How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer


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Well, you didn't have to draw a map for me to let me know what was going on. It was a shakedown. A plain old-fashioned goddammed shakedown. I can read pressure. I could see what they were doing. And then out comes this great big newspaper ad. Democrats for Nixon. And the ad had all the names of our people on it. The day the ad came out, they were calling me up saying, 'Tip, I had to sign the ad.

They sandbagged me.

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It's either sign the ad or go into the soup. What they're doing is too big. You never can get away with a thing like this. Not in this country. But they were sure trying. Now I don't remember when I said it, but I know I said to myself somewhere in the campaign. I said, 'This fellow is going to get himself impeached.

Notes from an Impeachment Summer How the Good Guys Finally Won Law

I thought it was silly and stupid. I never thought it was important. I was concentrating on the shakedown of these fellas like Steinbrenner. The occasion was the thirty-ninth running of the Massachusetts Handicap. In his life, only a swearing-in is more important than Mass Handicap Day. Inside the track, on his way to the dining room, O'Neill shook hands with a head-waiter, with Joe Dugan, an old New York Yankee third baseman, and with Rip Valente, the fight promoter.

O'Neill sat at a window table and looked over the menu. He put the menu down. When the food came, he looked at the scattered strips of corned beef on his plate. He put his glasses on and began making pencil marks on the program for the next race. This is a race-track saying older than the race track we were sitting in. It was direct evidence of part of the higher education O'Neill received as a youth, training of inestimable value to a person who, someday, was going to push for impeachment of a President.

For at the race track, where life is uncoated and speech is direct, there is an extraordinarily keen awareness of the possibilities of larceny jumping up at any moment, in any form. And a man who spent time at the paddock of a race track, as Tip O'Neill did, had no trouble at all in understanding exactly what was happening to people in this country like George Steinbrenner.

Early in , at the big Democratic campaign fund-raising dinner in Washington, great anticipation ran through the room upon the appearance of George M. Steinbrenner III, the owner of a shipbuilding company in Cleveland, who was taking his first step into heavyweight politics. Steinbrenner was new money, which in politics is stronger than new love. Therefore, Steinbrenner had been given a great table, right down front, where he could be thoroughly exposed to attacks by the great names of Democratic politics.

A tree facing a forest fire. But also a tree ready to join the fire: Steinbrenner owned a company which did business with the government. On other counts, too, he was a natural to come into the game. He'd been active in Cleveland, saving the National Air Show for the city, walking through Hough at the time of the riot in , and he also was interested in show business and sports, two distant cousins of politics. At the end of the campaign, Steinbrenner discovered how much of a natural for politics he really was. At this point, Senators Daniel Inouye and Gaylord Nelson spoke to Steinbrenner, asking him to be the chairman of the fund-raising dinner.

Steinbrenner accepted.

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The next year it brought in over a million. Great national heroes are as prominent as waiters when matched against a man who can raise big money for politicians. The record also shows that from on, Steinbrenner was in continual difficulty with the government. How much of the trouble was for legitimate reasons—and how much of it was illegitimate the Nixon re-election people at work —is impossible to tell.


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The Nixon people, all either in prison or awaiting trial, also refer you to lawyers. It is understood, however, that this was an Internal Revenue Service audit of Steinbrenner and his businesses after So, as O'Neill said later, there is no such thing as an audit being done and nothing being found. If the IRS auditor doesn't find something amiss, his pencils are taken away from him and he has to write all reports with a buffalo nickel. Steinbrenner also had problems with the Commerce Department.

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In purchasing the American Shipbuilding Company in , Steinbrenner inherited an obligation to build an oceanography research ship for the government. Each department Steinbrenner went to, Commerce and then Defense, gave him either no action or no hope. After phone calls and letters, Steinbrenner finally was given word that Maurice Stans, then Secretary of Commerce, would see that there was a hearing.

In November of , a Department of Defense auditing team moved into the shipbuilding company.

When the audits were finished, Stans sent word that the results appeared favorable. In February of , Stans ruled against Steinbrenner. On another front, Steinbrenner also was in difficulty with the Justice Department's antitrust division. Steinbrenner had entered into negotiations to purchase the shipbuilding division of Litton Industries. The Justice Department said the purchase would be in violation of antitrust laws. Steinbrenner became involved in the purchase of a tug company, Great Lakes Towing. Again, the Justice Department said it would be in violation. All during this period, industries of any size were being allowed and encouraged to use machetes on all rules and consumers.


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The only anger Richard Nixon ever showed was at the least hint of a government agency preventing an industry from gouging the people of the nation. Yet all Steinbrenner, the Democratic Dinner Chairman, had was trouble. He began to entertain the notion that somebody was trying to tell him something.

The law firm had offices at 20 Broad Street in Manhattan. Upon senior partner Nixon's election, branch offices immediately were opened in Washington, on Pennsylvania Avenue. This did not appear to be a move to discourage potential clients who had legal problems with government agencies. If you stumbled coming out of the Mudge, Rose Washington building, you wound up banging your head into the guard booth on the White House driveway.

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Evans does not seem to have been of any spectacular help to Steinbrenner at first. Somewhere in their relationship, Steinbrenner asked about a possible ambassadorship for his brother-in-law Jacob Kamm, a professor at Case-Western Reserve University. The price list Steinbrenner saw for ambassadorships was too high for him, brilliant brother-in-law or not.

At the start of , attorney Evans and client Steinbrenner began to discuss Evans' great desire to see Richard Nixon re-elected. Steinbrenner admitted he was not in love with the thought of supporting George McGovern, who at the time was methodically putting together the Democratic nomination. At the same time, Steinbrenner primarily was in love with the thought of getting out of his problems with government agencies. Nowhere has it ever been said that American business or politics is an amateur sport.

During these conversations, attorney Evans told his client, "I'm setting up a meeting for you with Herb Kalmbach. Steinbrenner asked who Herb Kalmbach was. Evans told him that Kalmbach was the man in charge of big donors to the Nixon campaign. These offices were located in the same building on Pennsylvania Avenue as the Mudge, Rose law firm. One of the beauty parts of royalty is that you don't have to be subtle.

At first Steinbrenner and Kalmbach talked good, pleasant Republican talk. Steinbrenner once was an assistant coach at Purdue. Kalmbach knew the names of Southern California football players. His boyhood goal to enter politics had been achieved.

How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer
How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer
How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer
How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer
How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer
How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer
How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer
How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer

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