Eldon Rudd

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Eldon Rudd
Eldon D. Rudd.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1987
Preceded by John Bertrand Conlan
Succeeded by Jon Kyl
Personal details
Born (1920-07-15)July 15, 1920
Camp Verde, Arizona
Died February 8, 2002(2002-02-08) (aged 81)
Scottsdale, Arizona
Resting place National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona
Political party Republican
Alma mater Arizona State College
University of Arizona Law School
Profession lawyer, politician
Religion Roman Catholic

Eldon Dean Rudd (July 15, 1920 – February 8, 2002) was a U.S. Republican politician.


Rudd was born in Camp Verde, Arizona. A 1939 graduate of Clarkdale High School in Clarkdale, Arizona, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1942 and served as a fighter pilot during World War II. After his discharge in 1946, he attended Arizona State College, from which he graduated in 1947, and the University of Arizona Law School in Tucson.

Years in the FBI[edit]

After a brief period in private practice, Rudd became a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1950. As the only FBI field agent in Washington, D.C. fluent in Spanish in 1954, Rudd participated in the interrogation of the Puerto Rican nationalists involved in the attack on the U.S. House of Representatives that year. His report impressed FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who personally offered Rudd his next choice of assignment, which he received as U.S. legal attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico, where he served from 1960 to 1970.

When assassin Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, Rudd was ordered by Hoover to collect from the Mexican government their law enforcement and intelligence files on Lee Harvey Oswald, including files relating to Oswald's connections to the pro-Fidel Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee, Oswald's several trips to and from Cuba, and his arrest in Mexico City. Rudd obtained Oswald's file from the Mexican government and personally flew a Cessna aircraft from Mexico City to Dallas, Texas, to provide the documents to FBI officials in Dallas as Kennedy's body was on its way to Washington, D.C. with Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and widow Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

Political career[edit]

After leaving the FBI in 1970, Rudd moved to Arizona, where he became involved in politics. He was elected to the Board of Supervisors for Maricopa County in 1972. Four years later, he won election to the United States House of Representatives for Arizona's 4th congressional district and served from January 3, 1977 to January 3, 1987. As a U.S. congressman, Rudd was a fiscal conservative, an orthodox Catholic, and a member of the important Appropriations Committee for five years where he opposed the expenditure of federal taxpayer dollars for abortions.

A staunch anti-communist, Rudd was a tireless supporter of U.S. anti-communist efforts in Central and South America, and was the last American to visit with Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza before he was killed by Sandinista forces.

During the 1980 presidential election, Rudd, with help from FBI colleagues with access to security officials at the White House, allegedly obtained debate preparation documents prepared for President Jimmy Carter for his election debates against Republican nominee Ronald Reagan, and provided the so-called "Carter debate papers" to the Reagan presidential campaign. (See also: Debategate)

Later years[edit]

Rudd retired from Congress in 1987 and took a position with the Salt River Project. Remaining active in Republican party politics, he served as campaign manager for Doug Wead during Wead's unsuccessful 1992 run for Arizona's 6th congressional district.[1] Rudd died in Scottsdale, Arizona on February 8, 2002; his remains were cremated and the ashes interred in the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.


Further reading[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Bertrand Conlan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jon Kyl