"Though a good deal is too strange to be believed, nothing
is too strange to have happened"
In the spring of 1979, Jim filed a Freedom of Information
Act request for anything under his name at any government agency. A few months
later, a file three inches thick came in the mail that included everything we
had given to the FBI. There were also FBI memos about the stacks of evidence we
had sent in.
There was a notation in the folder
that 37 pages of the file were sequestered "in another agency" We
called an agent at the Miami field office of the FBI and asked: "What does
"The CIA," he said.
We wondered why What does the CIA have
to do with vote rigging? What has this to do with national security? And what
the hell is on those 37 pages?
We also found among the papers a memo
of instructions from Henry E. Petersen, assistant U.S. Attorney General of the
Criminal Division of the Justice Department.
GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
TO: Acting Director, DATE:: 5/16/72
Federal Bureau of Investigation
FROM: Henry E. Petersen
Assistant Attorney General
This is to recommend that the Crime
Records Division advise U.S. Representative Claude Pepper (Democrat-Florida) of
institution of this investigation at the request of the Criminal Division
Department, regarding a possible Election Laws violation. Investigation at this
time is being limited to interviews of: (The names were blacked
Background: James Collier and
his brother Kenneth have furnished several statements concerning what they
believe to be a violation of the Election Laws Statute. The violation allegedly
occurred during the September 1970 Florida primary elections when Kenneth
Collier was a candidate for U.S. Congressman running against the incumbent
Claude Pepper on the Democratic ticket. The Colliers contend the elections were
"rigged" because immediately after the polls closed, Miami television
stations predicted the final vote percentages of each candidate and the
projected vote totals. The television stations' predictions were allegedly 100%
accurate. Professor Ross Beiler of the University of Miami and Mr. Elton Davis
of the Cavanaugh Computer Corporation apparently programmed the computers for
the Miami television stations which predicted the election outcome. The
Colliers allege Beiler and Davis participated in a scheme to rig the above
mentioned primary. Statements obtained from the Colliers regarding their
allegations have been forwarded to the Criminal Division which has requested
Beiler and Davis to be interviewed to ascertain their possible involvement in
alleged scheme to rig this election. If either Professor Beiler or Mr. Davis
acknowledges that he did particpate [sic] in rigging this election, the Bureau
should attempt to ascertain the manner in which this rigging was effected, for
what purpose it was effected, and who directed that the election be
ACTION: Departmental Attorney
Craig C. Donsanto was contacted and advised as a matter of courtesy It is
recommended the Crime Records Division advise Congressman Pepper that at the
specific request of Assistant Attorney General Henry E. Petersen, Criminal
Division of the Department of Justice an investigation has been instituted.
(End of memo)
Henry Petersen was to become semi
famous later on as the federal investigator in the case against the Watergate
burglars. This was the first indication that Petersen was fully involved in
the vote fraud investigation prior to his Watergate assignment.