474-1895 1610 Lavaca Austin, Texas 78701 AAGAZ IN ES IN DALLAS: 4528 McKINNEY AVE. RICHARDSON: 508 LOCKWOOD FARMERS BRANCH SHOPPING CTR., SW CORNER, VALLEY VIEW IN WACO: 25TH & COLUMBUS IN AUSTIN: 1514 LAVACA 6103 BURNET RD. EARTH SHOE STORE . Union printing with cornpetitive prices. Support the movement, help us build the ideal. Come to I.D.A. for : your printing needs. 901 W. 24th St., Austin 477-3641 mans 1:4′ 15 ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JI3IPPERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip that Holmgreen “attributed all of the irregularities which he noted to Salas.” But then began a fancy dance which ended the inquiry without a serious investigation. Partners in the maneuvering and buckpassing were the U.S. attorneys in Houston, Eckhardt and Odem, and the Justice Department’s Clark and Campbell. “It appears,” Eckhardt wrote Clark on Nov. 13, “that there may have been some irregularities in connection with the voting at Box 13 in Jim Wells County. However, in our opinion because of the loss or destruction of the necessary records it would not now be possible to prove beyond reasonable doubt that an offense against the laws of the United States had been committed.” But, Eckhardt added, if Justice believed that a conviction could be obtained without the original voting records, “then an additional investigation should be made to contact individually persons mentioned in the transcript of [Judge Davidson’s ] proceedings in Fort Worth. Otherwise it is our opinion that the case should be closed without prosecution.” In a Jan. 6, 1949, letter to Odem, Campbell agreed that without the relevant records the prosecution would be seriously handicapped, but noted that he “would appreciate being advised further concerning the destruction of the voting records herein, a description of the records, the circumstances surrounding their destruction, etc. We would also be interested in any further observations or views you may care to express.” Prodded to investigate what Campbell had told Hoover to ignore, Eckhardt on Jan. 18 wrote Tom Clark, recommending what was essentially a recount of the Jim Wells ballots and discussing the possible prosecution of Salas: “It is our opinion that it is not possible to determine whether a violation of the applicable Federal statutes has been committed without a recount being had of the ballots cast at the primary election in question. In this connection it is noted that these records are intact in the custody of the District Clerk of Jim Wells County, Texas. “Should a recount of the ballots reveal an error in the official count as alleged by Mr. J. E. Holmgreen and Mr. H. L. Poole, this fact in addition to the testimony of the above-named witnesses might be sufficient to secure a conviction as to defendant Luis Salas. It is therefore suggested that the election returns should be subpoenaed re the Grand Jury meeting in Corpus Christi on March 21, 1949, be examined and counted at that time with appropriate aid being given to the Grand Jury by the FBI in connection with the actual count.” . . ..from page 11 Attached to the letter are unidentified handwritten notes to Campbell, “for forthcoming call to Odem,” Eckhardt’s superior. \(Holmgreen had told the FBI he had tried to bring the voting irregularities to the attention of a state grand jury, but the jurors would not see County Grand Jury fully considered case, including above, may be basis for Department not considering it further. Informal inquiry re County Grand Jury Grand Jury make a written report?” Perhaps the FBI was looking for a way to avoid Truman’s wrath. One might presume that Campbell phoned Odem. Before them was Eckhardt’s letter that in effect recommended an FBI probe of the goings-on in Jim Wells County and contemplated prosecution of Salas. On Jan. 20, Odem solved the problem. He wrote Campbell: Replying to your letter of January 6 .. . I am of the opinion that it would be an insurmountable burden to make a case .. . in view of the known fact that all of the Duval County ballots, tally sheets, and voting records were destroyed by burning by the Courthouse janitor of Duval County. It is also my information that the ballots and records of Precinct 13 of Jim Wells County have also been destroyed and are unavailable; there is very little, if any, direct evidence of fraud. Most of the information is hearsay, or conclusions of witnesses or interested parties. “Accordingly, in view of the foregoing, it is my recommendation that prosecution be declined in this case.” The FBI concluded that its agents just could not crack the case, and that was the end of it. With the Democrats in the saddle, the Senate subcommittee on privileges and elections unanimously ruled for Johnson. His senatorship was confirmed. Finally, on Oct. 3, 1949, Peyton Ford, an assistant attorney general, wrote the new senator: “The investigation was made for the purpose of determining whether in connection [with the Democratic senatorial nomination in Texas ] the civil rights of any person were violated. 4 4 . . when any violations of civil rights are ascertained, prompt and vigorous prosecution follows. Insofar as the instant matter is concerned, no such prosecutions have been justified. “I can advise you . . . that the Department has no evidence which would tend to indicate that you had any knowledge of, or were in any way connected with, any of the matters which were the subject of the complaints to the Department.” R.D. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17
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