Warren Richardson, whose impending nomination as assistant secretary for legislation in the Department of Health and Human Services has been challenged because of allegations of anti-Semitism, sent out public appeals on behalf of Liberty Lobby when he was that organization's general counsel and legislative spokesman.
The appeals -- one in 1972 and a second in 1973 -- asked people to subscribe to Liberty Letter, the organization's publication, because "how much weight my words have to busy legislators is determined by how many voters are backing me up."
The letters contradict assertions by some Richardson supporters that he had only a minor lobbying role in the organization during a period when its leaders, such as Curtis Dall, were asserting (in one case in a joint interview with Richardson) that the Rothschilds and other Jewish financial interests had financed world communism, and that Zionism is dedicated to "political and financial world domination."
Willis Carto, founder of Liberty Lobby, was quoted in a Drew Pearson column in the 1960s as having described Adolf Hitler's defeat as "the defeat of Europe and America" caused by "the international Jews."
Rep. Samuel Gejdenson (D-Conn.) and the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith charged last week that Richardson's association with Liberty Lobby from 1969 to 1973 should disqualify him for the assistant secretary post.
Richardson has denied allegations of anti-Semitism. HHS Secretary Richard S. Schweiker is expected to decide shortly whether to go ahead with the nomination. If he does, an aide to a prominent Democratic senator said a major battle over the nomination could be expected.
Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.), who got to know Richardson when he was leading the lobbying against labor law revisions and who said he did not know of Richardson's Liberty Lobby connections, initially recommended to President Reagan that Richardson become chief of White House lobbying. When Richardson failed to get that post, Laxalt and others (including some Democrats) recommended him for the HHS job. Laxalt's recommendation was initially revealed in the publication Medicine & Health.
According to a June 15, 1970, Associated Press report, Richardson was active in a 1970 Liberty Lobby "emergency committee" to raise money for what it called persecuted patriots, including then-Rep. John Dowdy (D-Tex.), who was on trial for perjury.
Yesterday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a Richardson backer, said of him: "I don't think he's biased against Jewish people."