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Nixon Aides Accuse Columnist of Campaign Smear

  Oct. 27, 1960, Political Cartoon

Oct. 27, 1960, Drew Pearson

Oct. 27-31, 1960: Columnist Drew Pearson reports on a $205,000 loan from Hughes Tool Co. to struggling restaurant operator Donald Nixon, the vice president’s brother.

Pearson is careful to say that it’s unclear whether Hughes received favorable treatment from the government as a direct result of the 1956 loan, but he reports that the company benefited in the next few years and he emphasizes the extreme secrecy surrounding the money.

Pearson noted the delicacy of publishing the story so close to an election and added that other reporters were also pursuing the matter. But as far as The Times editorial page was concerned, the column was a campaign smear and Pearson was no better than Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

Some argue that the story of the loan sank Nixon’s presidential campaign, but remember that by this time Nixon had also been badly bruised in the TV debates with the charismatic Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.). Still, the loan was certainly a heavy burden on the Nixon campaign and in fact it surfaced in Nixon’s unsuccessful 1962 race against Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Sr.

Postscript: During a 1973 news conference, President Nixon admitted wiretapping Donald Nixon in an attempt to keep tabs on whether his younger brother was involved in any questionable financial deals.

On the jump, the original Drew Pearson column, which appeared in the Mirror, and which is available nowhere else on the Internet – at least according to a Google search. 

  Oct. 27, 1960, Drew Pearson


  Oct. 27, 1960, Drew Pearson  

  Oct. 27, 1960, Editorial
Oct. 27, 1960, Pearson column
  Oct. 27, 1960, Donald Nixon  
  Oct. 27, 1960, Donald Nixon  

  Oct. 27, 1960, Donald Nixon  

  Oct. 31, 1960, Donald Nixon  

  Oct. 31, 1960, Donald Nixon

  Oct. 2, 1962, Brown-Nixon  
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Comments (2)

This one is a real mystery. On one hand, Nixon was a crook, but on the other hand, from what I have read, Drew Pearson was not beyond screwing people, even using their sex lives and innuendo, to get what he wanted. It's hard to tell what was at work here.

Like you, i had never read the details of the notorious Hughes loan, so i could never quite grasp its significance re a charge of knowing corruption involving Richard Nixon while veep.

The quality of reporting on this loan is breathtaking. This was the era of true investigative reporting in America, now in sad demise, both the reporting and the country. And the reason for the state of the latter is the demise of the former.

Honestly, the Republic is dead. I read so much on the net reported in other countries in great detail about crimes that go on in government in this country which are never reported here.


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