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Baker Case

BAKER CASE

BAKER CASE. Robert G. ("Bobby") Baker, secretary to the U.S. Senate majority at the time of his resignation under fire in 1963, was one of the most powerful congressional staff members of his time. His personal business ventures, which a Senate committee later found to involve abuse of his trusted political position, became a national scandal that briefly threw the spotlight on the sometimes unchecked power of little-known, but influential, Capitol Hill aides.

Baker rose from Senate page to top Senate assistant with the special help of Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson and Senator Robert S. Kerr of Oklahoma. He was indicted in January 1966 on nine charges, including grand larceny and attempted tax evasion. His conviction and prison sentence of from one to three years were based partly on evidence that he had pocketed approximately $100,000 solicited from business interests as campaign payments and that he had tried to conceal these transactions in his income tax declarations. After four years of appeals and litigation over admittedly illegal government eavesdropping, Baker entered Lewisburg Penitentiary in January 1971. Paroled in June 1972, he returned to an apparently flourishing motel enterprise, but not to politics.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Beschloss, Michael R., ed. Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963–1964. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.

Dallek, Robert. Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961–1973. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

John P.Mackenzie/t. g.

See alsoCorruption, Political ; Political Scandals .

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