Clinton Murchison was born in Dallas, Texas, on 12th September, 1923. His father was a successful businessman who had made a fortune from investments in real estate and construction, railroads, and oil. He studied mechanical engineering at Duke University a in electrical engineering before obtaining a master's degree in mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
After the death of his father, Murchison and his brother inherited the family fortune. Based in Dallas the brothers owned the Daisy Manufacturing Company, the Centex Corporation; Field and Stream magazine, Henry Holt Publishing Company (later known as Holt, Rinehart, and Winston) and Delhi Oil. Murchison also formed a company to collect manure and process it to produce methane gas. The remaining nutrients were then recovered and sold as commercial cattle feed. He named his method the Calorific Reclamation Anaerobic Process (CRAP).
In the late 1940s, Murchison and another Texas oil mogul, Sid Richardson, met J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was the start of a long friendship. In 1952 the men worked together to mount a smear campaign against Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic Party candidate for the presidency. Hoover and his friend, Clyde Tolson, also invested heavily in Murchison's oil business.
Murchison was also closely liked to the Mafia. In 1955 a Senate committee discovered that 20 per cent of the Murchison Oil Lease Company was owned by Vito Genovese and his family. The committee also discovered Murchison had close financial ties with Carlos Marcello. Later, Bobby Baker claimed that. "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."
Interview with Madeleine Brown
Murchison developed extreme right-wing political opinions and along with his friend, Haroldson L. Hunt, was a supporter of the John Birch Society. Murchison funded the anti-communist campaign of Joseph McCarthy. According to Anthony Summers, Murchison was also "a primary source of money for the American Nazi Party, and its leader, Lincoln Rockwell".
Murchison also owned Tecon, a construction company. It was involved in several projects including the St. Lawrence Seaway, the maintenance of the Panama Canal, and the construction of a tunnel under Havana harbor for Fulgencio Batista, the military dictator of Cuba. In 1959 Murchison purchased the Dallas Cowboys for $600,000 and helped fund the Texas Stadium.
Rumours began to circulate that Murchison might have been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A friend of Murchison, Madeleine Brown, claimed in an interview on the television show, A Current Affair that on the 21st November, 1963, she was at his home in Dallas. Others at the meeting included Haroldson L. Hunt, J. Edgar Hoover, Clyde Tolson, John J. McCloy and Richard Nixon. At the end of the evening Lyndon B. Johnson arrived. Brown said in this interview: "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."
In 1970 Murchison's fortune was estimated to be $350 million. However, in the early 1980s he suffered from the fall in the price of oil. In 1984 he had to sell the Dallas Cowboys for $80 million. The following year he was forced into bankrupcy.
Clinton Murchison died on 30th March, 1987.
(1) Anthony Summers, The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover (1993)
Texan oil moguls Clint Murchison and Sid Richardson... had assets in excess of $700 million, not counting as much again in untapped oil reserves.
Recognizing Edgar's influence as a national figure, the oilmen had started cultivating him in the late forties - inviting him to Texas as a houseguest, taking him on hunting expeditions. Edgar's relations with them were to go far beyond what was proper for a Director of the FBI. And although the Murchison milieu was infested with organized crime figures, Edgar considered him "one of my closest friends."
"Money," the millionaire used to say, "is like manure. If you spread it around, it does a lot of good." Murchison and his Texas friends spread a great deal of dollar manure on the political terrain.
They had traditionally been conservative supporters of the Democratic Party - until the presidency of Harry Truman. He enraged oil men by publicly denouncing their tax privileges, and by vetoing bills that would have brought them even greater wealth. Murchison habitually spelled Truman's name with a small t, to show how little he thought of him.
Murchison's political instincts were of the far, far Right. He was a fervent supporter of states' rights, reportedly funded the anti- Semitic press and was a primary source of money for the American Nazi Party and its leader, Lincoln Rockwell, who considered Edgar "our kind of people.'
During the Truman years, musing in private about the perfect political lineup, Edgar had named Murchison and Richardson as ideal candidates for high office - or at least as financial backers for politicians to his liking. Murchison had been obliging ever since. He threw money at Edgar's friend Joe McCarthy, placed airplanes at the Senator's disposal and promised him support "to the bitter end."
(2) Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993)
The Hunts and the Murchisons present the images of different versions of right-wing politics, with the Hunts allied to opponents of Washington, particularly when they were supporting southern resisters to integration, and the Murchisons playing their connections to Washington, Johnson, and Hoover, for all they were worth. Nelson Bunker Hunt was behind the hostile ad that confronted Kennedy in the November 22 edition of the Dallas Morning News.
(3) Bobby Baker, interviewed in 1990.
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.
(4) David E. Scheim, The Mafia Killed President Kennedy (1988)
While ignoring the Mob in his official capacity. Hoover was less exclusive in his personal relationships. He often stayed for free at the Las Vegas hotels of construction tycoon Del E. Webb, whose holdings were permeated with organized crime entanglements. Hoover and Webb also met frequently on vacations in Del Mar, California. During Hoover's annual trips to that city's luxurious Del Charro Motel, his bill was paid by its owner, Clint Murchison, Jr., Hoover's "bosom pal. Murchison, a Texas oil tycoon who backed Lyndon Johnson, was questionably involved with both the Teamsters and Bobby Baker, infamous LBJ aide whose misdeeds will be discussed. But Hoover continued to accept Murchison's hospitality, even while Murchison's dealings with Baker were being investigated by both the Senate and Hoover's own FBI.
(5) 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."
(6) 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.
(7) Anthony Summers, The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover (1993)
Murchison, Snr., like almost all oilmen, had backed Johnson for the White House in 1960, and his fears about Kennedy turned out to be justified. The young President made no secret of his opposition to the oil moguls' extraordinary tax privileges, and moved quickly to change them. Murchison and his associates, it turns out, were linked to the assassination saga by a series of disconcerting coincidences.
George de Mohrenschildt, an oil geologist who knew Murchison and had worked for one of his companies, was on intimate terms with alleged assassin Oswald. He would be found shot dead in 1977, an apparent suicide, on the day an Assassinations Committee investigator called to arrange an interview.
Within four days of the assassination, the FBI received a tip-off that Clint Murchison and Tom Webb - the FBI veteran the millionaire had hired at Edgar's suggestion - were both acquainted with Jack Ruby. While they denied it. Ruby had met one of Murchison's best friends, Humble Oil millionaire Billy Byars.
Byars was close to Edgar. They used adjacent bungalows at Murchison's California hotel each summer. The phone log for the Director's office shows that, aside from calls to Robert Kennedy and the head of the Secret Service, Edgar called only one man on the afternoon the President was shot - Billy Byars.
(8) 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 Murchisons 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 didnt 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 Murchisons. I asked Peter ODonnell 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 Murchisons 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 Hogans Heroes fame) stopped his show to point them out, saying ... either you like him or you dont. Zoppi thought that was in poor taste, but Safran said Nixon laughed. Zoppis deadline was 11pm, so he stayed until 10:30 or 10:45 and Nixon was still there.
(9) Jack Anderson, San Francisco Chronicle (31st December, 1970)
Clint Murchison picked up Hoover's tab ($100-a-day suites) year after year at the... Del Charro near their favorite race track... at the same time some of the nation's most notorious gamblers and racketeers have been registered there.