Bad Apples
December 12, 1951 — Sarasota Herald Tribune

The Mossadegh Project | December 20, 2019                              

U.S. President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972)

This lead editorial in a Florida newspaper is a curious hybrid of original and plagiarized writing. It steals from, and elaborates upon, a widely published editorial from Dec. 10th, Time Has Come for Truman To Clean His House — Or Else.

The portions highlighted below were either swiped word for word, or have been rearranged or rephrased in some way from the former editorial (itself of suspicious origin).

Harry Truman media archive

Time For Truman Action

A spectacle by turns disgusting and hilariously amusing has been provided the nation by T. Lamar Caudle’s confessions before a congressional committee of his far from humorous conduct as assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s tax enforcement division. Although fixes and shakedowns seemed to have accumulated around Mr. Caudle like flies around honey, he has not been subjected to prosecution on any charge. His dismissal by President Truman and the airing before the entire nation of a shameful record as a public official is the only penalty that has been imposed upon the drawling North Carolinian.

Whether a law has been violated or not, Mr. Caudle is clearly guilty of a disgraceful breach of public trust. In view of the evidence placed before the House of Representatives investigating committee concerning queer goings on in the tax enforcement division.

Attorney General Howard McGrath’s apathetic, if not sympathetic, views on Caudle’s conduct is most surprising. It is most apparent that Caudle’s questionable qualifications and strange intra-mural doings have caused McGrath no particular anguish. Nor is there any assurance for the nation in his attitude that any other such characters in the Justice Department will be rooted out and effectively dealt with.

This is a time of decision for President Truman. The Truman administration stands indicted for fostering conditions under which corruption is allowed to flourish. Blame for that cannot be escaped. But measures can and should be adopted to clean up the situation. The President can no longer shrug off reports of corruption and influence peddling as “a few rotten apples.”

If he knows the state of his own household he has thus far displayed no great concern about it. There is still no evidence of an energetic, sincere housecleaning in the administration. But the country wants the facts, clearly and unmistakably. The nation is not satisfied to have heard Caudle’s shameful story. It wants to know how many more Caudles there may be in other crannies of the government. It wants to know how a Caudle could be tolerated by officials who claim to be intelligent, moral men.

Peyton Ford, Caudle’s immediate superior in the Justice Department was so doubtful of his subordinate’s behaviour in one tax case that he directed the prosecuting lawyer to cease informing Caudle of his future plans in the litigation. Yet Ford remained silent and allowed Caudle to go his way unimpeded.

President Coolidge enabled the Republican Party of the mid-20’s to surmount the Teapot Dome scandals because he vigorously plunged into the task of cleaning house. [Calvin Coolidge] He named a strong non-partisan commission to go over the administration from top to bottom. Mr. Truman may find himself grossly in error if he believes that he can get by with lesser measures.
Inaction or half-hearted prosecution in the increasing number of scandals that Congress is turning up can only be interpreted as approval of corrupt practices in government.


Related links:

Mr. Truman Exposes His Own Flaws | Spokane Daily Chronicle (Dec. 15, 1951)

Next Year’s Election | Anti-Truman editorial, November 26, 1951

The Last Truman Budget | The Times Record, Oct. 18, 1952

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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