Theory: Texas Oil Men

Theory: Texas Oil Men

Just before John F. Kennedy was assassinated he upset people like Clint Murchison and Haroldson L. Hunt when he talked about plans to submit to Congress a tax reform plan designed to produce about $185,000,000 in additional revenues by changes in the favourable tax treatment until then accorded the gas-oil industry. Kennedy was particularly upset that Hunt, who had an annual income of about $30,000,000, paid only small amounts of federal income tax.

Madeleine Brown claims that she was Johnson's mistress. In her autobiography, Texas in the Morning (1997) Brown claims that the conspiracy to kill Kennedy involved Lyndon B. Johnson and several Texas oil men including Clint Murchison, Haroldson L. Hunt and J. Edgar Hoover. This theory was supported by Craig Zirbel in his book The Texas Connection: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1991).

Joachim Joesten, an investigative journalist, believes that Johnson's secretary, Bobby Baker was involved in this plot: "The Baker scandal then is truly the hidden key to the assassination, or more exact, the timing of the Baker affair crystallized the more or less vague plans to eliminate Kennedy which had already been in existence the threat of complete exposure which faced Johnson in the Baker scandal provided that final impulse he was forced to give the go-ahead signal to the plotters who had long been waiting for the right opportunity."

In his book, JFK: The Second Plot (1992), Matthew Smith points out that: "The oil industry in Texas had enjoyed huge tax concessions since 1926, when Congress had provided them as an incentive to increase much needed prospecting. The oil depletion benefits were somehow left in place to become a permanent means by which immense fortunes were amassed by those in the industry and, well aware of the anomaly, John Kennedy had declared an intention to review the oil industry revenues. There was nothing in the world which would have inflamed the oil barons more than the President interfering with the oil depletion allowance."

In Dick Russell's book, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1992) Richard Case Nagell claimed the initial plan to assassinate President John F. Kennedy was financed by Haroldson L. Hunt and other individuals. The operation was to be performed by a anti-Castro group that included David Ferrie, Guy Banisterand Clay Shaw. According to Nagell the conspirators believed that if they set-up Lee Harvey Oswald, a well-known supporter of Fidel Castro with links to the Soviet Union, the assassination would result in a full-scale war against Cuba.

In 2003 Barr McClellan published Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK. In the book McClellan argues that Lyndon B. Johnson and Edward Clark were involved in the planning and cover-up of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. McClellan also named Malcolm Wallace as one of the assassins. The killing of Kennedy was paid for by oil millionaires such as Clint Murchison and Haroldson L. Hunt. McClellan claims that Clark got $2 million for this work.

The assassination of Kennedy allowed the oil depletion allowance to be kept at 27.5 per cent. It remained unchanged during the Johnson presidency. According to McClellan this resulted in a saving of over 100 million dollars to the American oil industry. Soon after Johnson left office it dropped to 15 per cent.

(L1) Barr McClellan, Blood Money and Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K. (2003)

A fawning allegiance to Dallas and its billionaire leaders was something that would never change throughout Lyndon Johnson's political career. The true Texas oilmen were not the wild Glenn McCarthys of Houston or the corporate managers of the great oil companies, the "majors." Big Oil was in Dallas, and the most prominent members were conservative businessmen like Clint Murchison, H. L. Hunt, Wofford Cain, and D. H. "Dry Hole" Byrd." The wilder, less-inhibited Sid Richardson of nearby Fort Worth was also a member. These men went to work when oil was first discovered in the early part of the twentieth century, and, when the "black giant" was discovered in their back yards in 1931, they moved in. In an area of east Texas extending over five counties, large tracts of land over the black giant were up for grabs, and anyone with the guns and muscle could have the oil leases. They only had to get onto the property, fight off the other squatters and resist buyout overtures from the majors. Following remarkable success stories in those wild and woolly days, the new rich had the uniquely Texas right to brag nonstop, to fly their jets wherever, to gamble whenever they felt lucky, to own football teams, and, generally, to do whatever they damned well pleased. They did what billionaires did - whatever they wanted to do - and, as the new cash machines, they set the pattern for Texas culture for many yet to come.

During these early years, a strange relationship developed between Big Oil and Washington on three separate fronts plus a notable deference on the fourth. First, the federal government had allowed Texas oil higher tax deductions than any other industry in America. A strange compromise cut in 1923 with the IRS benefited the oil business as no other. Depletion was one of three main government subsidies to the business, and this one was as sacred as the Alamo, saving oilmen millions by reducing their taxes up to 27.5 per cent. Specifically, this was an expense deduction for depletion of resources and was allowed as a reduction of taxable income.

How did people like Clint Murchison and H. L. Hunt become billionaires in the 1930s?

(L2) Marquis W. Childs, Washington Calling (10th October, 1963)

To a friend and long-time associate who called on him the other day President Kennedy expressed considerable bitterness on the subject of top-bracket taxpayers who use tax exemptions to spread propaganda of the extreme right. The President talked about two men, each of whom is often referred to as "the richest man in the world". One was J. Paul Getty, an oilman who spends most of his time in England. The second was the Dallas, Texas, oilman H. L. Hunt. Both are billionaires. Both, according to the President, paid small amounts in federal income tax last year. These men, the President said, use various forms of tax exemption and special tax allowances to subsidize the ultra right on television, radio and in print.

There is no doubt that the right-wing is heavily subsidized. On radio and television stations across the nation free taped programs are run daily, assailing the United Nations, attacking the graduated income tax, foreign aid, social security and the other favorite hates of the extreme right. One of the biggest tax benefits oilmen enjoy is the 27.5 per cent depletion allowance. In his January tax message, the President proposed a sharp reduction in this benefit, which has been extended to cover a long list of minerals. The tax bill passed by the House made only a minor change, however. The right-wing is prepared to go all out to defeat Kennedy in 1964.

Why was President John F. Kennedy angry about the activities of H. L. Hunt? What did he plan to do about the tax benefits enjoyed by Texas oilmen like H. L. Hunt?

(L3) New York Times (15th December, 1963)

Nowhere is oil a bigger political force than Texas, producer of 35 per cent of the nation's oil and possessor of half of its obtainable oil reserves. As a Texan in Congress, Lyndon B. Johnson was a strong advocate of oil industry causes - low import quotas and the 27.5 % per cent tax allowance for depletion of oil reserves.

Did John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson agree about the 27.5 % per cent tax allowance for depletion of oil reserves?

(L4) Thomas G. Buchanan, Who Killed Kennedy? (1964)

Few Americans suspect the dominant position oil assumes in the American economy. Most of us probably would guess that steel or auto-manufacturing were the chief industries of the United States, with chemicals not far behind them. Oil investments are, however, more than these three industries combined-more than 50 billion dollars. Almost half of this enormous wealth is owned in Texas. Until 1901, Texas was noted chiefly for its cattle, and it was the land of "frontier justice" which non-Texans have been taught by Hollywood films to associate with Texas. But on January 10 of that year, oil was found at Spindletop, just south of Beaumont, Texas, and the State has never been the same since that day. Easterners had a monopoly on oil before then; John D. Rockefeller alone, through Standard Oil, controlled 83 per cent of the United States production. But in the first year, the well at Spindletop produced as much oil as all 37,000 Eastern wells combined, and Texas since that time has gained almost complete monopoly of all America's own oil resources, although Standard Oil, through its investments overseas, still occupies a powerful position.

Texas oil, needless to say, has in the past half-century become the focal point of the whole State economy. So great, for instance, are the revenues from oil alone that no State income tax is needed; individuals in Texas pay the government in Washington, like anybody else - and hate it - but they are exempt from paying their own State. Oil men, consequently, run the State, with bitter factional disputes sometimes between them, but unchallenged by outsiders.

The Texas oil industry itself is theoretically under the jurisdiction of the Texas Railroad Commission, which decides in advance how much oil each producer is permitted to produce each month. It finds out, first, how much oil will be bought by each of the big companies that own the pipelines and, after they submit the quantity that they agree to purchase, Texas companies are then assigned percentages of the expected market. In this way a surplus is avoided. It is unnecessary to add, in view of what has already been stated, that all decisions by the Commission reflect the viewpoint of the dominant oil companies it is meant to regulate. If it were permitted to react to public sentiment, i.e. the interest of the consumer, it might authorize production of sufficient oil to force the big companies to lower prices.

Now and then, when the effects of the decisions of the oil men challenged the economy of the whole country, efforts have been made to stop them from demanding an unreasonable profit. Such, for instance, was the case in May, 1958, when a Federal grand jury indicted 29 oil companies for a conspiracy to charge outrageous prices. The charge was based on an increase in prices which was put into effect by these oil companies in i957, at a time when there was no oil shortage but, on the contrary, the industry was complaining of what Morgan Davis, president of Humble Oil, had been describing as a "burdensome surplus-producing capacity." The excess oil available was so great that production had been varying from 9 to 13 days a month, yet Humble Oil chose this time to increase its price to the consumer, and its 28 competitors then followed suit. The New York Times financial expert J. H. Carmical estimated, at that time, that this price rise cost the United States consumer half a billion dollars, and the public protest was so great that the oil companies were brought to court and charged with a conspiracy to violate price-fixing legislation. But a sympathetic judge decided that "the evidence in the case does not rise above the level of suspicion," and concluded, "I have an absolute conviction personally that the defendants are not guilty." They were all acquitted...

The process gathered its momentum during World War II, when major aircraft factories were built in Dallas and, with government assistance, other war production plants, constructed for the military service, remained there. They continued to be used in peacetime to supply the Air Force with its bomber planes and radar. In addition, when the war had ended, Texas as a whole and Dallas in particular made every effort to attract employers from the North to relocate there, offering these powerful incentives:

1. Low taxes. In addition to the fact that Texas has no personal income tax, the corporate tax rate is lower than in most States.

2. Cheap labour. The predominance of giant cattle farms like the King Ranch has forced a large number of the farmers to move to the cities. The farm workers harvesting the cotton, rice and other crops have to compete with "Wetbacks," migratory Mexican day labourers who work for pitifully meagre wages; this, in turn, tends to force down the wages of the city workers in the factories.

3. Anti-union legislation. State laws forbid compulsory membership in a union; some types of strike are forbidden entirely; and, where a strike is allowed, no more than two pickets are permitted in each area of 50 feet. A union official arrested on a picket line is prohibited by law from holding any union office after that.

4. Natural advantages. Access to the country's principal sources of oil, natural gas and sulphur with reduced transportation costs.

With these advantages to offer, Dallas managed to attract new industries to move there, supplementing factories built during World War II, and even these new industries tend also to be oriented toward contracts from the various armed forces. The most important was the great aircraft firm, Chance Vought, which made the biggest industrial relocation in U.S. history, moving its entire plant from Connecticut to Dallas-a transfer of 13,000 tons of equipment from that Northern State, as well as the 1,300 most important employees (all the others were simply left behind in Connecticut to add to the Northern unemployed). Another major Dallas firm is Continental Electronics Manufacturing Company, which recently built for the Navy a $40,000,000 radio transmitter, said to be the world's most powerful, designed to communicate with Navy submarines anywhere in the world, even when lying on the bottom of the ocean. Texas Instruments, which has rapidly become one of the nation's principal electronics parts suppliers, also has a large share of defence contracts.

Despite their frequent intervention in political campaigns in Northern States, the Texas millionaires proclaim themselves strong advocates of what they call "States' rights"-which, from their point of view, excludes all outside intervention in the State of Texas. Northerners cannot quite understand the bitterness which Texans feel against the government in Washington, and Northern financiers in general-a feeling which appears to be quite general in Texas. Thus, the New York Times of October 16 , 1956 expressed astonishment that "the Governor of Texas, a rich man and a conservative, castigates `Wall Street' in terms used by the Daily Worker." It seems strange that men who have benefited from a tax concession which grants them commercial advantages no other section of the country can match, should nevertheless feel deep resentment, first, against the businessmen in other and less favoured industries and, second, against the Federal Government which has granted the concession to them. Yet this has been so. The Texas millionaires maintain that even the advantages they have are not sufficient; that their taxes are oppressive; that the bureaucrats from Washington are trying to take over Texas. Curiously, though, the State of Texas is one of the principal beneficiaries of Federal grants of one sort or another, quite apart from the tax policy which we already have discussed-and at the same time, Texas spends so little of her own tax money on social services that the average Texas citizen receives less aid than those in other States. Texas, for instance, gets more help from Washington than any other State for various child welfare services, yet ranks no more than 44th in money spent for this same purpose; Texas is the second State in money it accepts to help the blind and aged, but is 40th in money spent; Texas ranks third in its receipts from Washington for all purposes, yet 32nd in expenditures on public education.

The men whom the oligarchs in the State of Texas regard as their main enemies are those who dare propose reduction of their tax concession. Frank Ikard, a Texas Congressman, has called such persons "bombthrowing liberals." The Texas oil men are inclined to feel that epithet is much too mild; for them, the men who want to lower the oil depletion allowance are nothing short of Communists, although two critics of the present level of "depletion allowances" have been the late Republican leader, Senator Robert Taft, and former President Harry Truman, neither noted for pro-Communist opinions. Taft said it was "to a large extent a gift-a special privilege, beyond what any one else can get;" and Truman charged, "No loophole in the tax law is so inequitable." The first serious efforts to bring the taxes of the oil industry into closer correspondence with those of other U.S. industries were made by the New Deal, and no one hated President Roosevelt more bitterly than such Texans as John Nance Garner, who served as Vice-President during Roosevelt's first term and then opposed him for the second. When Roosevelt died in 1945, while the United States was still at war, a San Antonio millionaire announced a cocktail party to celebrate his death. In recent years, the chief foe of the Texas oil men has been Democratic Senator Douglas of Illinois, who proposed to keep the 27.5 per cent bonus for the small producers, but reduce it to 15 per cent for big ones. Douglas pointed out that there had been one oil company in 1954 which had a net income of four million dollars and paid only $404 in taxes, lower than the average US married couple; that there was another company which made five million dollars and paid no income tax at all; a third showed profits of 12 million dollars in 1953 and yet received a $500,000 tax credit; this same company made 10 million dollars the next year, and received another $100,000 tax credit.

To such arguments, the Texans have responded that the national security itself depends on their ability to guard their present rate of profit. "Oil, gentlemen, is ammunition," a Congressional committee was assured by General Ernest O. Thompson, Commanding General of the Texas National Guard. "In defence," he said, "oil is a prime mover. Why tamper with a system that... has made oil available in such quantities that we have been able to win two wars?"

Two wars, and so... why not a third one? Of all sections of the country, none was more opposed to any indication that an understanding might be reached between the President of the United States and Khrushchev, none is more convinced that the United States not only could survive a nuclear attack but could go on and win the war, especially if the U.S. had made the "first strike"-and that it might be worth it. Some of this hostility to a détente may be ascribed, of course, to cynical self-interest, for Texas has achieved an annual expansion, since the cold war started, more than six times greater than the national economy has averaged; conversely, if disarmament were actually to begin, no other section of America would suffer such immediate disruption of its industry, since an extremely high proportion of defence work has been concentrated in the State of Texas.

Neither cynical self-interest nor fear, however, totally explains the attitude of the oligarchy - or, at least, a portion of them. A major part of it must be ascribed to boredom. These oligarchs started as gamblers and gamblers they have remained. But in recent years there has been nothing left on which to gamble, except perhaps the whole future of the United States. This theory is, I think, worth some serious consideration. They have run out of new fields to conquer in the State of Texas; they've begun expanding. We have one of the most powerful and wealthy oligarchies in the world, controlled-as no society has ever been before-by men whose instincts are not those of businessmen, but gamblers. I suggest the impact of this fact upon world history, in any country which possesses the atomic bomb, is terrifying.

Why does Thomas G. Buchanan believe that the Texas Oil Industry might have been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

(L5) Joachim Joesten, How Kennedy Was Killed (1968)

When District Attorney Garrison, in his statement of September 21, 1967, made the startling disclosure that the assassination of President Kennedy had been ordered and paid for by a handful of oil-rich psychotic millionaires, he

didn't name any names. But I'm quite sure that all the good people of Dallas, if any of them were privileged to hear the news, instantly thought of their fellow-resident Haroldson Lafayette Hunt, the boss of the immensely rich Hunt Oil Company of Dallas.

Hunt is not only by far the richest of all the Texas oil millionaires but he is also, and more importantly, the one with the most pronounced and most vicious spleen. And, above all, the one who hated Kennedy most.

It so happens that H. L. Hunt is also a longtime friend, admirer and financial 'angel' of the most prominent Texas politician of our time, Lyndon B. Johnson, the man who was destined to become President of the United States automatically the moment Kennedy died. Perhaps this is the reason why Garrison preferred not to be too specific.

What evidence does Joachim Joesten use to claim that the "assassination of President Kennedy had been ordered and paid for by a handful of oil-rich psychotic millionaires"?

(L6) Dr. Albert E. Burke attending a meeting at the home of Haroldson L. Hunt in Dallas in 1961. Later he gave an account of the meeting.

I have listened to communists and other groups that can only be called enemies, accuse us of the worst intentions, the most inhuman ways of doing things, as the most dangerous people on earth, to be stopped and destroyed at all costs... But nothing I have heard in or from those places around us compared with the experience I had in the Dallas home of an American, whose hate for this country's leaders, and the way our institutions worked, was the most vicious, venomous and dangerous I have known in my life. No communist ever heard, no enemy of this nation has ever done a better job of degrading or belittling this country. That American was one of this nation's richest and most powerful men!

It was a very special performance by a pillar of the American community, who influences things in his community. It was a very special performance because in that living room during his performance - in which he said things had reached the point where there seemed to be "no way left to get those traitors out of our government except by shooting them out" during that performance, there were four teenagers in that room to be influenced. His views were shared on November 22, 1963.

Interestingly, the man accused of that crime claimed to be a Marxist, a communist. But my host assured me - when I objected to his remarks - that he believed as he did because he was anti-communist!

What happened in that home in Dallas, of one of America's richest and most powerful men, shashed that goal of America as a united country for the four teenagers in on that conversation that night.

Why does Dr. Albert E. Burke believe that Haroldson L. Hunt was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

(L7) Madeleine Brown, interviewed on the television programme, A Current Affair (24th February, 1992)

On Thursday night, Nov. 21, 1963, the last evening prior to Camelot's demise, I attended a social at Clint Murchison's home. It was my understanding that the event was scheduled as a tribute honoring his long time friend, J. Edgar Hoover (whom Murchison had first met decades earlier through President William Howard Taft), and his companion, Clyde Tolson. Val Imm, the society editor for the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald, unwittingly documented one of the most significant gatherings in American history. The impressive guest list included John McCloy, Richard Nixon, George Brown, R. L. Thornton, H. L. Hunt and a host of others from the 8F group. The jovial party was just breaking up when Lyndon made an unscheduled visit. I was the most surprised by his appearance since Jesse had not mentioned anything about Lyndon's coming to Clint's. With Lyndon's hectic schedule, I never dreamed he could attend the big party. After all, he had arrived in Dallas on Tuesday to attend the Pepsi-Cola convention. Tension filled the room upon his arrival. The group immediately went behind closed doors. A short time later Lyndon, anxious and red-faced, reappeared I knew how secretly Lyndon operated. Therefore I said nothing... not even that I was happy to see him. Squeezing my hand so hard, it felt crushed from the pressure, he spoke with a grating whisper, a quiet growl, into my ear, not a love message, but one I'll always remember: "After tomorrow those goddamn Kennedys will never embarrass me again - that's no threat - that's a promise."

Who does Madeleine Brown think was involved in planning the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

(L8) Madeleine Brown, Texas in the Morning (1998)

Just a few weeks later (after the assassination) I mentioned to him that people in Dallas were saying he himself had something to do with it. He became really violent, really ugly, and said it was American Intelligence and oil that were behind it. Then he left the room and slammed the door It scared me.

According to Madeleine Brown, who did Lyndon Johnson believe was behind the assassination of Kennedy?

(L9) Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy (1990)

Madeleine Brown, reported to be Johnson’s mistress for twenty years, has publicly stated that Johnson had foreknowledge of the assassination. But did Johnson really have enough power to initiate the assassination and force literally dozens of government officials and agents to lie and cover up that fact? Probably not.

What reasons does Jim Marrs give for not believing Madeleine Brown's theory about the assassination?

(L10) Gary Mack published an account of Madeleine Brown's story on 14th May, 1997.

Madeleine has claimed over the years that she attended a party at Clint Murchison’s house the night before the assassination and LBJ, Hoover and Nixon were there. The party story, without LBJ, first came from Penn Jones in Forgive My Grief. In that version, the un-credited source was a black chauffeur whom Jones didn’t identify, and the explanation Jones gave was that it was the last chance to decide whether or not to kill JFK. Of course, Hoover used only top FBI agents for transportation and in the FBI of 1963, none were black. Actually, there is no confirmation for a party at Murchison’s. I asked Peter O’Donnell because Madeleine claimed he was there, too. Peter said there was no party. Madeleine even said there was a story about it in the Dallas Times Herald some months later (which makes no sense), but she had not been able to find it. Val Imm (Society Editor of the Dallas Times Herald) told Bob Porter (of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza staff) recently she had no memory of such an event and even looked through her notes - in vain.

Could LBJ have been at a Murchison party? No. LBJ was seen and photographed in the Houston Coliseum with JFK at a dinner and speech. They flew out around 10pm and arrived at Carswell (Air Force Base in northwest Fort Worth) at 11:07 Thursday night. Their motorcade to the Hotel Texas arrived about 11:50 and LBJ was again photographed. He stayed in the Will Rogers suite on the 13th floor and Manchester (William Manchester - author of The Death of a President) says he was up late. Could Nixon have been at Murchison’s party? No. Tony Zoppi (Entertainment Editor of The Dallas Morning News) and Don Safran (Entertainment Editor of the Dallas Times Herald) saw Nixon at the Empire Room at the Statler-Hilton. He walked in with Joan Crawford (Movie actress). Robert Clary (of Hogan’s Heroes fame) stopped his show to point them out, saying “. . . either you like him or you don’t.” Zoppi thought that was in poor taste, but Safran said Nixon laughed. Zoppi’s deadline was 11pm, so he stayed until 10:30 or 10:45 and Nixon was still there.

Does Gary Mack believe Madeleine Brown's story (L6) about what happened the night before the assassination?

(L11) Barr McClellan, Blood Money and Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K. (2003)

Soon after, there was another private meeting at Johnson's ranch. The vice president was certain he would be dumped, and he had to know what Clark was planning. He needed to know when action would be taken. After all, two years had passed and the politics for Johnson had only worsened. Something had to be done.

Clark was not about to let Johnson know any of the details. The assassination had to be a complete surprise to Johnson. Under no circumstances would he know what was planned. This time, when Johnson called for Clark, the lawyer decided to "woodshed" the vice president. The process was like taking a child out behind the woodshed to paddle him until he learned to do the right thing. In the case of witnesses for lawsuits, the woodshedding was to be sure they said the right thing, that they told the correct story before a jury. What the witness said and did had to be shaded just right...

Clark had one more worry detail, a small one in the overall scheme of things but an important one. He knew how pleased, even ecstatic, Johnson would be when the assassination occurred. He wanted Johnson to react with surprise and then express the correct condolences for the Kennedy family with appropriate assurances to the nation. The best approach for Johnson would be the usual one, to say and do nothing. As things turned out, Johnson would react in good form except on three minor but telling occasions. As Clark had feared, Johnson would overreact.

Why did Edward A. Clark not give Lyndon Johnson details of the planned assassination?

(L12) Phil Brennan, Some Relevant Facts About the JFK Assassination (2003)

There's an explosive new book that lays out a very detailed - and persuasive - case for the probability that the late President Lyndon Baines Johnson was responsible for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

I say persuasive because the author, Barr McClellan, was one of LBJ's top lawyers, and he provides a lot of information hitherto unknown to the general public - much more of which he says is buried in secret documents long withheld from the American people....

McClellan and others before him have discussed the fact that LBJ faced some pretty awful prospects, including not only being dumped from the 1964 ticket but also spending a long, long time in the slammer as a result of his role in the rapidly expanding Bobby Baker case - something few have speculated about because the full facts were never revealed by the media, which didn't want to know, or report, the truth...

Bobby Kennedy, called five of Washington's top reporters into his office and told them it was now open season on Lyndon Johnson. It's OK, he told them, to go after the story they were ignoring out of deference to the administration.

And from that point on until the events in Dallas, Lyndon Baines Johnson's future looked as if it included a sudden end to his political career and a few years in the slammer. The Kennedys had their knives out and sharpened for him and were determined to draw his political blood - all of it.

In the Senate, the investigation into the Baker case was moving quickly ahead. Even the Democrats were cooperating, thanks to the Kennedys, and an awful lot of really bad stuff was being revealed - until Nov. 22, 1963.

By Nov. 23, all Democrat cooperation suddenly stopped. Lyndon would serve a term and a half in the White House instead of the slammer, the Baker investigation would peter out and Bobby Baker would serve a short sentence and go free. Dallas accomplished all of that.

Bobby Baker was Lyndon Johnson's secretary and political adviser. In November 1963 Baker was under investigation for corruption. Why do some people believe this case played an important role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

(L13) Bobby Baker, interviewed in 1990.

Clint Murchison owned a piece of Hoover. Rich people always try to put their money with the sheriff, because they're looking for protection. Hoover was the personification of law and order and officially against gangsters and everything, so it was a plus for a rich man to be identified with him. That's why men like Murchison made it their business to let everyone know Hoover was their friend. You can do a lot of illegal things if the head lawman is your buddy.

Clint Murchison was a Texas oil billionaire. What is the significance of the comments made by Bobby Baker?

(L14) Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993)

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.

What motives did Lyndon Johnson have for wanting John F. Kennedy dead?

(L15) Matthew Smith, JFK: The Second Plot (1992)

Interestingly, there were several arrests made in the Dal Tex building (on the 22nd November, 1963). The third man arrested there was extremely interesting. He was Jim Braden, also known as Eugene Hale Brading, a known Mafia courier. He said he had had an appointment to meet Lamar Hunt, son of H.L. Hunt, the oil millionaire, on oil business. Braden was with a friend, Morgan H. Brown, who bolted when he heard he had been taken in for questioning. A man with 30 arrests to his record, Braden had been staying at the Kabanya Motor Hotel, where Jack Ruby - who was to kill Lee Harvey Oswald in the Police Headquarters basement two days after the assassination - had met some of his Chicago friends the night before the President was killed. Braden was not detained. Five years later, however, Braden was to turn up in Los Angeles when Senator Robert Kennedy was murdered.

What was Jim Braden's connection with the H. L. Hunt? What is Matthew Smith suggesting in this account?

(L16) John Kelin, review of Noel Twyman's book, Bloody Treason (1998)

When Twyman finally names his real villains, we recognize three men whose involvement has been alleged for years: Lyndon Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, and H.L. Hunt. The author says they acted from that oldest of motivations, self-preservation, and that "they had the the power and the money to make it happen and cover it up." It is amusing, in a sick sort of way, when Twyman says that Hoover seems to be the one person involved who had no redeeming qualities. "I have searched the literature and ... if there was something likable about him I haven't found it."

What does John Klein mean when he says Lyndon Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, and H.L. Hunt acted from that "oldest of motivations, self-preservation"?

(L17) Edward Jay Epstein, Esquire Magazine (December, 1966)

In January of 1964 the Warren Commission learned that Don B. Reynolds, insurance agent and close associate of Bobby Baker, had been heard to say the FBI knew that Johnson was behind the assassination. When interviewed by the FBI, he denied this. But he did recount an incident during the swearing in of Kennedy in which Bobby Baker said (in January, 1961) words to the effect that the s.o.b. would never live out his term and that he would die a violent death.

What did Don B. Reynolds accuse Bobby Baker of saying in January, 1961?

(L18) Matthew Smith, JFK: The Second Plot (1992)

Another group which hated the President and which merited investigation was the extreme right-wing John Birch Society. Centred on Dallas, the group made no secret of its disdain for the Kennedy administration, in fact it advertised it well. To its members, the young President was a Communist-lover, and, in their world, that represented just about the worst thing anybody could be. In their vocabulary, to call anybody a name like that represented using real venom. That was reaching down the barrel to find the biggest of all insults. Some John Birch members were oil barons, and the oil men made up an overlapping group which, when it came to its opinions of the President, had a great deal in common with the Society. The oil industry in Texas had enjoyed huge tax concessions since 1926, when Congress had provided them as an incentive to increase much needed prospecting. The oil depletion benefits were somehow left in place to become a permanent means by which immense fortunes were amassed by those in the industry and, well aware of the anomaly, John Kennedy had declared an intention to review the oil industry revenues. There was nothing in the world which would have inflamed the oil barons more than the President interfering with the oil depletion allowance. In the minds of many, the conspirators could very easily have come from the ranks of either the John Birch Society or the oil men, which is not to say they didn't belong to both groups.

Why does Matthew Smith believe that the Texas oil industry and the John Birch Society were both involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

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