100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

US Senator Removed From Office

William Lorimer was born in England and came to America as a child. He became a politician and was Republican member of the US House of Representatives from Illinois for almost 15 years before seeking a US senate seat in 1909. After months of deadlock he was elected by the legislature with the help of many Democratic votes. In 1910 Lorimer asked the Senate to investigate allegations by the Chicago Tribune that he had obtained his seat by bribery and corruption, charges that he vehemently denied. At first Lorimer is exonerated but one committee member, Albert J. Beveridge (R-IN), refused to sign the majority report and submitted his own minority report. Progressives took up the cause of denouncing Lorimer. Former President Theodore Roosevelt refused to be seated at a Chicago banquet table with the senator. In April 1911 at the beginning of the 62nd Congress, Progressive leader Robert M. LaFollette (R-WI) urged the Senate to reopen the case on the basis of reports in the Chicago newspapers indicating that $100,000 had been spent on bribes to secure Lorimer’s election.
In May 1911 the Illinois state senate issued a report tying Lorimer and high-ranking Illinois executives to the campaign corruption.

On July 13, 1912 after a Senate investigation and acrimonious debate the Senate adopted a resolution declaring “that corrupt methods and practices were employed in his election, and that the election, therefore, was invalid.” The US Senate voted 55-28 to remove William Lorimer from his post as US Senator from Illinois after determining that his election by the Illinois Senate had been secured by corruption.

Ex-Senator from Illinois – William Lorimer


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