Clark R. Mollenhoff

Clark R. Mollenhoff (April 16, 1921 – March 2, 1991) was an American journalist, lawyer, and columnist for The Des Moines Register.

Life and career

Born in Burnside, Iowa on April 16, 1921, to Margaret and Raymond E. Mollenhoff, Clark R. Mollenhoff graduated from high school in Webster City, Iowa. He began working for The Des Moines Register in 1942 while attending Drake University law school, from which he graduated in 1944. Mollenhoff then served two years in the U.S. Navy before returning to the Register.[1]

In 1958 Mollenhoff won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, for a series exposing racketeering and fraud in the Teamsters Union. His work led to a successful crack-down on corruption within the Teamsters.[1]

In 1959 he received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College.

Eisenhower Fellowships selected Mollenhoff as a USA Eisenhower Fellow in 1960.

In 1965, Mollenhoff published Despoilers of Democracy, which provided details of corruption associated with Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson (before he became president), in particular the Billie Sol Estes swindles and the TFX scandal of 1963, investigation into which was suspended after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

In 1969 he served for a year as Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon, after which he became the Register's Washington bureau chief.[1]

In 1977 Mollenhoff became a professor at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia while continuing to write a column for the Register.[1]

In 1988 he wrote a biography of John Vincent Atanasoff, the Iowa State College professor who invented the first electronic digital computer in 1939. Mollenhoff's book gives the Atanasoff perspective of the 1973 federal court decision of Honeywell v. Sperry Rand that ruled the ENIAC computer patent invalid, and increased attention to Atanasoff's work. ' Mollenhoff wrote twelve books and won many additional awards.

While living in Lexington, Virginia, Clark R. Mollenhoff died on March 2, 1991 at the age of 69.

The Clark Mollenhoff Award for Excellence in Investigative Reporting is awarded annually by the Institute on Political Journalism for the best investigative journalism article in a newspaper or magazine.[2]


  • Washington Cover-Up: How Bureaucratic Secrecy Promotes Corruption and Waste in the Federal Government (1962), Doubleday. ISBN 0548443475 (2007 edition)
  • Tentacles of Power: The Story of Jimmy Hoffa (1965), World Publishing
  • Despoilers of Democracy: The real story of what Washington propagandists, arrogant bureaucrats, mismanagers, influence peddlers, and outright corrupters are doing to our Federal Government (1965), Doubleday
  • The Pentagon: Politics, Profits and Plunder (1967), G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • George Romney: Mormon in Politics (1968), Meredith Press
  • Strike Force: Organized Crime and the Government (1972), Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-852772-5
  • The Man Who Pardoned Nixon (1976), The K.S. Giniger Company, Inc., ISBN 978-0-900997-89-1
  • Game Plan for Disaster (1976), W.W. Norton & Co., ISBN 0-393-05543-4
  • The President Who Failed: Carter out of Control (1980), Free Press, ISBN 0-02-921750-4
  • Investigative Reporting: From Courthouse to White House (1981), Macmillan, ISBN 0-02-381870-0
  • Atanasoff: Forgotten Father of the Computer (1988), ISBN 0-8138-0032-3
  • Ballad to an Iowa Farmer: and Other Reflections (1991), Iowa State University Press ISBN 0-8138-1458-8


  1. ^ a b c d Mollenhoff biography at The Des Moines Register Accessed June 6, 2015
  2. ^ Clark Mollenhoff Award Archived 2012-06-10 at the Wayback Machine Accessed June 6, 2015

External links


Bulgarians (Bulgarian: българи, Bǎlgari, IPA: ['bɤɫɡɐri]) are a South Slavic ethnic group who are native to Bulgaria and its neighboring regions.

Burnside, Iowa

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Edwin H. Simmons

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Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award

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Ellen Rometsch

Ellen Rometsch (born September 19, 1936 in Kleinitz, Germany) was rumored to be an East German Communist spy who was assigned on diplomatic cover to the West German embassy in Washington, D.C. during the early 1960s. She had fled East Germany with her parents in 1955. She married German air force sergeant Rolf Rometsch, who was stationed at the West German embassy. She is also widely thought in some Washington journalism circles to have been one of President John F. Kennedy's girlfriends during the height of the Cold War. However, the FBI never turned up "any solid evidence" that Rometsch was a spy or that she had relations with President Kennedy.Rometsch was expelled from the U.S. August 21, 1963 "because of her behavior in Washington", behavior which threatened to have scandalous overtones reminiscent of the Profumo Affair in England. Rometsch had been known to visit the Quorum Club located in the Carroll Arms Hotel adjacent a Senate office building. It was a private club requiring annual membership dues and was used by lawmakers and other influential men to meet for food, drink, and ladies away from the press that were constantly downstairs at the bar in the hotel lobby. Rometsch had apparently disclosed details of her illicit relations with highly placed government officials that she had met at the club, to a former FBI informant of questionable reliability. Because she had been born in East Germany and was rumored to have once worked for Walter Ulbricht the FBI decided to investigate her. Attorney General Robert Kennedy was informed of the planned investigation on July 3, 1963. On July 12, 1963 Rometsch was interviewed by the FBI and it was concluded that the security allegations against her were not warranted and the high-level sex contacts were unsubstantiated.

However, due to the sensation that the Profumo Affair had created in the press and because the US State Department could not remove Rometsch without disclosing a specific reason to the West German authorities, it was decided that the information developed by the FBI would be transmitted via liaison to the State Department and then be made available discreetly to West German authorities. On August 14, 1963 Sgt. Rometsch was informed by his superiors of the allegations being made against his wife and that he was therefore being recalled back to West Germany in one week. The couple divorced on Sept. 27, 1963.The allegations involving Rometsch and her subsequent removal from the U.S., were brought to the public's attention through a front page article written by Clark R. Mollenhoff in the October 26, 1963 issue of the Des Moines Register. Mollenhoff said her circle included "several congressional figures" and "several high executive branch officials" and "moved in a crowd that included some well-known New Frontier figures." And that she led a life that "could not be financed on the pay of a non commissioned West German soldier." A few days later Clark Mollenhoff asked President Kennedy at a live televised press conference if he is fulfilling the requirements of his Code of Ethics. In his response Kennedy seemed to make a veiled reference to the Rometsch story Mollenhoff had just written by saying, "I have always believed that innuendoes should be justified before they are made, either by me and the Congress, or even in the press." Years later however, Bobby Baker seemed to have corroborated some of the claims made by Mollenoff by confirming that he was the one who introduced Ellen Rometsch to one of President Kennedy's closest friends, Bill Thompson while they were at the Quorum Club. Thompson allegedly asked if Rometsch could accompany him for dinner at the White House and Baker arranged for Rometsch to be taken to Bill Thompson's apartment where they drove to the White House together to have dinner with the President "on many occasions".Rometsch was an alleged call girl, which she denied, and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine if she had been working as an East German spy. Although FBI director J. Edgar Hoover met privately with Senators' Mike Mansfield and Everett Dirksen telling them there was "no evidence" that Rometsch was a spy, he then proceeded to tell them details about the senators who had been "entertained" by Quorum Club girls.Robert Kennedy desired to squelch any press reports of his brother's alleged involvement with Rometsch, which led him to seek Hoover's help in discouraging any mention of the Rometsch "allegations" in the Senate investigation of Bobby Baker, who held the post of Senate Secretary for the Majority until he resigned on October 7, 1963. According to biographer Evan Thomas, Robert Kennedy had Rometsch deported to cover-up an alleged extramarital affair John Kennedy had with her. Rometsch denied the sexual and spying allegations.

Honeywell, Inc. v. Sperry Rand Corp.

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