Eugene E. Cox

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Edward Eugene “E. E.” Cox
Eugene Cox Georgia.jpg
Former U.S. Representative from Georgia's 2nd Congressional District
From: March 4, 1925 – December 24, 1952
Predecessor Frank Park
Successor J. L. Pilcher
Former Mayor of Camilla, Georgia
From: 1904–1906
Predecessor ???
Successor ???
Information
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Roberta Patterson
(died 1915)
Grace Pitts Hill
Religion Baptist[1]

Edward Eugene “Eugene” Cox (April 3, 1880 – December 24, 1952), also known as Eugene E. Cox, E. E. Cox, or Goober Cox,[2] was a Democrat segregationist from Georgia who represented the state's 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1925 until his death in 1952. He is known mostly for his role in investigating tax-exempt foundations during the 82nd Congress.

Background

Cox was born near Camilla, Georgia, located in Mitchell County. After completing Camilla High School, he was a member of Mercer University in Macon for four years. He graduated from its law department in 1902 and that year was also admitted to the bar.

Political career

Cox was the mayor of Camilla from 1904 to 1906. He also served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention during 1908.

U.S. House of Representatives

Cox was first elected to the House of Representatives in the 1924 elections coinciding with the presidential election that year, and was continuously re-elected over ten times, hardly ever facing significant opposition.[3]

Cox (right) and his daughter Gene.

When a new congressional session began on January 3, 1939, Cox's teenage daughter Gene was the first girl to serve as a page in the United States Congress.[4]

In late February 1943, Cox spoke to the Georgia Bankers Association, where he condemned "planned confusion, created by bureaucrats in government."[5] He also advocated in 1944 for the Democratic National Convention to return to a required two-thirds majority threshold in the nomination of presidential candidates.[6]

When Congress debated the Taft-Wagner-Ellender Public Housing Act in 1949, Cox brawled with Adolph J. Sabath in a fist fight on the House floor over the legislation.[7] The two subsequently defused from the tension and shook each others' hands afterwards.

Cox Committee

Eugene E. Cox bioguide.jpg

In April 1952, the U.S. House voted in the affirmative of enacting a select committee to investigate subversion among tax-exempt foundations.[8] Cox was made the chairman of the committee, which had a 4–3 Democrat majority. The other members on the Democratic Party were Brooks Hays, Aime Forand, and Donald O'Toole, while the three Republicans were B. Carroll Reece, Richard Simpson, and Angier Goodwin.

Due to the fact that Cox was part of the Conservative Coalition, the committee had a 4–3 conservative majority.[9] It conducted hearings and sent questionnaires to major foundations, though the scope and depth of the investigation wasn't substantial.

Death in office

Cox died while in office on December 24, 1952, prior to the conclusion of the committee's investigation and the release of the final report.[9] Although never examining the full substance, the counsel read to Cox the report's first half, which he approved.[10]

The committee's report ultimately proved to be of little depth and merely dismissed suspicions of the foundations' subversive activities. The seventh and eighth pages dismissed points regarding subversive activities:[11]

Our investigation, hurried by lack of time, indicates that very few actual Communists or Communist sympathizers obtained positions of influence in the foundations. However, there are some unhappy instances where the committee is convinced infiltration occurred. There remains the ugly unalterable fact that Alger Hiss became the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. And this despite the fact that his nomination and election came about through the efforts of men of proven loyalty and broad experience in public affairs.

...

The committee believes that on balance the record of the foundations is good. It believes that there was infiltration and that judgments were made which, in the light of hindsight, were mistakes, but it also believes that many of these mistakes were made without the knowledge of facts which, while later obtainable, could not have been readily ascertained at the time decisions were taken. It further believes that the foundations are aware of the ever-present danger and are exerting and will continue to exert diligence in averting further mistakes. While unwilling to say the foundations are blameless, the committee believes they were guilty principally of indulging the same gullibility which infected far too many of our loyal and patriotic citizens and that the mistakes they made are unlikely to be repeated. The committee does not want to imply that errors of judgment constitute malfeasance.

The Cox Committee report notably recommended an investigation of whether foundations used their privileges to evade taxes. While committee member B. Carroll Reece primarily focused on subversion charges rather than taxes in his do-over (see: Reece Committee), Texas liberal Democrat Wright Patman led the Select Committee on Small Business in taking up the suggestion during a probe in the early 1960s.[12]

References

  1. Cox. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  2. January 16, 1939. National Affairs: Goober's Girl. TIME. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  3. Candidate - Edward E. Cox. Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  4. Georgia girl appointed House Page by father. Washington, D.C., Jan. 3. Rep. E.E. Cox, Democrat of Georgia, and his daughter, Gene, whom he has appointed to serve as his personal page, this session in the house. Gene, who is 13 years old and can speak three languages, will be the first girl in the history of Congress to serve as a page, 1/3/39. Library of Congress. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  5. February 23, 1943. COX HITS 'CONFUSION' MADE BY BUREAUCRATS; Representative Says There Is Too Much Testing of Theories. The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  6. March 17, 1944. BIDS SOUTH DEMAND A TWO-THIRDS RULE; Cox Tells Georgians the Democratic Party Should Go Back to Old Nominating Basis. The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  7. June 23, 1949. Sabath and Cox Trade Blows In Bitter Feud Over Housing; Illinois Member, 83, and Georgian, 69, Fight on House Floor but Shake Hands Later -- Party Leaders Say Bill Is 'Safe' SABATH, COX FIGHT ON FLOOR OF HOUSE. The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  8. H RES 561. RESOLUTION CREATING A SELECT COMMITTEE TO CON- DUCT AN INVESTIGATION AND STUDY OF FOUNDATIONS AND OTHER COMPARABLE ORGANIZATIONS.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  9. 9.0 9.1 FascinatingPolitics (December 22, 2019). The Reece Committee on Foundations: Conspiratorial Nonsense or an Expose of a Threat to the Nation?. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  10. January 1, 1953. Final Report Of The Select Committee To Investigate Foundations And Other Organizations (Pursuant to H. Res. 561, 82d Cong.), p. 1. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  11. Final Report, pp. 7–8. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  12. Samson, Steven Alan. Charity For All: B. Carroll Reece and the Tax-Exempt Foundations. Liberty University. Retrieved September 24, 2021.

External links

  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Profile at Find a Grave