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part, that is, the ultimatum given by the Governor to Ekern, is as given by the Governor's clerk ?
A. That is as I understood it.
Mr. Aylward: I offer the whole article, but now I simply will call attention to the opening lines of the article.
Senator Browne: Before that is read, I wish to object, Mr. President, to the admission of a newspaper article written by a witness who is in court, before the Senate, on the ground that the witness' testimony here is the best evidence.
Mr. Aylward: I think that is true. I will be glad to meet the objection.
Q. Mr. Clark, did Mr. Wilbur, when he called you to the Governor's office on Monday evening, say to you that the Governor had delivered this ultimatum to Mr. Ekern:
“You must close the L. L. Johnson headquarters in the Avenue Hotel to-night and hereafter refrain from any participation in the speakership contest now in progress, or when the legislature meets next Wednesday I will see to it that Wisconsin has a new insurance commissioner.”
A. Practically in those words.
Q. When was it, Mr. Clark, that the Governor's clerk called you to his office on Monday evening?
A. I don't know.
A. Oh, probably seven o'clock. Shortly after I had returned to the office from supper.
Q. Wasn't it nearer twelve o'clock, Mr. Clark?
L. L. JOHNSON, being first duly sworn, on oath testin follows:
Examined by Mr. Aylward :
A. I was.
Q. As a member of the last legislature, Mr. Johnson, were you appointed on what was called the Fire Insurance Investigating Committee
A. Yes, we called it the Wisconsin Legislative Fire Insurance Investigating Committee.
Q. Who were appointed on that committee with you, Mr. Johnson?
A. From the assembly, H. J. Mortenson of New Lisbon, William H. Bell of Racine and William J. Gilboy. of Milwaukee. From the senate: Senator George E. Scott of Prairie Farm, Senator W. Randolph of Manitowoc, Senator John M. True of Baraboo.
Q. And what was the work assigned to this committee?
A. Just a moment. Along with that resolution the commissioner of insurance was instructed to co-operate with us in every way and in everything that was investigated by the committee. The object of the investigation was to examine into fire insurance matters in every manner, as to rate making, commissions, qualifications for agents, etc.
Q. When the committee organized, who was elected chairman of the committee ?
A. Senator George E. Scott.
Q. What is the fact as to whether this committee was assigned room in the Capitol Building for their work.
A. They were.
A. Well, we got them from Mr. Essman I can't say. I suppose he had charge of the property.
Q. And to what room did Mr. Essman assign . this committee?
A. It is a small room in the old wing. I think it is number 112.
Q. And where is it with respect to the rooms of the commissioner of insurance ?
A. It is on the same floor, to the southwest of it, I think,
and at the time when we got it was occupied by a couple of clerks in the insurance department.
Q. And does it open into the rooms of the insurance commissioner!
A. It does not.
Q. You say that under the provisions of the law by which this committee was created that the insurance commissioner was also directed to co-operate with you in every way?
A. He was.
Q. And what is the fact as to whether Mr. Ekern, as insurance commissioner, worked a great deal with that committee during the past year?
A. He did, as he did most of the counsel work, you might say, of questioning the witnesses.
Q. What work did that cover? Just very briefly.
A. It was examining witnesses. That is, examining insurance agents, managers, of insurance companies, individuals who might have a complaint, anyone, in fact, that had anything to do with insurance, or where we could get any information.
Q. What is the fact as to whether your committee, of which you were secretary, were obliged to do and did do a good deal of your work in the office of the commissioner of insurance?
A. Did a large part of it there.
A. Largely so because of the fact that the commissioner had to see to his other business, and when he would get, for instance, his correspondence off his desk, why, he would take up this work with me, or members of the committee, when we were in there.
Q. How much of your time during the past six months, Mr. Johnson, did you give to the work of the committee?
A. Well, I should say three-fourths of the time, probably
Q. And what was true with respect to the last three months, October, November, December?
A. Not so much at that time, because I was helping with other
examiners in auditing or examining the Northwestern Mutual Life at Milwaukee.
Q. So you spent a good deal of that time in Milwaukee, did you?
A. Most of it.
Q. You were one of the candidates, Mr. Johnson, for speaker of the assembly when they last organized, weren't you?
A. I was. • Q. What is the fact, Mr. Johnson, as to whether Mr. Ekern advised or consulted with you with respect to your becoming a candidate for speaker?
A. He did not.
Q. You say he did not. Where did you make your announcement as candidate for speaker ?
A. In Milwaukee.
Q. Was Mr. Ekern consulted with respect to that announce. ment?
A. He was not. To my knowledge.
Q. How did you come to make your announcement, Mr. Johnson?
A. Well, I think it was quite generally understood before the election that if John McConnel of La Crosse was elected he would be the candidate for speaker and undoubtedly would have no opposition. That seemed to be the general conclusion. I reached Milwaukee on the morning of the election and, I think, by the evening papers, although it might be by the following morning's papers, noticed that McConnel had been defeated, and o fcourse I then realized that there would be a chance for some other member to be speaker and naturally, in my own mind, looked the matter over and thought there was a good opportunity; so I decided I would be a candidate, and, in walking down to the Board Rooms of the Milwaukee Board of Fire Underwriters, where we were having a hearing—by the way, I was alone, the other members had preceded me, or they were at the hotel, I hadn't seen them that morning-I met Mr. Ralston of the Milwaukee Journal. He stopped me and asked about news, I suppose referring to the work of the committee the day before. I stated I couldn't take the time then to give him anything definite as to that, but I had some other news, if he wanted to take it. He said: “All right.” I said: “You can announce I
will be a candidate for speaker of the assembly.” I think he took a pad out and made a note of it. That was all that was said and I went up to the Board Rooms.
Q. That was all the formality there was to it?
Q. Did you have any campaign for yourself as speaker, Jír. Johnson ?
A. Why, I should not call it a campaign.
Q. What was the only thing you did with respect to campaigning, if you can call it that?
A. I wrote letters to the members.
Q. That is, you wrote a letter to each member of the legislature announcing your candidacy?
A. The republican members.
The republican members? I had forgot there was some Democrats. Now, did you ask them for their support?
A. No, sir.
Q. Did you do anything further than to write a letter to each republican member of the legislature?
A. I called up Mr. Goff towards the end of the campaign, because I had failed to get replies from some members, and I was anxious to know whether he had received replies from them or not, and he told me he had not received replies.
Q. Did Nr. Ekern have anything to do with the writing of that letter?
A. Absolutely not.
Q. Did he know to whom you had written it, as far as you know?
A. I don't think he did.
Q. So that up to the meeting of the legislature, or until a day or two before the legislature, that is all, is it, that your campaign consisted of!
A. No, I met Mr. Hull here, twice I think, here in Madison; met him once over in Sumner's drug store, the first time, and I met Mr. Nye once, possibly twice, just for an instant.