Rep. Leo M. Birmingham, House Democratic Floor Leader, supported an investigation into the financial operations of the Curley administration that was being considered by the House, according to the Boston Traveler, Feb. 12, 1933, and other Boston newspapers (JMC Scrapbooks, Vol. 88, p. 5, 14, 26, 60, 70).
The Committee on Rules held a hearing on Feb. 10, 1933, to consider a petition to investigate Boston's financial operations under Mayor James Michael Curley. Based on the petition, signed by 7,200 individuals, Sen. Parkman introduced a bill calling for a probe of Boston’s financial affairs. Birmingham indicated that he would dissent if the committee recommended against conducting an investigation, while Sen. Joseph Finnegan said he would dissent if the committee recommended a probe.
One of the petitioners, Mrs. Hannah M. Connors, secretary of the Massachusetts Real Estate Owners’ Association, had alleged that James Roosevelt, the son of the president-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, had received commissions on insurance policies he had written for the city. Curley had supported FDR over Al Smith in the Democratic presidential primary and had worked with James Roosevelt in promoting FDR’s candidacy in Massachusetts.
James Roosevelt vehemently denied profiting from any type of business transactions involving the city of Boston. In a letter sent to the Sen. Erland F. Fish of Brookline, chairman of the rules committee, Roosevelt said: “In order that the record may be correct, may I state to you and through you to the rules committee that never at any time have I received one cent of commission for insurance or any other business from either the mayor or the city of Boston.”
Boston City Councilman Francis E. Kelly of Dorchester, who supported an investigation, filed a statement with the committee charging “graft and corruption during the present administration.”
An investigation into city finances was supported by the Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Boston Real Estate Exchange, the municipal research bureau, the Massachusetts Real Estate Owners Association, the Massachusetts Tax Association, the Good Government Association, and other civic organizations.
In addition, Sen. Parkman criticized Frank A. Goodwin, chairman of the Boston Finance Commission, for not aggressively investigating waste and corruption in the Curley administration.
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