Matthew J. Connelly

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Matthew J. Connelly
Matthew J. Connelly.jpg
Matthew J. Connelly in 1951
Born (1907-11-19)November 19, 1907
Clinton, Massachusetts
Died July 10, 1976(1976-07-10) (aged 68)
Oak Park, Illinois
Nationality American
Occupation Civil servant

Matthew J. Connelly (November 19, 1907, in Clinton, Massachusetts – July 10, 1976, in Oak Park, Illinois) was an American civil servant under Harry S. Truman, who having risen to Executive Secretary to Vice President Truman and then Appointments Secretary to President Truman, was indicted for bribery in 1955, convicted in 1956, served six months in prison in 1960, and was granted a full pardon by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Career[edit]

In 1930, he graduated from Fordham University and began his career as a stockbroker in New York City.[1][2]

Civil service[edit]

In 1933, Connelly began civil service with federal relief agencies based in Boston and then Washington, DC. In 1935, moved to Washington. In 1938, his first job on the Hill in DC was "investigation of the relief program"–that is, "the local welfare program."[1][2][4]

In 1939, he joined the staff of the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by U.S. Representative Clarence Cannon and investigated the Works Progress Administration.[2][4]

In 1940, he joined the staff of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Campaign Expenditures, chaired by U.S. Representative Guy Gillette. There, he worked under subcommittee chair U.S. Senator J. Lister Hill "to investigate the Kelly-Nash machine" in Chicago and then the Wendell Wilkie campaign in Alabama. Senator Lister had Connelly join the Truman Committee.[2][4]

In 1941, he served as chief investigator of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, known as the "Truman Committee." Investigators who reported to him included: Hugh Fulton, William S. Cole, Rudolph Halley, Walter Hehmeyer, Robert L. Irvin, Donald M. Lathrom, and Frank E. Lowe.[1][2][3][4]

In July 1944, he became Executive Assistant to Senator Truman.[3]

In January 1945, he served as Executive Secretary to newly elected Vice President Truman.[2][3]

In April 1945 through 1953, he served as Appointments Secretary to President Truman.[2][3]

Bribery charges[edit]

In 1955, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Connelly and T. Lamar Caudle for accepting a bribe and conspiring to defraud the government. In 1956, he received a conviction. In 1960, he served six months in prison.[1][2]

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy granted Connelly "a full and unconditional pardon."[1][2]

Personal and death[edit]

Connelly married Doris and had one son.[1]

In a 1967 interview with Truman Library oral historian Jerry N. Hess, Stephen J. Spingarn, Federal Trade Commission Commissioner (1950–1953), suspected that Max Lowenthal and Connelly "stuck the knife in me." Philleo Nash told Spingarn it was Connelly, influenced by Lowenthal:

I mentioned that Max Lowenthal had once told Niles, and possibly others that I was a Facist, that was in 1949, because I told Lowenthal I favored wiretapping under proper controls... Nash said it was quite possible that Max Lowenthal was very vindictive, and he mentioned that Max Lowenthal is currently spending much time in Matt’s office with L’s son.[7]

Spingarn further recalled:

There was an operation run, more or less, under the supervision of Max Lowenthal in the basement of the White House which was to prepare answers to the charges that McCarthy was hurling so freely during all that period and get them ready in a hurry, not wait until the lie had gone around the world before the truth has gotten its pants on. I remember Herb Maletz–good man–worked in that thing and one or two others whose names I can't remember at the moment.
Max Lowenthal was very much involved in that, and in his book The Truman Presidency, Cabell Phillips has me teamed up with Max Lowenthal in running that operation, which is not correct. I did an awful lot of work on the McCarthy stuff, but I did it in terms of trying to devise some machinery, or system, or operation.[8]

He lived in Cicero, Illinois. Connelly died age 68 on July 10, 1976, in Oak Park, Illinois, at Rust Suburban Hospital from cancer.[1][2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Hanley, Robert (1976-07-12). "Matthew J. Connelly Dies; Served as Aide to Truman". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Papers of Harry S. Truman Staff Member and Office Files: Matthew J. Connelly Files". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. 1963. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Oral History Interviews with Matthew J. Connelly". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Oral History Interviews with Matthew J. Connelly". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. 28 November 1967. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Oral History Interviews with Matthew J. Connelly". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. 30 November 1967. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Oral History Interviews with Matthew J. Connelly". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. 21 August 1968. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  7. ^ Spingarn, Stephen J.; Hess, Jerry N. (29 March 1967). "Oral History Interview with Stephen J. Spingarn (8)". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  8. ^ Spingarn, Stephen J.; Hess, Jerry N. (20 March 1967). "Oral History Interview with Stephen J. Spingarn (1)". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. Retrieved 19 August 2017.

External sources[edit]

  • Truman Library: Matthew J. Connelly Appointment Diaries, 1945–1952 (and undated)