The Lorimer Case Reopened
THE DENEEN-CONTROLLED STATE SENATE formed the Helm Committee on January 17, 1911, to investigate "alleged acts of bribery and official misconduct" by members of the General Assembly. Its creation reflected the widespread feeling of dissatisfaction with the Burrows Committee and its failure to trace the source of the "jackpot."1 The committee consisted of Republicans Douglas W. Helm, chairman, John C. McKenzie, Logan Hay, and Samuel Ettelson, and Democrat Frank W. Burton. John J. Healy, former Cook County state's attorney, a man whom Lorimer called one of his most "violent and bitter enemies," was counsel. The Lorimerites, again in control of the General Assembly, tried to block the investigation, but to no avail.2 The Deneenites and the progressives were determined to gain a maximum of political mileage from the case.
Throughout the state the Lorimer case caused a growth of progressive sentiment. In June, 1910, for instance, in reaction to the White confession, a "People's Conference" of leading progressives met in Peoria and demanded the enactment of the initiative, referendum, and recall, corrupt practices legislation, and statewide civil____________________