On Tuesday I'll be teaching Allan J. Lichtman's “Tommy the Cork: The Secret World of Washington’s First Modern Lobbyist,” Washington Monthly (February 1987): 41-49. Lichtman wrote the article from the wiretaps Harry Truman ordered on Thomas Corcoran, the New Dealer turned Washington lawyer, which survive in Truman's presidential library. Among the unattractive aspects of Corcoran's personality the transcripts revealed was an eagerness to impress his fellow lawyers with his hard-boiled attitude toward his clients--in particular, his eagerness to exploit their fear and "just take the pants off them." He characterized one potential client to Abe Fortas as "a rich man who's scared as I never knew one who's scared. . . . . I think you can get $100,000 down this morning." He described another matter "as a case of people who are awfully scared and they might pay you desperately well."
Image credits: Corcoran; Hand