Dwight D. Eisenhower made his last speech as president on 17th January, 1961. Probably the most controversial speech of his career he gave the American people a serious warning about the situation that faced them: "Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence - economic, political, even spiritual - is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
The speech was written by two of Eisenhower’s advisers, Malcolm Moos and Ralph E. Williams. However, this was not the speech they had written. Eisenhower had made some important changes to the original draft. For example, Eisenhower’s speech is a warning about the future. He does not explain how he dealt with this problem during his presidency. After all, Eisenhower gave important posts to John McCone and Robert Anderson, two key figures in the “Military-Industrial Complex”. He was also the president who succumbed to the pressures of Tommy Corcoran to order the CIA to work with United Fruit in the overthrow of democratically elected government of President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. Eisenhower also encouraged and benefited from the activities of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. It was this fanatical anti-communism that fueled Cold War tensions and stimulated the arms race that was such an important ingredient in the development of the “Military-Industrial Complex”.
Another important aspect of the speech is that Eisenhower does not mention the role of politicians in this problem. This is strange as it was only through politicians that the military and the business community got what they wanted. This was one aspect of the speech that Eisenhower changed. In the original draft, Moos and Williams had used the phrase, the “Military-Industrial Congressional Complex”. This is of course a more accurate description of this relationship. However, to use the term “Congressional” would have highlighted the corruption that was taking place in the United States and illustrated the role played by Eisenhower in this scandal.
In 1950 the military budget was $13 billion; by the time John F. Kennedy had replaced Dwight D. Eisenhower this had risen to $47 billion. The easiest people to identify as members of the Military Industrial Congress Complex are those businessmen who ran and owned the large corporations that owed their wealth to lucrative government contracts. A study of these contracts issued between 1940 and 1960 enables the identification of such people as John McCone, Howard Hughes, Herman Brown, George R. Brown, Lawrence Bell, Frank Pace, Henry J. Kaiser and Steve Bechtel. The 1960 military budget included $21 billion for the purchase of goods.
Over 75% of these contracts went to a small group of large corporations. Eighty-six percent of these defense contracts were not awarded on bids. These large corporations relied heavily on a small group of lobbyists (sometimes called contact-men). These men provided the link between these businessmen and the politicians with the power to grant and approve government contracts. Important lobbyists working in this field included Tommy Corcoran, Irving Davidson, William Pawley, Clark Clifford, Bobby Baker and Fred Black.
However, as William Proxmire pointed out in a speech in 1969, retired military officers played an important role in the Military Industrial Congress Complex. He discovered that 2,072 retired military officers were employed by the 100 contractors who replied to his survey. This was an average of almost 22 per company. However, when he considered the ten most successful contracting companies, this increased to an average of 106. This included Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (210), Boeing Corporation (169), McDonnell Douglas Corporation (141), General Dynamics (113), North American Rockwell Corporation (104), General Electrics Company (89), Ling Temco Vought Incorporated (69), Westinghouse Electric Corporation (59), TRW Incorporated (56) and Hughes Aircraft Company (55).
Proxmire also attempted to identify the politicians who were members of the MICC. In his book, Report from Wasteland: America’s Military-Industrial Complex (1970) Proxmire, identified the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Richard Russell from Georgia, as a key figure in the MICC. He had previously been chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee. According to Proxmire it was while Russell held this position “that the huge C-5A contract went to Lockheed’s Marietta, Georgia, plant.” The Air Force Contract Selection Board originally selected Boeing that was located in the states of Washington and Kansas. However, Proxmire claimed that Russell was able to persuade the board to change its mind and give the C-5A contract to Lockhead.
Proxmire quotes Howard Atherton, the mayor of Marietta, as saying that “Russell was key to landing the contract”. Atherton added that Russell believed that Robert McNamara was going ahead with the C-5A in order to “give the plane to Boeing because Boeing got left out on the TFX fighter.” According to Atherton, Russell got the contract after talking to Lyndon Baines Johnson. Atherton added, “without Russell, we wouldn’t have gotten the contract”.
Lyndon Johnson was indeed the most important member of the MICC in Congress during Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency. As Majority Party leader, Johnson decided the membership of the various Congressional committees. Johnson was therefore the key figure in the MICC. As Atherton pointed out, Boeing was expected to get the TFX contract. Instead it went to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas, Johnson’s home state.
A study of the TFX contract reveals the way that the MICC worked. In the 1950s General Dynamics was America’s leading military contractors. For example, in 1958 it obtained $2,239,000,000 worth of government business. This was a higher figure than those obtained by its competitors, such as Lockheed, Boeing, McDonnell and North American. More than 80 percent of the firm’s business came from the government. However, the company lost $27 million in 1960 and $143 million in 1961. According to an article by Richard Austin Smith in Fortune Magazine, General Dynamics was close to bankruptcy. Smith claimed that “unless it gets the contract for the joint Navy-Air Force fighter (TFX)… the company was down the road to receivership”.
General Dynamics was in a good position to get the TFX (F-111) contract. The president of the company was Frank Pace, the Secretary of the Army (April, 1950-January, 1953). The Deputy Secretary of Defense in 1962 was Roswell Gilpatric, who before he took up the post, was chief counsel for General Dynamics Corporation. The Secretary of the Navy in 1962 was Fred Korth. He had been appointed by John F. Kennedy after strong lobbying by his vice president, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Korth from Fort Worth, Texas, was the former president of the Continental Bank, which had loaned General Dynamics considerable sums of money during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Korth told the McClellan committee that investigated the granting of the TFX contract to General Dynamics “that because of his peculiar position he had deliberately refrained from taking a directing hand in this decision (within the Navy) until the last possible moment.”
I. F. Stone argues: “The only document the McClellan committee investigators were able to find in the Pentagon in favour of that award, according to their testimony, was a five-page memorandum signed by McNamara, Korth, and Eugene Zuckert, then Secretary of the Air Force.” Later, Robert McNamara justified his support for General Dynamics because “Boeing had from the very beginning consistently chosen more technically risky tradeoffs in an effort to achieve operational features which exceeded the required performance characteristics.” During the McClellan committee hearings, Senator Sam Ervin asked McNamara “whether or not there was any connection whatever between your selection of General Dynamics, and the fact that the Vice President of the United States happens to be a resident of the state in which that company has one of its principal, if not its principal office.”
Several journalists speculated that Lyndon Baines Johnson played a key role in obtaining the TFX contract for General Dynamics. This was confirmed when Don B. Reynolds testified in a secret session of the Senate Rules Committee. As Victor Lasky pointed out, Reynolds “spoke of the time Bobby Baker opened a satchel full of paper money which he said was a $100,000 payoff for Johnson for pushing through a $7billion TFX plane contract.”
Burkett Van Kirk, chief counsel for the Republican minority on the Senate Rules Committee later told Seymour Hersh that Senator John Williams of Delaware was being fed information by Robert Kennedy about the involvement of Johnson and Bobby Baker in a series of scandals. Williams, the Senate’s leading investigator of corruption, passed this information to the three Republicans (John John Sherman Cooper, Hugh Scott and Carl Curtis) on the ten-member Rules Committee. However, outnumbered, they were unable to carry out a full investigation into Johnson and Baker. Van Kirk claimed that Kennedy supplied this information because he wanted “to get rid of Johnson.”
In his autobiography, Forty Years Against the Tide, Carl Curtis gives an insider view of the attempted investigation into the activities of Bobby Baker, Walter Jenkins and Fred Black. According to Curtis, Lyndon Johnson managed to persuade the seven Democrats to vote against hearing the testimony of important witnesses. This included Margaret Broome, who served as Bobby Baker’s secretary before the position was taken by Carole Tyler, who later became his mistress. Tyler did testify but refused to answer questions on the ground that she might incriminate herself. Tyler was later to die in an airplane crash on the beach near the Carousel Motel, owned by Bobby Baker.
In his autobiography, Curtis described Baker, Jenkins and Black as “contact men”. He added: “Contact-men existed primarily to obtain for their clients and themselves some share of the vast pool of riches in the possession of swollen centralized political bureaucracies. The more impressive a contact-man’s political connections, the better he and his clients would fare.”
The investigation into the role Johnson and Baker played in obtaining the TFX contract came to an abrupt end. The original contract was for 1,700 planes at a total cost of $5.8 billion, or about $3 million per plane. By the time they were delivered they cost over $9.5 million per plane. General Dynamics had been saved from bankruptcy by the TFX contract. Frank Pace had every reason to thank the Military Industrial Congressional Complex.
As I. F. Stone pointed out, it was “the last possible moment” which counted. “Three times the Pentagon’s Source Selection Board found that Boeing’s bid was better and cheaper than that of General Dynamics and three times the bids were sent back for fresh submissions by the two bidders and fresh reviews. On the fourth round, the military still held that Boeing was better but found at last that the General Dynamics bid was also acceptable.”
Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.
This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen...
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence - economic, political, even spiritual - is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
According to President Kennedy's secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, Bobby Kennedy was also investigating Bobby Baker for tax evasion and fraud. This had reached the point where the President himself discussed the Baker investigation with his secretary, and allegedly told her that his running mate in 1964 would not be Lyndon Johnson. The date of this discussion was November 19, 1963, the day before the President left for Texas.
A Senate Rules Committee investigation into the Bobby Baker scandal was indeed moving rapidly to implicate Lyndon Johnson, and on a matter concerning a concurrent scandal and investigation. This was the award of a $7-billion contract for a fighter plane, the TFX, to a General Dynamics plant in Fort Worth. Navy Secretary Fred Korth, a former bank president and a Johnson man, had been forced to resign in October 1963, after reporters discovered that his bank, the Continental National Bank of Fort Worth, was the principal money source for the General Dynamics plant.
When Bobby Baker began as a page in 1943, his salary was $1,460 a year. Yet he soon became a wealthy man. The minority report of the committee that investigated his activities (filed on July 8, 1964) had this to say about Baker's amassing of wealth:
"According to financial statements submitted by Baker, he had a net worth of $11,025 as of May 3, 1954. As of February 1, 1963, Baker claimed a net worth of $2,166,886. It is agreed, however, that this latter figure carried errors and exaggerations. After the known errors are taken into account, Baker's claimed net worth would be $1,664, 287. However, it may well be contended that Baker over-valued his Serv-U Corporation stock, with its very lucrative contracts in plants having huge government defense contracts, as well as his stock in the Mecklenburg enterprises and his land near Silver Springs, Maryland. If these assets are carried at their actual cost, Baker still would have a net worth of $447,849. It is obvious that these three assets were very valuable and their value had increased considerably over Baker's initial investment."
The Committee's records show that between January, 1959, and November, 1963, Baker and his associates had borrowed $2,784,338 from lending institutions. These loans had come from twenty-four banks and other lending institutions. The Committee's investigator also reported that Baker's share in approximately six different loans was $1,704,538.
All the time that Baker was making himself a man of wealth, he continued to serve as a most important and influential employee of the United States Senate.
Fred B. Black, Jr., a management consultant whose clients included North American Aviation and Melpar, Inc., and who was associated with Baker in several business ventures, said that the late Senator Robert S. Kerr, of Oklahoma, had told him that outside of his sons and his wife, he never knew and loved a person so much as he did Bobby Baker; that there was nothing Kerr would not do for Baker if he would ask him. Later Black said that he and Baker and the Serv-U Corporation had borrowed over half a million dollars from Kerr's Oklahoma City Bank.
Baker's operations became a subject of some discussion, raising questions in the minds of several senators and Senate employees. Eventually, on September 9, 1963, a law-suit was filed by Ralph L. Hill, president of the Capitol Vending Company, which alleged wrongdoing and the use of governmental influence in Baker's business dealings.
In his suit, Hill alleged that Baker had employed political influence to obtain contracts in defense plants for his own vending-machine firm, called Serv-U Corporation. Hill also charged that Baker had accepted $5,600 for securing a vending-machine franchise for Capitol Vending with Melpar, Inc., a defense plant in Virginia. Hill stated that after Capitol had secured the contract with Melpar, Baker had tried to persuade Capitol Vending to sell out to the Serv-U Corporation; and that when Capitol refused to sell its stock to Serv-U, Baker had conspired maliciously to interfere with Capitol's contract with Melpar. The suit contended that Baker had told Fred B. Black, Jr., that he, Baker, was in a position to help obtain contracts with the government. Hill said that in return, North American (to which Black was a consultant) entered into an agreement to permit Serv-U to install vending machines in its Californian plants.
The filing of this suit brought to light many unpleasant facts, reflecting not only on Bobby Baker but on those men about him and on the Senate generally.
At this point, Senator John Williams, of Delaware, began to take an active part. Williams was a man beyond reproach, sincere and intelligent and dedicated. During his service in the Senate he was rightly referred to as "the conscience of the Senate." He was an expert investigator, tenacious and courageous. Senator Williams became the prime mover in bringing about the investigation of Baker.
On October 3, 1963, Williams went to Senator Mike Mansfield, the majority leader, and to Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen, the minority leader, and arranged for them to call Baker before the leadership at a closed meeting on October 8. It was Senator Williams' plan to confront Baker with questions about his activities. Bobby Baker never appeared before the Senate's leadership: the day before his scheduled appearance he resigned his post with its salary of $19,600.
Senator Mansfield, announcing Bobby Baker's resignation, said that "Baker has discharged his official duties for eight years with great intelligence and understanding. His great ability and his dedication to the Majority and to the Senate will be missed." Developments during recent weeks, however, Senator Mansfield continued, had made it apparent that it would be best if Baker withdrew from office. "I deeply regret the necessity for his resignation and the necessity for its acceptance."
Senator Williams introduced a resolution calling upon the Committee on Rules and Administration to conduct an investigation of the financial and business interests and possible improprieties of any Senate employee or former employee. On October 10, 1963, the Senate adopted this resolution by voice vote.
The Committee on Rules and Administration was made up of nine members, six Democrats and three Republicans. The Committee's chairman was B. Everett Jordan, Democrat, of North Carolina. The other Democratic members were Carl Hayden, of Arizona; Claiborne Pell, of Rhode Island; Joseph Clark, of Pennsylvania; Howard W. Cannon, of Nevada; and Robert C. Byrd, of West Virginia. The Republican members were John Sherman Cooper, of Kentucky; Hugh Scott, of Pennsylvania; and Carl T. Curtis.
This Committee held its first meeting for the Baker investigation on October 29. Senator Williams, testifying in closed session, recommended that the Committee investigate the FBI files of a deported East German woman, a Mrs. Ellen Rometsch (otherwise known as Elli Rometsch), who had been identified in news stories as a "party girl" associating with lobbyists and members of Congress. He urged also that the Committee look into Baker's transactions with the Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation; into the large sums of cash given by Bobby Baker to Mrs. Gertrude Novak, wife of a business partner of Baker; into the vending contract referred to in Hill's suit against Baker.
Additionally, Williams recommended that the Committee investigate circumstances surrounding the rapid growth of the Serv-U Corporation, Baker's company; charges against Baker with reference to irregularities connected with the Senate payroll of pages and other employees working under Baker; Baker's brokerage-fee from the Haitian-American Meat Provision Company. The Committee should look into the transactions between Baker and Don Reynolds connected with Reynolds' selling of insurance to Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, Williams continued. The Committee should check the performance-bond for the building of the stadium at Washington.
Having heard Senator Williams, the three Republicans on the Committee requested that the Committee hire outside counsel to conduct the investigation. This move was opposed by the six Democrats on the Committee. Chairman Jordan, presently yielding to public pressure, announced on November 13 that L. F. McLendon, a lawyer from Jordan's home state of North Carolina, was appointed outside counsel.
The Committee on Rules and Administration needed to agree on some procedures. In this the Committee received considerable help from the Subcommittee on Investigations of the Government Operations Committee, headed by Senator John McClellan, of Arkansas. McClellan had followed a procedure of first calling a witness-particularly a controversial witnessin a closed session of the Committee, to inform the Committee what to expect and how to frame their questions. Later the witness would be called in public session. In the investigation of Baker, this rule was not followed, as we shall see later in this account of the great cover-up.
Bobby Baker was a highly successful contact-man. During and after the Second World War, on either side of the Atlantic, the contact-man loomed large. Contact-men existed primarily to obtain for their clients and themselves some share of the vast pool of riches in the possession of swollen centralized political bureaucracies. The more impressive a contact-man's political connections, the better he and his clients would fare. Professor W. L. Burn, in England, well described this international phenomenon:
"One may imagine the stage festooned with forms, applications for licenses, refusals of licenses, checks that failed to command confidence and agreements that failed to produce the desired result. Music is supplied by the ringing of the telephone, the prelude to ambiguous and improbable conversations; and through the half-lit jungle, from public dinner to government department, from government department to sherry party, glides the contact-man, at once the product and the safety-valve of this grotesque civilization."
In Washington, Bobby Baker had become a principal actor in such tragi-comic dramas.
Baker was called as a witness early in the investigation, appearing both in a closed session and in a public session. He had received a subpoena directing him to appear and to produce certain documents. Senator Curtis requested him to submit the required records. Baker refused. The following extracts from the Committee's hearings may suffice to suggest Baker's response. (It should be remembered in this connection that a witness's refusal to answer on the ground that he might incriminate himself raises a legitimate presumption that indeed the witness has committed some act which might subject him to a criminal prosecution.)
Replying to Senator Curtis, Baker refused to produce the desired records. He declared that he had so informed the committee earlier, and therefore should not have been called back to repeat his position.
"Today's proceedings are an unconstitutional invasion by the legislative branch into the proper function of the judiciary," Baker argued. "I do not intend to participate as a defendant witness in a legislative trial of myself, when my counsel has no right to cross-examine my accusers, or summon witnesses in my defense, and when the testimony has been taken both in secret and in the open."
Baker continued that the records were not "pertinent to any bona fide legislative purpose." A case pending in the U. S. District Court of the District of Columbia, he mentioned, in volved some of the documents called for. "I am presently being investigated by two agencies of the executive branch, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. To force production of these records against this background would be to do indirectly for these agencies what they cannot lawfully do direct. " Moreover, his "privacy of communication" had been invaded by government personnel, so he was refusing to provide any additional information to government agents. Baker concluded by invoking "the protection of the first, the fourth, the fifth, and the sixth amendments of the Constitution, and I specifically invoke the privilege against selfincrimination."
So it went through the questioning of Bobby Baker. Altogether, he "took the Fifth" in response to a hundred and twenty questions.
Senator Curtis asked him, "Will you advise the committee whether or not you acquired the cash referred to by Mrs. Novak in the course of your duties as secretary to the Majority of the U. S. Senate?" Baker "stood on his previous answer" that is, refused to answer the question.
Later, Curtis inquired, "Mr. Baker, a previous witness, Mr. Hill, testified under oath that he paid to you the sum of $250 for a number of months for the purpose of securing and keeping a contract which his company, the Capitol Vending Company, had with a government-contracting defense plant. Will you advise us whether or not Mr. Hill's testimony is true?"
Baker refused. Still later, Curtis told him: "Now, Mr. Baker, I hope that you will consider this question carefully, and the rights of all people involved. The witness, Mr. Don Reynolds, has testified that he gave to one Lyndon Johnson a hi-fi set costing something over five hundred dollars. Statements have been made elsewhere that you were the giver of the gift. Will you tell this committee whether or not you made that gift?"
Baker refused. Then came a related key question from Senator Curtis:
"Mr. Baker - Mr. Reynolds, while under oath, testified before this committee concerning this hi-fi gift. He produced certain canceled checks and invoices. He also testified that he purchased $1,200 worth of television time on a TV station in A-astin, Texas. My question is: did you have any part in that transaction?"
Baker refused to answer that question, too, and many more.
It became clear in the course of the investigation that Baker's secretary, Nancy Carole Tyler, had assisted Baker in business transactions handled in his office and during his travels; and that she had handled funds involved in these transactions.
Subpoenaed, Tyler was asked by McLendon, the Committee's counsel, certain important questions. Counsel inquired about trips made by Baker to Los Angeles in connection with the business of the Serv-U Corporation; and when Tyler had resigned her position with Baker, secretary to the majority. Tyler refused to answer on the ground that she might incriminate herself.
The Committee learned no more from Carole Tyler; before the investigation ended, Tyler died suddenly and somewhat mysteriously in an airplane crash on the beach near the Carousel Motel, owned by Bobby Baker.
The key witness in the investigation was Don Reynolds, an insurance agent in the Washington area. He and Baker had been friends, and Baker was an officer in Don Reynolds, Inc., although Baker had not supplied any money for the forming ot that company. Reynolds had been associated in, or was familiar with, many of Bobby Baker's transactions that were under investigation. After consulting with his wife and with Senator Williams, Reynolds decided to testify in full, under oath, whenever called upon by the Committee.
Reynolds said that he had sold insurance on the life of Lyndon Baines Johnson in the amount of two hundred thousand dollars; and that he had to make a "kickback" on the premium he received. The transaction with Johnson had been conducted through Walter Jenkins, a close aide to Johnson. (Jenkins later was disgraced by his arrest for soliciting homosexual acts in the men's room at the YMCA, late in 1964.) Baker had arranged Reynolds' appointment with Jenkins. Facing competition, Reynolds had bought $1,208 in advertising on Johnson's television station in Austin; Reynolds had re-sold this advertising contract, losing $1,100 on the deal. (This "kickback" arrangement had occurred while Lyndon Johnson still was senator from Texas.)
"Why did you purchase the television time?" Senator Curtis asked.
Mr. Reynolds: "Mr. Jenkins, in his discussion with me, showed me a letter from Mr. Huff Baines, indicating that if he had the privilege of writing. . .that he would purchase so much advertising time on the local- station, KTBC."
Under more questioning from Curtis, it turned out that Station KTBC, in Austin, was owned by the LBJ Company. Reynolds went on: "And I told him that although I might not be able to do the same as far as dollar volume, that I would do the best I could, consistent with the fact that the contract I had offered him was the most favorable, if you exclude any question of advertising, sir."
Curtis proceeded to obtain from Reynolds the testimony that Walter Jenkins had informed him he was expected to buy advertising from Lyndon Johnson's television station if he wanted the insurance contract. He had sold the contracted advertising time to Albert G. Young, president of Mid-Atlantic Stainless Steel, "because I saw no use whatsoever for Don Reynolds, who was unknown in Texas, sir, to get people to listen to something they had no interest in, nor could they." Walter Jenkins had confirmed this deal by telephone to Young, whose firm sold pots and pans. After Jenkins had called him, Young went to Austin and utilized the advertising facilities of KTBC; this was corroborated by Young's canceled checks, invoices, and correspondence, shown to the Committee.
This testimony obviously alarmed the majority members of the Committee and the Committee's counsel. At the time of this investigation, Lyndon Baines Johnson was President of the United States; Walter Jenkins was one of the President's aides in the White House, handling much of Johnson's private business. Lyndon Baines Johnson had entered Congress a man of very modest means; but by the time he assumed the presidency, he was a very rich man.
A principal source of Johnson's wealth appeared to be the television station he had acquired in Austin. KTCB was the only television station licensed in Austin; and every other city in the United States, the size of Austin, had at least two television stations. Such licenses were issued by the Federal Communications Commission, upon which political influence might be exercised by persons in power not overly scrupulous. How had Johnson and his family obtained a monopoly of Austin television? To what additional awkward testimony about KTCB might the statements of Reynolds and Young lead if this subject should be pursued?
Therefore, in an effort to prevent Walter Jenkins - former Senate employee, now a White House aide-from being called before the Committee to give sworn testimony, Counsel McLendon had Jenkins sign an affidavit: an affidavit unique in that Jenkins swore to the truth of a memorandum which was written by the Committee's chief counsel and chief investigator. This curious memorandum, referring to Jenkins, stated, "Nor does he have any knowledge of any arrangements by which Reynolds purchased advertising time on the TV station. "
Unimpressed by this remarkable document, Senator Curtis further questioned Reynolds. "Well, then," he asked the witness, "do you agree or disagree with this statement of Jenkins that Mr. McLendon, our counsel, has put in the record, as a statement, not of oral testimony but sworn to before a notary public: `Nor does he have any knowledge of any arrangements by which Reynolds purchased advertising time on the TV station.' You would disagree with that?"
Reynolds disagreed completely with the statement. In further testimony, it was learned that Huff Baines, of Austin, Reynolds' alleged competitor for the sale of insurance to Lyndon Baines Johnson, was a cousin of Johnson, and had sold a number of policies on the lives of people connected with the LBJ Company. Even though Reynolds had offered a better insurance contract than Baines had, it appeared, he had been required to provide advertising revenue to the Johnson station and the gift of a high-fidelity set as sweeteners, lest the contract be awarded to kinsman Baines. And Baker had made the deal.
Throughout these hearings, the Republican members of the Committee - Cooper, Scott, and Curtis - repeatedly endeavored to have Walter Jenkins called as a witness. Jenkins had been employed by Johnson for years. It was well established that he had handled many of Johnson's business concerns. The information given to the Committee by Reynolds clearly conflicted with the memorandum to which Jenkins had subscribed.
This could be resolved only by calling Jenkins as a witness. On March 23, 1964, occurred a roll call on the question of calling Jenkins; the vote went along party lines. Why did these six prominent Democratic senators, several of them leaders of their party, vote against hearing and cross-examining Jenkins? After all, this elusive Jenkins had been an employee of the Senate; he enjoyed no senatorial immunity, nor was he the beneficiary of the usual "senatorial courtesy" tradition. The determined and successful fight by the Committee's majority to prevent the receiving of Jenkins' testimony may have been waged not to protect Walter Jenkins or Bobby Baker, but rather Jenkins ' principal - Lyndon B. Johnson.
The purchase of time on the LBJ broadcasting station was not the only kickback required of Don Reynolds for selling insurance on Lyndon Johnson, for Reynolds was requested to provide a hi-fi set for Senator Johnson. Reynolds, questioned by McLendon, stated that he had bought a Magnavox stereo set, costing him $584.75, and installed it in Senator Johnson's Washington residence (also paying for the installation) in 1959. But Mrs. Johnson had found the set unsatisfactory: it did not fit the space for which she had intended it. In response to questioning from two Democratic senators, Reynolds made it clear that Bobby Baker had told him to give the set to Senator Johnson, and that Johnson knew Reynolds to be the donor.
At a news conference, Johnson had told a reporter that the set was a gift from Bobby Baker. There were two witnesses who might clear up the questions as to whether the set was given by Baker or whether it was an obligation put upon Reynolds for his opportunity to sell life insurance to Johnson. Those two witnesses were Baker and Jenkins. Baker took the Fifth Amendment, refusing to testify on the ground that he might be incriminated. Walter Jenkins, protected by the Committee's majority, was not called to testify.
Later that year, in the closing days of the Johnson-Goldwater race for the presidency, television technicians in Los Angeles wore a large round button, on which was inscribed the legend, "Johnson, Baker, Jenkins. The family that plays together stays together. "