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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 3, 1911)
HOVEMBER 3, 1911
A BIT OF HISTORY
Now that the law has been enactod compell
ing publicity of campaign contributions before
the election, the attention of Commoner readers Is
called to the fact that as early as Juno 28, 1007,
moro than a year before tho national convention
of 1908, Mr. Bryan made a speech in New York
in which ho urged that the publication should
bo before tho election. The plan was suggested
to him by Hon. J. E. Miller, of Lincoln, Neb.,
and was then presented by Mr. Bryan to those
who were leading tho publicity fight Tho
following extract will givo tho reasons then
advanced by him:
Tho objection to tho campaign funds that are
contributed secretly, and spent secretly, Is that
they aro contributed for a purpose that tho publio
does not understand, and to carry out a policy
against the public. Thut is tho objection wo havo
to campaign contributions contributed and ex
pended secretly. This question would not arise
but for tho existence In this country of great cor
porations that have an interest In legislation. If
we had no corporations tho chances are that no
individual would bo personally and pecuniarily
Interested enough in legislation to contribute any
largo amount that is, larger than his patriotic
lmpulso would lead him to contribute. But when
wo havo great corporations that not only recelvo
tholr chartors from tho government, but oven aslc
favors of the legislatures, or if they do not ask
favors of the legislatures, ask Immunity from tho
executive because wo havo theso great corpora
tions,, it has becomo tho custom to run campaigns
with funds' supplied secretly and used secretly;
after tho election tho -people who subscribed tho
funds dominate tho government and tho pcopla
who do tho voting aro betrayed by thoso for whom
That Is tho situation, and beforo a remedy can
be suggested tho situation must bo understood.
Now, this evil has not been confined to ono party.
A very interesting bit of testimony was brought
out In the investigation of the sugar trust.
- Mr. Havemeyor testified that he had been in
the habit of contributing to campaign funds, to
ono party in ono state, to another party in another
state, according to the political complexion of
, How are you going to stoip it? In tho first
place, a law making it unlawful for a corporation
to contribute to a campaign fund will go a good
ways. But that is not sufficient. I would not bo
Willing to stop at that to merely proyent a cor
poration from contributing to campaign funds. If
wo had a law forbidding corporations to contrlbuto
to campaign funds you would find that there wero
no corporations that contributed, but that In
dividuals did, who represented the corporations.
And it is too difficult a task to show that the"
individual gets tho money out of the- corporation,
to make the contribution, for if a few men control
the corporation tho man at tho head of it may pay
tho money out of his own pocket today and ho
may , not bo reimbursed for two or three or five
years hence. If evasions of that kind aro possible,
tho law is not sufficient.
What else is necessary? I bellove there Is ono
thing possible. That is that tho large contribu
tions, no matter from whom they come, shall be
made known; for when we see tho head of a trust,
or other corporation Interested in legislation, con
tributing a large sum of money, wo know that ho
is not doing it for himself, but that he is doing
It for tho corporation, or because of his interest
therein, and that he expects to get back in legis
lation more than ho contributed to tho campaign
. If wo aro going to havo publications, which I
regard as necessary, then another question -arises.
"When shall tho publication be made? Now I want
to present a thought on this phase of tho subject.
I believo that tho publication should be made be
fore tho election, and I will tell you why. In a
campaign the parties may deny that they are get
ting any money at all from corporations or from
Jiersons representing or acting for corporations or
nterested in corporations. I havo known state
ments of that kind to be made when they wero
not founded on fact, and I am afraid we have not
had such a regeneration of tho Individual that they
might not bo made in tho future. And when the
published statement is delayed until after tho
election what redress have tho people? Tho sale
has been made; the men havo been elected. The
peoplo can not recall their votes. What can they
do then? Wait until tho next election. It would
bo claimed at the next election by the party
guilty of tho offense that the persons in charge
of the last campaign were put out and an entirely
new set pledged to reform put in and thus the
people might bo fooled again. And tho party
that can get into power usually has enough men
to keep up the delusion. And, of course, after
two or threo campaigns they are changed and
they come back and use the first set again, because
by that time these are supposed to have a change
of heart so that they would not again do wron.
My faith in the doctrine that you can fool all
the people some of tho time and some of tho people
all of the time was a little shaken by an explana
tion I once heard, namely, that It is not necessary
to fool all tho people all the time. Fool some
this year and somo next, and some the next, and
then the fourth year you can fool the first set
The only way I see eut of it is to compel the
publication beforo the election, and then when the
people see where the campaign money is coming-
, from they will have a right to form their opinion
as to the reason for the contribution.
The Commoner. 3
"Religion is One Thing and Politics is Another, Mr. Scharf '
So Say the Knights of Columbus
Prom the Washington (D. O.) Bulletin: "The determined fight mndo by Representative Ben
Johnson, chairman of the houso district committeo, and William J. Dwycr, to oust Kmil Ju
Scharf from membership ia tho Washington council of the Knights of ColmiihiiM in this city, hae
met with success. On trustworthy authority it is understood Unit Uic hoard of directors of that
organization recently expelled Schnrf from tho order. Tho chnrgo made hy Representative lien
Johnson and substantiated hy evidence adduced by Representative Cox, of Indiana, and Mr.
Dwycr, that Scharf had been using Uio order and Ujo church for political purposes, was amply
proven. It was also alleged that Scharf, while in tho employ of the naUonal republican committee,
had sought to alienate Catholic votors froni Bryan to Taft during tho last presidential campaign.
Tho action of Uio Knights of Columbus is significant and will have a wholesome cfTcct on the
order in tho future. It meaas that whilo individuals are members of the Catholic church and
members of tho Knights of Columbus Uio order will not tolerate tho mixing of religion with
poliUcs. Religion is ono Uilng and politics or economic questions is anoUicr. The two can not mix'
able delays in tho administration of civil and
criminal law havo received the attention of com
mittees of the American Bar association.
I do not doubt for one moment that much of
tho lawless violence and cruelty exhibited in
lynchings is directly due to tho uncertainties
and injustice growing out of tho delays in trials,
judgments and tho executions thereof by our
In his message of December, 1910, ho said:
"One groat, crying need in the United States Is
the cheapening of the cost of litigation by
simplifying judicial procedure and expediting
final judgment. Under present conditions, tho
poor man is at a woeful disadvantage in a legal
contest with a corporation or a rich opponent."
Much else In the same strain might be quoted
from tho president's utterances suggesting,
certainly, that his conceptions of heaven are
Away back in 1895, Mr. Taft then & judge
of the United States circuit court, said:
"Tho opportunity freely and publicly to criti
cise judicial acUon is of vastly more Impor
tance to the body politic than the immunity of
courts and judges from unjust aspersion and
attack. But non-professional crltl
ticism also is by no means without its uses, even
if accompanied, as It often Is, by direct attack
upon tho judicial fairness and motives pf the
occupants of the "bench; for Jf the law is but
tho essenco of common-sense Uio protests of
many average men may evidence a defect In
judicial conclusions, though based on the
nicest legal reasoning and profonndest learn
ing." Saturday Evening Post.
MR. TAFT'S IDEA OP HEAVEN
Press reports of the president's speech at
Pocatello, Idaho, contain the following: 1
love judges and I lovo courts. They are my
ideals on earth that typify what we shall meet
Hereafter in Heaven under a just God."
In his first annual message to congress, De
cember, 1909, Mr. Taft said: "The deploy
HOW THE TRUSTS DESTROY COMPETITORS
From the news columns of the Now York
World: Testimony in support of his allegations
that the Standard Oil company put him out of
business and otherwise injured him was given
recently by John J. Moran in his suit to recover
$31,000 from the trust, of which $25,000 is for
loss of trade and $6,000 for commissions on tho
sale of Oil trust products. Tho trial is beforo
Justice Brown and a jury in Uio supremo court.
Moran alleges that in 1901 ho was a pros
perous dealer in oils and painters' supplies in
East Fifty-second street and that the Standard
Oil company, recognizing tho extent of his busi
ness, made overtures to him to handle its pro
ducts. He says he finally consented, but that the
oils, putty and whiting supplied by the trust
were so inferior that he received many com
plaints, his customers stating the goods were
not of the same quality as previously supplied by
Ho showed Uio complaints to the Standard
Oil officials and was promised that "everything
would be made right," but complaints continued
to come In, and he not only lost most of his
trade, but had to make allowances to many
customers to whom he had forwarded poor
At last he accepted a situation with tho trust
as a salesman, but ninety days after he had
entered its employment an cxease was found, he
alleges, to discharge him.
The Standard Oil company made a counter
claim against Moran for $15,000 for goods re
ceived by him for which it is alleged he did not
"Tell us about some of the goods the Standard
Oil company furnished you which were objected
to?" asked Moran's counsel, Col. W. C. Beecher.
"Well," replied Moran, "they sent me some
oil which was guaranteed to be pure linseed
oil, but as far as I could ascertain It was either
benzine or resin oil, or something of that kind.
It wasn't linseed oil, anyhow."
"What did yoa do?"
"I made a complaint to Henry Mayles of tho
Standard Oil company, and said I had to re
fund money to somo of my customers."
"What did Mr. Mayles say to you?"
"Ho said: 'Why didn't you destroy tho ovN
donco?' This was when I was sued by a custo
mer for the valuo of the Inferior goods."
"Did you over say anything to Mr. James O.
Nowcombo about that incident?"
Mr. Nowcombo, who is tho superintendent of
the paint branch of tho trust's trade, and who
has been In the employ of tho trust for over
forty years, and now enjoys a salary of $100,
000 a year, had testified that Moran never
talked with him about such matters, as ho had
too much to occupy him to Uston to complaints,
and loft thorn to his subordinates.
"Yes," said Moran, "I did. I told him of alt
my troubles. I also reported everything to Mr.
J. Howard Kinch, who had sold goods for
Moran, testified that tho putty and other articles
supplied by tho Standard wero not up to the
Col. Beecher road several complaints from
Moran's customors, In which they objected to the
quality of tho putty forwarded them, ono of
them saying it was tho worst his firm had
handled since 1859.
Moran was recalled and said he had made out
schedules showing that in six months ho had
suffered a loss of $14,631 on account of his loss
of trade and had submitted them to Mr. New
combe, who had previously told him ho would
be recouped, but who when he saw the schedules
"All tho complaints I had from customers,
he said, "wore for goods furnished mo by the
Standard Oil company."
A. J. Anders, Oelwein, Iowa: It is
very evident that the democratic party
must bo a progress! vo party. It Is not
by virtue of anything done by the
reactionary element within the party,
bnt In spite of all they have done to
disrupt it, that the party is still militant.
The success it has been able to achieve
since 1894 is duo largely to tho courage
and ability of W. J. Bryan. Democracy
Is tho Implacable foe of plutocracy
whether sought to bo hidden under tho
name of democracy as was done In 1904,
or as It is boldly proclaimed by W. H.
Taft in his veto of popular government
in Arizona. It is not only necessary that
the voter knows himself to bo a demo
crat, but to know Uio man for whom he
votes is also a democrat. The demoraliz
ing defeats of tho democratic party in
1894 and 1904 should not be repeated
in 1912. Human rights and popular
government have and ever havo had the
same foe to contend against. No man
for any office within tho gift of the
people should receive a freeman's ballot
unless it is definitely known just where
the man for whom he casts his ballot
stands on the great issues of the day. In
order that the democratic party be not
misled in the great battle coming on in
1912, between plutocracy and democ
racy, every reader of The Commoner
should make an earnest effort to have his
neighbors subscribe for The Commoner,
no matter what his neighbors' politics
may be. Enclosed find draft for $5.00,
for which send The Commoner to each
of tho following named for two years.
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