For the past four years the Republicans have released great belches of indignation over government office-holders deriving outside income. They assailed President Timman's nomination of U.S. Steel's Carl Ilgenfritz to the chairmanship of the Munitions Board because Ilgenfritz intended to continue drawing his U.S. Steel salary. Under an 1870 law, it is illegal for any government contracts to a firm in which he has a financial interest. The Senate therefore refused to confirm Ilgenfritz.
Now that was long ago, but the horrified Republicans could not forget it. Throughout the campaign they hollered self-righteously, and insisted that even office holidays were violating the same law. After No members 4 indignation teased and the winners proclaimed the staff of The Big Sweep. But only last week the broom came to a half; there was a dusty corner that could not go because if it did, then Eisen-hower's Secretary of Defense would go along with it.
It was the old, problem all over again. Defense Secretary designate Charles F. Wilson had derived a healthy income from several million dollars worth of General Motors stock, and is reluctant to give it up. But the Senate indicated it could not confirm his appointment if he held the stock since he, like Ilgenfritz, would be violating a law. Wilson is adamant. The money is his; he wants to keep it. Wilson seems intent on putting personal gain above government service. It matters not that General Motors has the Defense Department's largest contract, and that the law says that a government official cannot deal with a company he has an interest in.
But to make the situation even more unwholesome, Eisenhower indicates he will keep Wilson on, stock or not, and the Attorney-General and his assistants are now busily seeking a way to circumvent the present law. If found, the loophole will make a good law worthless. Some have suggested Wilson disqualify himself when G.M. contracts come up for discussions. With G.M. the largest Defense contractor, this would make Wilson more than fifty percent impotent.
The solution is clear: if Wilson wants the job, he should sell his stock; Symington did when he became Army Secretary. If he wants his stock, then he should not take the post. If he takes the job and holds the stock, then we can only believe more strongly that Republican cries of corruption were nothing more than sheer hypocritical campaign talk.