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- 1915 January 18 (Creation)
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H. L. Loucks writes to R.F. Pettigrew about the 1914 election for United States Senator from South Dakota and Edwin S. Johnson's campaign corruption.
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Jan. 18th. 1915.
Hon. R. F. Pettigrew,
Yours of the 14th. Just received. I am very glad to to learn that you are going to look into the Johnson matter more fully. For several reasons, some of which I will refer to later. I am very strongly of the opinion that if it is possible we should expose Johnsons corrupt campaign. It was creoked and corrupt from the start to finish. The Administration was advised of it by such strong supports as Campbell and Dowdell, and I have no doubt others.
I have received a copy of his statement of expenses as filed, and if you have not yet had one send for, or look it up promptly on your arrival in Washington. It is utterly absurd.
There are two peculiarities in statement.
In the paragraph relating to promises of positions etc this has been crossed out, and then a notation made apparently in same handwriting as the signature, “ above crossed out by error”, and then statement signed by E. S. Johnson. Query:- If crossed out by error then why did he not take a new blank?
The other peculiar thing is that the statement as to expenses and and promises has not been signed at all. It would seem as tho he had not expected that it would ever be inspected.
Now as to the first one, If crossed out by error, then that would indicate that promises had been made, in which case the names of the parties to whom made should have been inserted in proper place.
It looks very much like a case of trying to hedge in case he was caught.
That his brother Homer must have spent a lot of money is certain.
I met a man from Sioux City, an empolye of the Johnson Bro’s Land at White, out with an Auto, and local men, and he said that he had been out for some time.
Col. Stover says that he Johnson had a man out in each township of this county for all of the last week of the campaign etc. and the returns would indicate such activity.
During the Fair at Huron the promises direct be himself of Post Offices etc was common talk.
As I remember it, some of those told Richards. Campbell claimd that such promises were very common, in fact he said that Johnson offered to promise him.
The fact is that I think that he was unusually reckless with his promises, more so I think than he would have been had he had any expectation of being elected.
To allow his election to go unchallenged, means that our next and future elections will be conducted along similar corrupt lines.
Burke will not contest, for obvious reasons, but more especially that there would be a counter contest as to his primary campaign.
But is it necessary that a defeated candidate should contest?
I feel it a duty to aid in any way I can.
Every one of the progressive Senators should be vitally interested in exposing these campaign methods, for if not exposed and punished similar methods will be employed against them when their turn comes.
H. L. Loucks
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