10 – He Allegedly Rigged the 1960 Election among Others
I have to use the term âallegedly’ here because there is no conclusive evidence, but there is a theory that Joseph Kennedy requested the help of the mob to rig votes in Chicago. In what amounts to a conspiracy theory, the suggestion is that the mobsters used the names of dead people to vote for JFK. According to Earl Mazo, a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, there was a dilapidated house in Chicago that apparently contained 56 voters for Kennedy. Kennedy carried the state of Illinois by just 8,858 votes.
Nixon would not have won the election if he had taken Illinois, but there were also allegations of voter fraud in Missouri and New Jersey among other states. While it is not outside the grounds of possibility that Joseph would be involved in such activity, it is important to note that he was a fan of Nixon’s. Before John won the Democratic Primary, Joseph told Nixon: “Dick, if my boy can’t make it, I’m for you.”
Perhaps a more relevant accusation of electoral fraud against Joseph Kennedy can be attributed to John’s 1946 Congressional campaign. A former Boston City Councilman named Joe Russo believed the inexperienced Kennedy would be easy to defeat, but he was warned not to run. He alleged that Joseph Kennedy found another man named Joe Russo and convinced him to run in the election too. The goal was to confuse the electorate and hopefully split the vote as people would end up voting for the wrong Russo.
It was a cunning scheme, but the Kennedys were not finished yet. They tried to bribe the front-runner, Mike Neville, out of the race. He was offered a $25,000 a year salary for life to work in the Kennedy Foundation. Neville rejected the overture so Joseph Kennedy called on the big guns. He got his friend, newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, involved. Hearst ensured that his Boston American newspaper didn’t run a single Neville ad in the 60 days leading up to the vote. Before the election, Kennedy offered $50 to large families to help out at the election. John easily won the primary with almost double the votes of Neville who was the nearest rival.
Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources: