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About The Omaha guide. (Omaha, Neb.) 1927-19?? | View Entire Issue (Sept. 28, 1956)
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"Money and Politics"
An Intimate Message from Washington
By Richard L. St rout
Some $147 million were spent in local and national campaigns
far nomination and election in 1952. The cost in 1956 it is estimat
ed will be around $156 million. Campaign funds of ihis size come, in
the nature of things, very largely from those able to give.
“The net consequence,” says a dispassionate study just complet
ed at the University of North Carolina by a group headed by Prof.
.Alexander Heard (published in a New Public Affairs pamphlet) “is
wwtlty larger representation of vested financial interests than contem
plated by equalitarian damocratic theory.”
Or in different language, money talks in an election—and keeps
® talking after the election is over. What big contributors get is
*>t ns tangible as the public often supposes, says the study; mostly
wrkal they “buy” is “access.” One lobbyist called it “entree" and
•■other called it a “basis for talking.” The main result of "acccess"
is to “speed things up.”
The current study began with an alphabetical file of all known
OBlributions of $500 or over, followed by an analysis of the donors
by occupational groups. Most of the money in a presidential cam
paign year eomes in amounts of $500 or over, it is found.
Some results are interesting. Of 27 noncareer appointees as
Griefs of United States Diplomatic Missions on July 1, 1952, at least
13 were filled by contributors of $500 or more—and all were Demo
crats. But on October 1, 1953, out of 30 others at least 12 had con
tributed a similar sum—but now all but one were Republicans.
The value of “access" is increasingly recognized by lobbyists.
Campaign contributions are now standard equipment. The analysts
found no individual donations by trustees or directors of farm, vet
eran, or labor lobby outfits, but listed many from the board mem
bers of business associations. An example: In 1952 the roster of of
ficials of the American Petroleum Institdte showed many individual
iftributors, the report states, when "the disposition of offshore oil
rights was a principal issue in the campaign.”
Contribution of lobbyists know no party lines. Lobbyists are
■nrr interested in policies than in parties. Some contribute to both
parties. Politically connected lawyers, especially, use contributions to
beep in touch with the party in power. One individual was found
who had alternated four times between the two national committees
in a space of seven years.
Another big factor, says the report, is "corporate political parti
cipation through the contributions of officers and directors.” An in
•Lance: “The four American firms most closely involved in the con
troversy over an import levy on Swiss watches all had officials who
One odd fact is that following each presidential election “the
winning party receives an enormous spurt of large contributions, and
the losing party gets virtually none.” These donors wait to see win
wins. After the 1952 victory the Republican committees got 257
donations of $500 or more (compared to 1,152 before); the Demo
erats only 35 (compared to 970 before). After the 1948 surprise
Truman victory, the winning Democrats got 272 such gifts (as against
426 before); the GOP only 29 as against 1,115 before. The “access
buyers” quickly signed up.
Republicans generally get more money than the Democrats, the
report says, though the difference is less than frquently supposed,
expenditures by partisan committees in 1952, including labor, show
ed the Republicans spending $5.50 for every $4.50 for the Democrats J
The ratio varied widely. Tentative figures indicated a ratio of 61 to
39 in Connecticut, and 69 to 31 in Pennsylvania.
The result of this financing system is the growth within either
parly of what is described as “a crucially important group of people”—
solicitors who can be depended to bring in large collections in time
This group, the investigators concluded, is often more important
than the formal officials of the party. They command access “in
tte grand fashion.”
One man “with White House experience" is quoted as declaring:
"The character of an administration is set by the network of people
who raise the party's funds. Locate the chief fund-raisers and you
locale political power.”
What a curious contrast this discolses between certain philoso
phical assumptions hold by most voters about their parties and the
inherent financial realities of the American electoral system.
Dollars for Democracy
democracy isn’t just a matter of votes or or getting out the
vote. It’s a matter of dollars too—and getting out the dollars neces
oary to get out the vote. A rough estimate indicates that the “going
rate” of this expense in the United States this year will be about $2
We are not talking about buying votes in the sense of bribery.
We are talking about what it will cost to persuade 60 per cent of the
eligible voters to use their franchise in local and national elections.
But without direct bribery the buying of influence may be involved,
Par If a political party must have money to get out its votes and
wist depend for such funds chiefly on large givers, its ears are like
% te be especially tuned to uie views of those givers.
In another column on this page appears a summary of nonparti
san studies which show how this system operates in both parties,
fbr best answer of the citizen who decries this situation is not de
wrnnt latiou of the big givers—although more publicity on such gifts
wwiht help. The best answer is to arouse potential little givers to
■—i-.i- tie bulk of campaign funds and so end the dependence of j
the parties on the big givers.
”This is a favorite project of reformers. The trouble is that it is
nwtly in time and money to collect campaign funds in small bits, j
BOk the Gallup Poll recently reported that 17,000,000 American fam
gg_ would give $5 each to party campaign chests. This $85,000,000
wwbt be more readily collected than has been thought. Much might
be offered voluntarily if it were better understood that every dolla •
m provided cuts down the power of the influence buyers and ren
4ers government more responsive to the individual citizen’s vote—
wore truly democratic.
Mirror of World Opion
The second year of budget balance under the Eisenhower admin
istration is shaping up into a prime campaign issue. The Republicans
will point to it with the pride of accomplishment. The Democrats
will attempt to belittle it and attribute it to a neglect of the public
welfare and the national defense.
But the fact remains that,- whatever the circumstances, the bud
get is in balance and a modest surplus has been created. It repre
sents the reversal of a trend toward deficit financing which had
brought great disquietude to conservative observers and had raised
the national debt to a staggering $275 billion.
In part the Eisenhower achievement is due to a high state of
business activity, which has kept employment and earnings high and
the taxes rolling in. But it is also true, as Treasury Secretary Hum
phrey has pointed out, that even with higher tax receipts from a
prosperous economy the favorable budget position would not have
been possible without the substantial reduction in governmental ex
penditures which has been accomplished.
The campaign issue boils down to one of whether the budget
should have been balanced, whether tax cuts are more desirable!
than reduction of the national debt, whether operation within in
come is as important as the extension of public services.
Democratic Candidate Stevenson already has joined the issue.
From his Ulinois farmhouse the other day he implied that the bud
get balance “was certainly an accurate reflection of what interests
the Republican leaders most - not the education of young children,
1 not a fair break for farmers, not the growing menace of communism
in the world, not America's waning influence, but a balanced bud
It is possible to wish that keeping to a sound fiscal program
were not so much a matter of contention between the two parties,
for it is a basic economic fact that no government can forever man
age to spend more than it receives in revenue without ruining and
bankrupting its people. When the budget should be brought into
balance may be debatable, but whether it should be balanced is not.
The temptation to operate at a deficit, by increasing the national
debt and the interest charge on it, to provide services a lot of the
population may want is unquestionably strong, but it is dangerous.
Mr. Stevenson is not saying that he prefers deficit financing as
a way of governmental life, but neither is he suggesting an increase
in taxation, and the promises contained in the Democratic platform
can not be fulfilled without costs. This time, we think that the j
Democrats in their campaigning could safely adopt a policy of "me
too" with respect to the budget. The implication of their belittling
the Eisenhower program in that regard is hardly reassuring. Regard
less of what the American people would like to have from their gov
ernment, there are financial limits to the government’s ability to
supply it even as there is a limit to the ability to tax and be taxed.
It would malce for a more responsible campaign if this were recog
nized. —Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
News From Around Nebraska
The Antelope Memorial Hospital at Neligh, Nebraska held a
“Baby Alumni Party” last week to which all mothers who had
given birth to babies in the hospital were invited. The babies
were guests too which resulted in quite a collection of youngsters
of all ages. Sixty-five mothers and their babies participated which
meant that 65 yelling, running, screaming, crawling and crying
babies must have made up the other half of the assemblage. The
Neligh Leader, somehow, got everyone to sit still long enough to
get a picture.
• • •
A new food store opening at Aurora last week gave away a
used car filled with groceries. The car was a prize given away
to the person who could write a fifty word letter telling why
"I like to shop in Aurora’s new Red and White Store.” The
News-Reliefer carried a full section of congratulatory ads for the
• • •
Farmers in Dakota County are confronted with a new hazard,
the Dakota County Star has revealed. Huge cavities are appear
ing in the fields and farmers are damaging their machinery when
they drive into them. One crew, cutting alfalfa for dehydrating,
drove their machine into a hole which was four feet wide, damag
ing their machine and requiring repairs. Similar boles have been
found in many other fields. The huge cracks, which get wider as
the hole gets deeper, are attributed to dry weather in the area.
Voters at Hildreth, Nebraska, voted against a bond issue for
$180,000 last week, the money to have been used for a school
building expansion. It was the second time the matter had been
on the ballot and had lost both times. The proposal was to pro
vide new gymnasium space, kitchen, offices and other extra
Seven hundred fifty pheasants, 14 weeks old, have been turned
loose in Merrick County around Central City, the Republican-Non
, pared reported last week. This was in addition to 1000 birds
which were turned loose last spring. The Pheasants were furnish
ed by the Nebraska State Game Commission and were released
in five different spots around the county.
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Drilling for oil in Saunders county has started again near
Mead, according to the Wahoo Newspaper. The work had just
started last week with the drill being down but 100 feet at the
time the newspaper reported on the progress. Geologists say it
is the most likely location between Wahoo and Fremont. Some
cave-ins of the earth in the early stages of the drilling, held up
work much of the first week.
• * •
A crew of men are stationed at Arapahoe making a tope
graphic map of the area for the United States Geological survey.
The work is done partly by ground surveys and from aerial maps
of the area1, the Public Mirror at Arapahoe stated.
• • •
The Lyons Chamber of Commerce and a number of the Lyons
Business men have gone all out to congratulate and welcome a
new bowling alley to town. The new business is housed in a build
ing especially built for the purpose. There are ten alleys with
automatic pin setters and underlane ball returns. The Lyons
Mirror-Sun says that it is one of the most mechanized alleys in all
Nebraska. Special prizes were given to the best bowlers last
Friday and Saturday and Lyons merchants gave away 40 door
prizes of merchandise to those who attended the first day open
* • •
Six Hooper businesses announced in the Hooper Sentinel last
week that they have decided to discontinue the use of trading
stamps. They announced in an ad that the cost of the stamps
was high and that they would prefer to pass the savings on to
their customers. They also pointed oht that money spent for
stamps was money which went out of their community and that
the equivalent passed on in lower prices would remain with the
• • *
Out in the western part of the state near Bridgeport, grass
fires are plaguing rural fire districts. Four runs were made in
four days last week, the Bridgeport Blade revealed. Lightning
set fire to one patch which destroyed 35 acres. A smoldering
cigarette is believed to have caused another and others were
started by unknown manners. The extreme dryness of the grass
is blamed for the fires.
• • •
Pawnee City turned out to honor a family doctor by the name
of Boyer last Sunday. More than 2000 persons were expected
and every civic organization in the community was taking a part
in honoring the man who had served the community.
• * *
William Perkins, age 54 years,
of Laramie, Wyoming, expired
Monday September 17, 1950 at a
Me was an employee of the U.P.
railroad Co. for the past 14 years
Mr. Perkins is survived .by 2
daughters. Mrs. Mary Louise
Stuart and Mrs. Mozetta Moore
both of Omaha; 2 step-sons, Mel
vin Essex and James Mansfield.
Jr., both of Omaha, 2 brothers,
Lawrence Lee Robinson and Cecil
Perkins both of Omaha, and a
very dear friend, Mrs. Janie
Smith, of Laramie, Wyoming.
Funeral services were held Fri
day September 21. 1950 at 2:00
p.m. from the Myers Funeral
Home Chapel with Rev. J. H. Rey
nolds officiating. Interment was
at Mt. Hope Cemetery.
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The Bell Tolls
By Leonard H. Bell
Today we are living in an era
of discourtesy. Parents are dis
courteous to their mates and of
course, to their children. Chil
dren, naturally ire discourteous
to both their parents and to oth
Pedestrians are discourteous to
pedestrians and to drivers. Dri
\ers are discourteous to pedes
trians, each other, ami to the for
ces of law and order.
In fact, this studied stream of
discourtesy that now seems to be
so prevalent throughout the Uni
ted States appears to be following
a pattern of preparation for com
A hardness of the souls of men,
licgotten by shallow universal
cynicism; molded into molten
steel, by the succumbing of our
national life to the petty spirits
of the age. In such manner
throughout the ages, man has lost
his sense of moral and spiritual
guidance and values. He has laid
aside his Bible, his practice of the
Golden Rule, the Ten Command
ments have become just a mere
jargon of indecipherable biblical
words to him. He has mentally
retraced his steps to the dark
ages of life’s crudities, where con
stant strife and glorified cruelty
prevailed, and men were unaware
of the true brotherhood of man.
As a leader in the world today
m democracy, (or rather the prin
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in industry, in progressive science
and medicine, and presumably in
goodwill, we should be fair to
ourselves and confess that we do
indeed make a very poor show
Our former good impulses to
wards others seem to be lost. '
actually, we seem to have none
for each other. The barbarities
of life have come into prominence
and popularity in our daily life,
our national life and in our inter
Progress into the realm of the
atomic era is no excuse for this
tletault of human values. . Then
why have we hit the trail of re
trogression? What has motivated
us to join in a universal conspir
acy to destroy our cultures, our
great institutions, our worldwide
known sense of justice and fair
play, our charity toward all and
practices of malice toward none?
Is it because we do not practice
that democracy that we are try
ing to sell both ourselves and the
world? Is it because we have
mathematically and theoractically
worked out the principle of de
mocracy to the nth degree, with
out carrying our formuli into the
laboratory for practicalization?
Whatever it is, something has
brought about this cataclysmic
collapse of progressive Ameri
can moral and. spiritual values.
Our conclusions might well be
that this return to the dark ages,
in thought, in action and in guid
ance could be blamed on our
present leadership - locally and
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