A Study in Boss Politics: William Lorimer of Chicago

By Joel Arthur Tarr | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
Senate Expulsion

THE PRELIMINARIES to the Lorimer Senate debate began before the end of the 1912 primary campaign. On March 18 Judge Hanecy filed a 114-page brief with the Dillingham Committee in which the doctrine of res adjudicata was central: the Senate should dismiss the case against Lorimer because of the lack of new evidence. Hanecy maintained that the confessions of White, Beckemeyer, Link, and Holstlaw were inadmissible because the men were perjurers, that Funk's story was mythical, and that there was no proof of a corruption fund. Senators should ignore the "public prejudice" generated by the press, he said, and remember the injustice of the decisions of Pontius Pilate and the judges of Joan of Arc.1

Ten days after Hanecy filed his brief, the Dillingham Committee, in a long and heated session, voted 5 to 3 that the new evidence did not justify reversing the Senate's former action. Dillingham, Gamble, Fletcher, Johnston, and Jones composed the majority and Kenyon, Kern, and Lea were the minority. By the same vote, the committee also held that there was no proof of a Lorimer election "jackpot" or of Hines's involvement in a corrupt election plan.2

In its lengthy report, submitted to the Senate on May 20, the majority restated the doctrine of res adjudicata and repudiated the Funk story as lacking "conclusiveness." The report attacked White as a

____________________
1
Tribune, Mar. 2, 19, 20, 1912.
2
The proceedings of the committee were secret. The report of the minority, however, contains an account of the committee's discussions. The minority report is U.S. Senate, Senate Doc. 769, Pt. 2, 62nd Cong., 2nd Sess. ( Washington, 1912), and is printed in U.S., Senate, Compilation of Senate Election Cases from 1798 to 1913, Senate Doc. 1036, 62nd Cong., 3rd Sess. ( Washington, 1913), 1098-1113; Tribune, Mar. 29, 1912; Bowers, Kern, 239-241.

-293-

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