward an operative twoparty system is much further along here than elsewhere in the South. V. 0. Key, the most eminent scholar in recent years on Southern politics, wrote: “Certainly element in Southern electoral apathy than the complex of factors that make up the one-party system, of which the tax itself may be one.” Given the development of Texas politics in recent years, some Texas liberal& believe repeal would have a considerably more liberalizing effect here than it has elsewhere. There can be faint doubt that the poll tax has, indeed, contributed in some measure to low voter turnout in Texas, as in the other four states. Its dampening influence may have been exaggerated in many instances, but the fact remains that the five poll tax states accounted for five of the seven lowest percentage-of-voter participation in the 1960 Presidential election. The 1960 population of citizens over 21 in Texas was 5,534,277. The present figure on poll tax payments and exemptions is only 2,355,159. Just over 43 percent of the eligible population voted in Texas in 1960, a figure THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 August 31, 1962 FEDERAL AMENDMENT? which ranked 44th in the nation. Repeal Attempts The history of repeal efforts in Texas goes back as far as 1919, and a series of proposed constitutional amendments has been presented in the state legislature since then. “Purity of elections” and the threat to conservative supremacy embodied in the thenwaning Populist movement were apparently more significant motives than Negro disfranchisement in prompting the poll tax approval in 1902. A statement from Populist headquarters in Dallas just before the 1902 vote warned: “On Tuesday next, the laboring people will be called upon to vote for an amendment to our Constitution which, if carried out, will rob them of the liberties at the ballot box. Every laboring man who loves liberty, who believes in freedom of suffrage, who prizes his rights of citizenship should vote against the amendment.” During the 1938 governor’s race, W. Lee O’Daniel came out for repeal. After winning the Democratic nomination, his proposal was shouted down at the party convention in Beaumont. O’Daniel made a curious withdrawal, and did not choose to bring up the matter again. \(The New York Times reported that O’Daniel could not vote in the ’38 election because he had not paid his poll In 1948, Sen. Rogers Kelly of Hidalgo County initiated a movement to get a constitutional proposal out of the legislature. The 1948 state convention of the Democratic Party included repeal in its platform. Support came from diverse groups, both liberal and conservative. Speaker Rayburn, Cong. Wright Patman, and Sen. Lyndon Johnson made a statewide radio appeal for abolition, explaining they wanted to forestall federal action. The Dallas News, opposing the amendment, cited the $1.5 million from poll tax receipts which went to the public school fund and agrued if a person wasn’t willing to pay $1.75 to vote, he didn’t deserve the privilege. There were nine other amendments on the 1949 ballot, several of them highly controversial. Voters tended to go against all the amendments in a bloc \(alThe vote was light, and the count against repeal was 172,000-133,000, a 56 percent disapproval. The 36 counties which favored abolition were concentrated along the border and the Gulf Coast, with isolated counties in West Texas. No trends on the Negro issue were discernible. Duval, Zapata, Starr, and Webb Counties favored repeal by votes ranging from 90 to 99 percent. Congress Acts Resolutions in the legislature for constitutional appeal have been introduced fairly regularly ever since the 1949 vote, but none has emerged successfully. Congressional action this week, capping a 25-year effort in national politics, could well have a certain moral impact on Texas, the most politically advanced of the tiny band of poll-tax states. The threat of national action has always had a galvanizing effect on abolition attempts in the provinces. Vice-President Johnson may consider, his national prestige involved in efforts here to repeal the tax before the requisite 36 states act. And since 1949, there has been a gradual but steady change of sentiment in favor of abolishing what many consider an anachronism. Two differing views were expressed by Texans in the House this week. Cong. Thomas said “the right to vote without having to pay for it is an expression of “American democracy” and Republican Bruce Alger of Dallas responded: “I am against the poll tax. But we in Texas will change it in due time. We don’t need other states to tell us what to do.” Between Thomas’ “expression of American democracy” and Alger’s “due time,” the old and battered poll tax question has become a major Texas issue, with consequences no one can chart with complete accuracy. W.M. You Are Invited to an Appreciation Dinner Honoring DON YARBOROUGH Date: September 12 at 7:30 P.M. Holiday Inn, Odessa, Texas For Tickets Contact: Mrs. W. I. Dennis, OX 4-2825, Midland, Texas Dan Sullivan, LA 3-4145, Andrews, Texas Mrs. Lacy Turner, EM 6-2269, Odessa, Texas A Battered Issue Emerges
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