The Thomas G. Corcoran Page

Although the political fixer known as "Tommy the Cork" fell out of favor with FDR by 1941, he was a mentor to an important friend of the Lasker Syndicate, Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Corcoran obituary, Associated Press, Dec. 7, 1981. He served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1926; was a corporate lawyer for five years [in the Wall Street firm Cotton Franklin]; served with Roosevelt's Reconstruction Finance Corp. in 1932; assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury in 1933; and special assistant to the US Attorney General from 1932 to 1935.

Corcoran obituary, AP /

Brown Alumni Magazine bio of Corcoran '22, which also celebrates Wateragte figures Charles W. Colson '53 and E. Howard Hunt '53, and American Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell '42.

Corcoran bio / Brown Alumni Magazine

Corcoran was sent to Washington in the early years of the Roosevelt administration by then-Harvard law professor Felix Frankfurter, who ran a virtual a job-referral service for President Roosevelt's rapidly-growing New Deal bureaucracy. Frankfurter had been Roosevelt's legal advisor when FDR was governor of New York. Corcoran began as a lawyer in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation under Jesse Jones, who loaned him to Roosevelt, for whom he became a multi-purpose hatchet man, errand boy and fixer. Justice William O. Douglas said that "Corcoran, more than anybody else, was responsible for Frankfurter being appointed to the Court. They were very, very close in 1939. But in 1941 they were not." Douglas believes that Frankfurter and FDR's advisor Harry Hopkins ushered him out of government. (Transcription of Conversations between Justice William O. Douglas and Professor Walter F. Murphy, Dec. 17, 1962. William O. Douglas Papers, Princeton University.)

Douglas / Princeton University

Adlai Stevenson

From a book review of "Short of the Glory: The Fall and Redemption of Edward F. Pritchard Jr. '35," by Tracy Campbell: "In Washington, Pritchard -- first as a clerk and then as a New Deal administrator -- was the toast of a tight-knit intelligentsia that lived and dined together. It inlcuded future Washington Post publisher Philip Graham and his wife-to-be, Katharine; New York Times editor John Oakes '34; labor leader Walter Reuther; future Secretary of State Dean Acheson; politician Adlai Stevenson '22; physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer; philosopher Isaiah Berlin; columnist Drew Pearson; and lobbyist Tommy 'The Cork' Corcoran."

Jacobson / Princeton University

Lyndon Baines Johnson

"The national press played the Johnson election as a victory for FDR and his Court Reorganization Plan. A beleaguered White House welcomed the news. The President was planning a fishing vacation in the Gulf of Mexico, disembarking in Galveston and then traveling through Texas by train on his return trip to Washington. Of course, LBJ wanted a meeting but so did the White House advance men. Johnson who had been stricken with appendicitis on election eve and was only slowly recovering from his medical emergency asked his friend and fellow New Dealer, Governor Allred, to assure the meeting and photographs of it. The meeting was everything LBJ could have wished--a treasured photograph with the President, traveling with the presidential cavalcade through thunderously cheering crowds in Galveston, an invitation to ride with the President in his private car to College Station and then to Fort Worth. They had a full day to talk and FDR's impression of the Congressman-elect was enthusiastic. He advised LBJ to seek a seat on the House Naval Affairs Committee and promised to help him get it. Scribbling a telephone number on a piece of paper, the President told LBJ that if he needed any help to 'call Tommy' - Tommy the Cork - Thomas Corcoran, one of FDR's key aides. When he returned to the White House, the President himself telephoned Corcoran to say, 'I've just met the most remarkable young man. Now I like this boy. Help him with anything you can.' And so began the extraordinary odyssey, fatefully predicted by FDR in a conversation with Harold Ickes: 'In the next generation,' Roosevelt told him, 'the balance of power will shift south and west and this boy could well be the first southern President since the Civil War.'" (Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson: Architects of a Nation, by Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel. Speech at LBJ Presidential Library, March 14, 2000. Vanden Heuvel was among other things the executive assistant to William Donovan in 1953 when he was US Ambasador to Thailand.) [link dead]

Through his connections with Corcoran, LBJ got the federal funding needed to complete a dam on the lower Colorado River, and then persuaded the Rural Elecrification Administration to lay wire to places that were below the minimum population density standards. (LBJ Had a Bright Side and a Dark Side, by Robert Caro. History News Network 4-22-02.)

Caro / History News Network

"Tommy the Cork's influence continued for decades. He helped cement the relationship between a young Lyndon Johnson and the puissant House Speaker Sam Rayburn, both Texas Democrats. And according to Mutual Contempt, the book on Johnson and Bobby Kennedy written by Jeff Shesol '91, The Cork was among those who fixed the unlikely JFK-Johnson ticket in 1960." (The Power Broker, by Justin Pritchard '95, who covers Congress for the Washington Post online.) (Is Justin is any relation to Corcoran's old crony Edward F. Pritchard Jr.?)

Pritchard / Brown Alumni Magazine

Henry J. Kaiser

"Second, the war rid New Deal liberalism of its most obvious enemy. A large chunk of big business was by 1945 married to big government.

"Take Henry J. Kaiser. This paunchy, jowly, duckwaddling, table-pounding, oath-swearing package of pure energy took a sand and gravel business and made it into 'an organization that combines the merits of a Chinese tong, a Highland clan and a Renaissance commercial syndicate with all the flexibility and legal safeguards of the modern corporation.'

"In the thirties Kaiser built dams (Boulder, Grand Coulee and others), and during the war he built ships--Liberty ships, small aircraft carriers, tankers, troop ships, destroyer escorts, landing craft--all on a cost-plus basis. In 1943 he garnered 30 percent of the national production total, over $3 billion in contracts. His secret was not efficiency and quality, but who he knew and who they knew. He enlisted Thomas G. Corcoran ('Tommy the Cork'), a New Deal wonder boy turned lobbyist without peer, who got him into the War Production Board, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation ('the largest aggregate of lending agencies ever put together in the history of the world'), and the White House Map Room. He leased suites at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington and the Waldorf in New York, and settled in with a long-distance phone bill of $250,000 a year.

"Roosevelt wanted fast production, and Kaiser gave him speed; once he built a Liberty ship in fourteen days! His ships didn't last very long and they didn't work very well, but he could produce so many that the war machine couldn't grind them up as fast as he could spit them out. When the big steel companies fell short of delivering the materials he demanded, he borrowed $106 million from the RFC and made the Fontana steel plant, at no risk to himself. 'Cheap at twice the loan,' he would later say. And he knew also through his lobbyist friends that he would get the government facilities that made up so important a part of his empire at ten cents on the dollar after the war was over.

"Kaiser saw himself, as he said to Fortune, as 'at least a joint savior of the free enterprise system.' But he was very nearly the definition of what professor Burt Folsom calls the 'political entrepreneur.' Government supplied his capital, furnished his market, and guaranteed his solvency on the cost-plus formula. He was not required to make quality goods at low prices, just lots of goods, fast, at whatever prices he chose. Kaiser's empire was a huge public works agency, funded by taxpayer dollars. And this is the point: unlike earlier trial marriages, this one didn't break up! Divorce rates may have gone up all over the country after World War II, but business and government lived happily ever after." (World War II: The Great Liberal War, by John Willson, Henry Salvatori Professor of Traditional Values, Hillsdale College. Imprimis 1992 May;21(5).

Willson /

In 1988 Kaiser Engineers, "which had originated as the engineering unit of Henry J. Kaiser's industrial empire and grew to rank among the largest engineering and construction companies in the world," was acquired by ICF, the crooked consulting firm that subsequently produced the Environmental Protection Agency's report on the alleged health risks of secondhand smoke.

The ICF Page

Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation director Robert J. Glaser was president and CEO of the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation from 1972 until 1983.

The Robert J. Glaser Page

1954 United Fruit Co. coup in Guatemala

"The US, headed by John Peurifoy, the new US Ambassador to Guatemala, and Frank Wisner, the CIA's operations chief on Guatemala, implemented an elaborate plan entitled 'Operation Success' (a name quite indicative of the US feelings toward the mission) that included pirating a radio show that blocked the airways called the 'Voice of Liberation,' Armas attack on villages and trains, US pilots bombing Guatemala City, and Peurifoy demanding Arbenz resignation. All the while, the US claimed to have no intervention in Guatemalan affairs.... Thomas Corcoran (head of UFCO's Washington lobbyists) was old friends with Franklin Roosevelt and William Bedell Smith. Sought an executive job with UFCO while helping plan the coup (he was later named to its board of directors." (US Backed Coup d'Etat in '54 Leads to Military Regime in Guatemala: Thousands Killed, by Al Ferkel. Chart, Connections between UFCo and US Gov't during the US backed coup d'etat.  Moravian University forum. Link dead.)

The Historic George Town Club

Re clandestine arms dealer Ernst Werner Glatt, an ex-Nazi described as "one of the most important and enigmatic arms dealers of all time," who is said to have "never engaged in an aboveboard deal," and who "had a major role in almost every action the United States orchestrated to fight Communism: the wars in Afghanistan, Somalia, Angola, and on and on."

"By the time Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, however, U.S. intelligence agencies were fighting to court Glatt. (Army Intelligence won out and became his main handler.) That year, the Pentagon threw a birthday party for Glatt at Washington's George Town Club, (8) an exclusive private club where government insiders and prominent locals discreetly gather to discuss affairs of state. Held on the same night that then vice president George Bush was feted in another part of the club, Glatt's birthday party was a heady affair, hosted by club cofounder Milton Nottingham--a friend and sometimes shipping agent for Glatt--and attended by senior intelligence officials, generals, and bankers who laundered money for the Pentagon's 'black' programs. The George Town Club is secretive (membership is usually revealed only in one's obituary), but Colonel Ryan, who attended the party, describes the club as elegant yet reserved. 'It bespeaks good taste, power, and sophistication.... There are no Robert Hall suits to be found anywhere.'

"(8) The club was founded in 1966 by power brokers such as Robert Gray, head of Hill & Knowlton, FDR aid Thomas 'Tommy the Cork' Corcoran; and Tongsun Park, later revealed to be a South Korean agent who'd paid members of Congress some $800,000 to influence policy on Korea." (Licensed to Kill, by Ken Silverstein. Harper's Magazine, May 2000.)

Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to visit the Historic Georgetown Club homepage and check out their Politically Correct seafood menu and wine list.

  The Historic George Town Club homepage

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cast 09-25-05