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.Later, while presenting the Owen bill to the Commit-tee in January 1914, he denied that he was the sole draftsman of the resolutionand even more strenuously denied that he had demanded or been given theexclusive power of questioning witnesses.32Yet, on May 6, Untermyer asserted his authority to the Pujo Committee• 223 •The Speculation Economyin a letter, cosigned by Farrar, so breathtakingly demanding that it amountedto a bloodless coup.Untermyer laid out exactly how and when things wouldbe done and concluded: “We cannot undertake any such task unless it isclearly understood that we are to have the widest possible latitude and au-thority from the Committee as to the scope of the Inquiry and the witnesseswho are to be examined.” Not only did Untermyer effectively usurp theCommittee’s power, he did so while holding it hostage: “We desire also atthis time to expressly, and separately as to each of us, reserve the right toresign our employment and to publicly state the reasons for so doing if anirreconcilable difference should hereafter arise between the Committee andCounsel as to the scope or manner of conducting the Investigation.” Theinvestigation was followed closely by the public.The Committee memberswould have faced political disaster if Untermyer had resigned.These hearings would be Untermyer’s hearings and both the investiga-tion and the bill that came out of them bore the stamp of his personalityand ideology.He was warned by Wall Street critic and NCF member AlfredOwen Crozier that, if the Democratic Party failed to pursue the fi nancial re-form plank in their platform and the investigation failed to produce concreteresults, Untermyer would be blamed: “But you have long been known as agreat corporation lawyer with offi ces on Wall Street.When the people fi nd, ifthey do, that they have been tricked and betrayed.and that the barn doorwas deliberately left open by the Committee until the horse was stolen, youwill be made the one ‘scapegoat’ of the whole proceeding and the countrywill believe that you were put in charge by Wall Street ‘interests’ for the ex-press purpose of accomplishing that very result.” Untermyer’s reputation ascrusader was at stake.33Untermyer raised a signifi cant problem almost immediately after his ap-pointment, one that would ultimately cripple the investigation.On April 30he wrote to Henry noting that the National Banking Act contained a provi-sion that would have prevented the Committee and its staff from investigat-ing the records—particularly the client records—of the banks that would bethe subject of investigation.A judicial order or an amendment to the BankingAct was needed or Untermyer and the Committee would be unable to followthe money.On May 18 the House unanimously passed an amendment to theBanking Act giving the Committee the powers it needed.It would never fi ndits way out of the Senate.34With no progress on the Senate side, Untermyer turned in the fall tothe administration for help.He could not demand the banks’ records, butthe comptroller of the currency had at least some of the information theCommittee wanted.Taft had never been in favor of the investigation, but on• 224 •The End of ReformSeptember 24 Untermyer wrote to him to ask that he release the comptrol-ler’s information.Taft turned the matter over to Wickersham and Untermyerstarted to push harder.He got nowhere until, late in December, a lame-duckTaft instructed the comptroller to release some information.It was, wroteUntermyer, only “the least important of this data.” As a result, he felt that the Committee had never properly completed its investigation.In January 1913,Pujo retired from Congress after an unsuccessful campaign for the Senate,leaving Glass in charge of the Committee.It was left to the unelected Unter-myer to wrap up the work.35As persistent as he was, Untermyer was also sensitive, and took criticismpersonally.Before the Pujo Committee had even been created he was com-plaining to Henry about his treatment in the press.His complaints wouldcontinue throughout the process in letters to friends like Henry and Bryan,associates like Pujo and the press itself, ranging from fi eld reporters andWashington correspondents to William Randolph Hearst [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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