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John William Wright Patman (August 6, 1893 – March 7, 1976) was a U.S. Congressman from Texasmarker in Texas's 1st congressional district and chair of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency (1965–75).

Early life

Patman was the son of John N. and Emma (Spurlin) Patman, was born near Hughes Springsmarker in Cass County, Texasmarker, on August 6, 1893. After graduating from Hughes Springs High School in 1912, he enrolled in Cumberland University Law School in Lebanon, Tennesseemarker. Receiving his law degree in 1916 he was admitted to the Texas bar the same year. During World War I Patman served as a private and a machine gun officer.

Political career

Patman was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1920. He left the House in 1924 when he was appointed district attorney of the fifth judicial district of Texas.

In 1928, Patman was elected to the House of Representatives in Texas's 1st congressional district. In 1932, Patman introduced a bill that would have mandated the immediate payment of the bonus to World War I veterans. It was during the consideration of this bill that the Bonus Army came to Washington. Patman was a supporter of the New Deal. He also opposed the Federal Reserve System.

In January of 1932, Patman spearheaded a movement to impeach Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, which forced the latter's resignation the following month.

He was the author of the landmark Robinson Patman Act in 1936.

In 1975, Patman was voted out of his position as Chairman of the Banking committee by younger Congressmen, in a revolt against the 'Seniority system' which also removed Felix Edward Hébert and William R. Poage from their positions as chairmen. Patman was replaced by Henry S. Reuss by a caucus vote of 152–117. The main reason given for the caucus removing Patman was due to concerns about his age and effectiveness. Soon afterwards, Patman died at the age of 82 in Bethesda, Marylandmarker.

In the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, the Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union is named after him. This credit union serves the banking needs of elected and former members of the House and their staff. In addition, Wright Patman Lakemarker in Northeast Texas is also named for him.

Watergate inquiry

Wright Patman's eponymous committee played an important role in the early days of the Watergate scandal that eventually brought down President Richard Nixon. The Patman Committee investigated the hundred dollar bills found on the Watergate "plumbers" upon their arrest, suspecting they could directly link them to CREEP, the president's re-election committee. This investigative course was on the money, as it ultimately proved to be Nixon's undoing, although Patman's Committee was stonewalled by both Nixon and his Vice President Gerald Ford.


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