Dec. 19, 1907
A JOURNALIST IN CONGRESS; OH MY! IS THAT LIKE HAVING A FOX IN THE HENHOUSE ... OR A HEN IN THE FOX DEN? It's a thought that might terrify some people, but a Congressman named Victor Murdock (above) of Kansas is, by profession, a newspaper reporter. According to an item in today's New York Times, Murdock has successfully applied some principles of investigative reporting to uncover some scandalous misuse of the taxpayers' money. The Times says Murdock is "given to burrowing into all sorts of forgotten things too dry and tedious for his colleagues."
During the last session of Congress, he discovered that the Post Office Department was "dividing SEVEN days' weight of mail by SIX to find a so-called 'average." By forcing the Government to stop the practice, he saved the U.S. about $5 MILLION annually, according to the paper. His latest find is even more intriguing. Evidently, he discovered that the U.S. Government, in 1836, put $28 million on deposit in various states, and -- shockingly -- "the States have never returned any of it."
Someone asked him how he came across that bit of information. His answer, which should be in some kind of Book of Best Quotes by Journalists, was:
"Oh, by just looking into some of those old musty black books which nobody is supposed to look into."