Arm and Hammer  /  Armand Hammer  /  Al ArmAndHammer Gore
Fifth-grader Christopher Hoch waited nearly an hour to ask just one question: "What's your middle name?"  Mr. Gore didn't answer, turning the question around and asking young Christopher his middle name. — Glenn Simpson
February 28, 2001

Al Gore
c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC    20500

Al Gore:

Arm and Hammer

I was puzzled at how often you are referred to on the Internet as "Al Arm-and-Hammer Gore."  The only association that I had to "Arm and Hammer" was to "Arm & Hammer" brand baking soda, and the connection between you and baking soda was not apparent.

And so I did a little research and came up with the following explanation, whose accuracy I invite you to comment upon.

The Arm & Hammer Baking Soda logo, to begin, gives the impression of being irrelevant (though it will prove not to be so entirely) to the question of the origin and meaning of the appellation "Al Arm-and-Hammer Gore."  The logo is owned by Church & Dwight Co., Inc., which explains it as follows:


The ARM & HAMMER symbol was first used in the early 1860’s by James A. Church, the son of Dr. Austin Church, one of the founders of our business. James A. Church operated a spice and mustard business known as the Vulcan Spice Mills. In Roman mythology, Vulcan, the god of fire, was especially skilled in fashioning ornaments and arms for the gods and heroes. The ARM & HAMMER symbol, therefore, represented the arm of Vulcan with hammer in hand about to descend on an anvil.
Church & Dwight, Company Information, History of the Logo,

As the above does not appear helpful, we pass on to the observation that the Arm and Hammer symbol does not originate with the Church family business, but rather has been widely used by others for other purposes.  Traditionally, the Arm and Hammer image symbolizes manufacturing or industry, as for example on Wisconsin's Coat of Arms and State Flag:

In Lewisburg, Ohio in 1932, an Arm and Hammer rubber stamp was used to cancel postage ( ), the symbol presumably employed here in its reference to manufacturing or industry.

To approach closer to the point, the symbol was also adopted by the American Socialist Labor Party, a precursor of the American Communist Party.  Why should Socialists or Communists have been drawn to the arm and hammer?  One imagines primarily because of its association with labor; however, the image may also carry a suggestion of militancy, of a powerful arm able to smash opposition.

Evidence of the arm and hammer symbol in this former Socialist-Communist use can be found today in a granite medallion over the entrance to the Old Labor Hall in Barre, Vermont, along with the acronym SLP standing for the Socialist Labor Party (alluded to at  A photograph of this Old Labor Hall can be found at, but in that photo, the arm and hammer medallion is too small to make out.

We do find unmistakable confirmation, however, in the New York newspaper, Weekly People, whose 10-Apr-1937 issue sported the following masthead

and whose second page was headed by

Lest we be misled by its name into believing that the Socialist Labor Party was Socialist rather than Communist, let us note that:

So far, then, the thread that we are following has taken us from the Arm and Hammer symbol to Communism.  Below, the thread will lead us on to a famous individual.

Armand Hammer

And that famous individual is Armand Hammer.

External link to Russian-language web site on Armand Hammer

ภ๐์เํไ ีเ์์ๅ๐

What's in a name?

How is Armand Hammer related to the image of the Arm and Hammer?  Most simply — believe it or not — that the name "Armand Hammer" was chosen by his father, Dr Julius Hammer, because it is a contraction of "Arm and Hammer":
Dr Julius Hammer
Dr Julius Hammer

On May 21, 1898, Julius's first son was born, and he proudly named him Armand Hammer.  He told friends that he had named him after the symbol of the Socialist Labor Party (and decades later, Armand would use the arm-and-hammer insignia as the flag on his yacht).
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, p. 35.

Julius Hammer's manner of choosing his name for his son is made credible by the recognition that Julius was not merely a believer in Communism, he was a dedicated Bolshevik aparatchik.  A Ukrainian Jew born in Odessa in 1874, he did not emigrate to the United States until the age of sixteen.  Biographer Epstein portrays his meeting Lenin at the Seventh Congress of the Second International in Stuttgart, Germany in 1907 as a seminal experience, though Julius's enthusiasm for Communism can be traced back to at least 1892 when he joined the Socialist Labor Party at the age of 18.

By the time the Stuttgart conference ended, Dr Julius Hammer had become part of the elite underground cadre that Lenin would depend on to change the world.  This conspiratorial movement went a step beyond starry-eyed idealism and fiery rhetorical disputes about the nature of society.  It sought to create the concrete means — networks of agents, sources of funds, secure communications, internal discipline — to bring about the desired world revolution.  It was predicated on the Leninist principle that any means employed, no matter how much they diverged from Marxist ideology, were justified by the ends.

Julius Hammer returned to New York that October with a solid commitment to the socialist cause.  He would help lay the groundwork for Lenin's revolutionary apparatus in America.
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, p. 36-37.

To a Ukrainian Jew finding himself in the New World, what could have been more natural than to work to bestow upon America the same gift of Jewish Conquest that his coreligionists had recently bestowed upon the Slavic lands?  This may have been a not uncommon aspiration among emigré Ukrainian Jews, as we have already seen one dedicating his life toward just this worthwhile goal in the case of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whom I wrote to you about in my letter of 01-Nov-2000 (to which I have not yet received your reply, nor indeed to any of the twelve letters that I have sent you).  And to such a committed Bolshevik as Julius Hammer, what could have been more natural than to name his son after the symbol which represented the cause to which he had dedicated his life (with the removal of a space offering a camouflage to unsympathetic eyes)?

Armand Hammer bungled his budding career as an abortionist

As Dr Julius Hammer's implementation of a Bolshevik conquest of the United States absorbed the bulk of his energies, it is difficult to understand how he could have simultaneously developed a thriving and lucrative medical practice, as is sometimes claimed, and it is possible to hypothesize that what time he did allocate to his practice was given to performing abortions, decidedly illegal at that time, and for that reason highly remunerative.  It is possible also to speculate that Armand Hammer, then a medical student at Columbia University, followed in his father's footsteps by performing abortions himself, unsupervised.

The outstanding piece of evidence in this department is that at the Hammer home on 05-Jul-1919, medical student Armand Hammer, on his own, performed an abortion on Marie Oganesoff, 33-year-old wife of a Russian diplomat, who bled to death afterward, whereupon Dr Julius Hammer decided that he would try to beat the rap by saying that he himself had found it necessary to perform the abortion in order to save the woman's life.  The jury believed the story only up to the point that Dr Julius Hammer had been the abortionist, and convicted him of first-degree manslaughter.  The judge sentenced Julius to three and one half to twelve years at hard labor in Sing Sing, which is the occasion of Edward Jay Epstein beginning Chapter One of his biography of Armand Hammer with the words:

On September 18, 1920, Julius Hammer entered Sing Sing State Prison, in manacles and leg irons, as prisoner 71516.  He stood naked while clerks examined his body for scars and other identifying marks.  They found none.  The prison's entry blotter describes him as "age 46, 5 foot 11 inches, 195 pounds, Hebrew religion."
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, p. 33.

An intimation of things to come — the trial of Dr Julius Hammer had been interrupted by the accusation that William Cope, a public relations man employed by Julius, had tried to bribe a juror.

Armand Hammer followed in his father's red footsteps

Armand Hammer with Khrushchev     Armand Hammer with Brezhnev     Armand Hammer with Gorbachev

Armand was if anything even more enthralled with Lenin in 1921 than his father had been in 1907:

He was not only flattered by the attention of a world leader, but he was, as he confided years later to his tape-recorded diary, "captivated" by the force of Lenin's personality.  "If Lenin had told [me] to jump out the window," Hammer reflected, "[I] probably would have done it."  He was now Lenin's man.
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, p. 62.  Square-bracketed material was in the original.

Upon Armand's first visit to the Moscow in 1921, he placed the Hammer family US commercial interests at the disposal of Felix Dzerzhinski, head of the dreaded Cheka, to be employed as a front for the Kremlin, and in return was raised from insignificance to power, as is evidenced by the sum of money that was immediately handed him for disbursement, from which it can be seen that he began to function not merely as some sort of good-will ambassador between the United States and the Soviet Union, but rather as an agent of subversion:

Hammer was given $75,000 to secretly take back with him to New York.  This money, which would be the equivalent of $600,000 today, was to be distributed there to underground agents of the Comintern.  Hammer thus demonstrated that he and his father were "convinced Communists and sincere comrades," as Reinstein wrote in his report.
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, p. 64.

When Armand returned to New York from that first visit to Russia in 1921, it was in noticeably better-cut suits, and with a diamond pin in his tie.  And neither was Armand Hammer's service to the Kremlin brief, or followed by any weakening of allegiance over the course of his life:

Hammer, who died in 1990 aged 92, was one of the century's most sinister figures.  Kremlin papers released after the collapse of the USSR and exhaustively researched by Ed Epstein in his book Dossier prove that, from the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 to the fall of the Berlin Wall, Hammer was a lifelong "agent of influence" of the Soviet Politburo and an accomplice of every Russian leader from Lenin to Gorbachev.
Neil Lyndon, How Mr Clean got his hands dirty, Sunday Telegraph (London), 01-Nov-1998,

Those wishing to poke fun at the origin of his name, or wishing to underline his Communist connections, today sometimes refer to him not as "Armand Hammer" but as "Arm and Hammer" or as "Armand Hammer and Sickle."

How Armand Hammer learned to stop worrying and love the Cheka

Armand Hammer lived in Moscow from 1922 to 1929.  Father Dr Julius Hammer won early release from Sing Sing on the argument that he was needed to facilitate trade deals with Russia, and moved there with his wife, Rose, and Armand's brother, Victor.  They all lived in Brown House — a palatial, thirty-room mansion in the heart of Moscow — and in which they had the assistance of eight servants, two chauffeurs, and other help as it was needed, and where they entertained in grand style.

When it came to business dealings, Armand took readily to Soviet methods.  He described with admiration how Cheka head Dzerzhinski got the Ural trains to run on time — when a train that was to pick him up did not arrive promptly, Dzerzhinski went to the local administrative center, ordered the chief administrator and his assistant to step forward, and had them shot in the courtyard.  To get his asbestos mine working, Armand had used "the harshest methods available," and when workers on short rations were on the verge of rioting, he called in the Cheka, and in short order "the strike was suppressed and the other problems were temporarily alleviated.  Hammer was enormously impressed by the cold-blooded efficiency of the Cheka and of its chief, Feliks Dzerzhinski" (Epstein, 1996, p. 83).  When a train with several cars of food for Hammer's mine workers was delayed by a station commandant demanding a bribe, Hammer called in the Cheka who shot the commandant after a brief inquiry.  The power of being able to kill his way to getting what he wanted went to Armand Hammer's head:

Hammer no longer saw himself as the powerless and isolated young man kept cowering on a ship by a British official.  Now he depicted himself as someone with awesome connections, someone to be feared rather than trifled with, and someone who, like Dzerzhinski himself, could destroy a petty official who abused him.  It was a story he would tell over and over again, with slight variations, throughout his career.
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, p. 84.

After Dr Julius Hammer talked Trotsky (Lev Bronstein) into allowing him and Armand — instead of Isaac Hoorgin — to be the ones to try to induce Ford to build a tractor factory in Russia, "Hoorgin's body was found weighted down with chains in Lake George in upstate New York" (Epstein, 1996, p. 98).

Did Armand Hammer intervene to protect his son, Julias, from standing trial for murder?

Below is an excerpt from a 12-Sep-1959 letter written by an unidentified individual to the "Hon. John Edgar Hoover" which begins "Dear John."  The subject is Julian Hammer, son of Armand Hammer, and relies on a 11-Sep-1959 article in the Los Angeles Herald and Express which is reproduced on the FBI site, but is illegible.  The FBI elaborates later that Julian's killing of his friend had been over a "gambling debt."  The relevance to our discussion is the possibility that Armand Hammer intervened to protect his son from standing trial for murder, which possibility adds further to our impression that Armand Hammer was skilled in subverting justice:

This young Hammer killed a man in 1955 in a drunken brawl, and never came to trial probably because his father was financially able to persuade someone that his action was in self defense.  Now he comes along and tries again to kill; or threatens to kill.

The enclosed clipping also states he is working on a secret government project for an aircraft company.

It makes no difference to me whether or not he might be a great scientist or engineer, his family background connections and their association in the past with our "Red" enemy, plus the fact that he killed one man and threatened to kill his wife and others, indicate to me that he is "NUTS", and not the type of man to be trusted with federal secrets.

Out of one hundred and seventy plus million U.S. citizens cannot these contractors of federal secret defense weapons find sane people to do the work ... why do they have to risk classified matters to this type of individual.  No wonder the enemy can so easily acquire our military secrets.
FOIA.FBI, Part 12, p. 27.

Did Armand Hammer try to bribe Congressman Hale Boggs?

The Hooker Chemical Company mentioned below (the same that was responsible for Love Canal, incidentally) was owned by Occidental Petroleum.  Representative Hale Boggs, (Democrat, Louisiana, Majority Whip) had spoken against a proposed Foreign Trade Zone in Maine which stood to make Hooker Chemical and Occidental Petroleum a pile of money, even while destroying the domestic oil industry.  Let us begin with an FBI summary of Hale Boggs' accusation of attempted bribery that took place on 01-Oct-1968:

Congressman Boggs told me that shortly after his return from New Orleans, the President of the Hooker Chemical Company, the General Counsel of the Occidental Petroleum Company, and a third individual, called upon him in his office.  Prior to the meeting he said he set up a tape recorder and arranged to have a hidden still picture taken while the meeting was in progress.

At this point in our conversation Congressman Boggs dramatically began to illustrate the manner in which the chairs in his office were arranged, identifying the individual who sat in each chair.  He then stated that the President of Hooker Chemical Company advised him point-blank that it was realized that he, Congressman Boggs, needed money for his congressional campaign in Louisiana.  Boggs admitted that he, in fact, did need money.  This individual then told Boggs all he needed to do was to contact a certain individual (he named this individual), in Louisiana, and any amount of money that Boggs asked for, would be furnished him without question.

Boggs stated he immediately realized, of course, that this was a bribe, and for the purpose of the tape recorder he asked several sharp questions to draw these men out further.  He also fully identified them in his own voice, so that proper identification would be picked up by the tape recorder.

After doing all this, Boggs stated he told these individuals, "You bastards are in trouble and I want no part of you."  Boggs stated he then left the room, leaving these individuals with very stunned expressions on their faces.

Boggs stated the following day he traveled to Portland, Maine, where he succeeded in completely blocking the actions of the Occidental Petroleum Company.
From summary of FBI interview conducted on 11-Oct-1968, in United States Government Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to Mr. Tolson, dated 11-Oct-1968, FOIA.FBI, Part 8, p. 20.

One might expect that when someone who holds as responsible a position as Majority Whip of the House of Representatives makes an accusation of attempted bribery, and backs that accusation up with a tape recording, that the FBI would immediately start an investigation, the first steps of which might be to transcribe the audiotape that had been made, and to interview all those who had been involved.  However, that is not what happened.  What happened is that the FBI decided it would not investigate unless ordered to do so by the Department of Justice:

It is suggested that the General Investigative Division prepare a letter to the Department, giving a brief recital of the above-mentioned facts and indicating that the FBI is taking no action unless advised to the contrary by the Department.  It, of course, could be that this entire matter is somewhat of a political set-up; consequently we should not be caught in the middle of it.
End of the DeLoach to Tolson memorandum of 11-Oct-1968, FOIA.FBI, Part 8, p. 21.

My letter to you of October 14, 1968, contained information furnished to this Bureau by Congressman Boggs concerning an offer of a bribe made to him at a meeting in his office attended by representatives of Occidental Petroleum Company and Hooker Chemical Company.  As stated in that letter, no action is being taken by the FBI concerning the information furnished by Congressman Boggs unless contrary advice is received from the Department of Justice.  [...]

NOTE:  This communication and the news article are being furnished to the Attorney General so it is absolutely clear to him that the FBI is not conducting any investigation of Congressman Boggs' allegations that a bribe in the form of unlimited campaign funds was offered to him.
Director FBI to Attorney General, 14-Oct-1968, FOIA.FBI, Part 8, p. 25.

Possibly stunned that no investigation was being conducted, Boggs sent the FBI the following urgent request:

Dear Mr. Hoover:

I am herewith formally requesting a full, complete and intensive investigation of an attempt to bribe me by the Occidental Petroleum Corporation and its agents.

I charge specifically a violation of Title 18, Section 201 of the United States Code annotated.

I am asking that your top people begin this investigation today.

Very truly yours,
Letter dated 16-Oct-1968, FOIA.FBI, Part 8, p. 36.

The following day, 17-Oct-1968 — sixteen days after the attempted bribe took place — the Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nathaniel E. Kossack finally ordered the FBI to conduct an investigation (FOIA.FBI, Part 8 p. 46).  The FBI's response was, of course, that it would conduct an investigation, but stressed in its internal memos that only mature agents were to be entrusted with the case (FBI agents apparently being categorizable into mature and immature):

WFO is being instructed to assign this case to mature and experienced Special Agents and it will be closely supervised.  (p. 34)
The Bureau has instructed that this investigation be handled by mature and experienced agents.  (p. 40)
For the information of New Orleans and New York, the Bureau has instructed that this investigation be assigned to experienced and mature agents and is to receive daily expeditious attention.  (p. 106)
FOIA.FBI, Part 8, bold emphasis added.  WFO is Washington Field Office.  The first statement above appears to have been written by the FBI Director on 24-Oct-1968; who wrote the others, or when, is unclear.

What is a "mature" FBI agent?  Does the FBI have "immature" agents?  My guess is that the FBI does have immature agents.  An immature agent is a starry-eyed youngster who joins the FBI with the idealized and impractical view that the FBI is out to get the bad guys, and the more highly placed the bad guys are, the better.  The "maturity" that experience brings to an agent over the years is the recognition that this idealistic view has to be tempered somewhat by the awareness that some bad guys are not to be touched.  Perhaps what the mature agent can be counted upon to have the good sense to do, then, is to guarantee the termination of certain investigations on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

Who can keep himself from entertaining such a hypothesis upon seeing the FBI declining to investigate what appears to be a strong case, and when commanded to investigate by the Department of Justice, expressing concern that the investigation be entrusted only to "mature" agents?  The hypothesis certainly is not weakened by seeing FBI bungling over the years on other matters, right up to today.  The hypothesis will become still easier to entertain after reading evidence farther below that the FBI did have a hands-off policy with regard to Armand Hammer.

The FBI investigation of the Boggs attempted bribery that does follow appears leisurely.  The FBI finally accepts delivery of Boggs' audiotape on 23-Oct-1968, twenty-two days after the attempted bribery (FOIA.FBI, Part 8, p. 69).  When the FBI finally listens to the tape, it decides that much of it is unintelligible — wouldn't you know!  Furthermore, the Hooker Chemical and Occidental Petroleum representatives have a different recollection of what happened during the meeting.  That an assistant of Congressman Boggs was present during the meeting and confirms Boggs' allegation of attempted bribery (see pp. 87, 90, 93, 94 in FOIA.FBI, Part 8) does not appear to impress the FBI.  Because of insufficient evidence, the FBI says, the investigation is terminated.

Congressman Boggs did tear several holes in the net that he cast, which let Armand Hammer swim through and escape:

A review of the key facts indicates that Boggs was in the right.  Seeing that a bribe was coming, he took care to tape record the actual bribe, and on top of that to have a witness present.  That he did explode with an accusation of attempted bribery during the meeting with Hooker-Occidental executives is confirmed not only by his assistant, but also by the defensive letters (putting their own spin on what happened) that were immediately written by the executives themselves.  It does not seem possible that a person who has reached as responsible a position as House Majority Whip would be capable of staging, and tape-recording, and inviting a witness to, his own outburst of an accusation of attempted bribery when no such attempt was taking place.  Too bad for Boggs and for justice that his righteousness miscarried; another lucky break for Armand Hammer, if one can count as lucky the receipt of further encouragement to a life of crime.

The FBI was not in a position to launch any major, reputation-destroying investigation of Armand Hammer on the matter of the Boggs allegation.  Undoubtedly, Hammer continued to have powerful friends the way he always had who were protecting him from investigation (who these might have been will be discussed below); and if the FBI had failed to investigate Hammer — in depth, that is — for half a century, then this became a reason to never investigate him in depth, because one of the discoveries that any investigation might turn up would be the FBI's ongoing failure to investigate in depth.  The practice of leaving any malefactor alone becomes self-perpetuating — he is left alone for the reason that he is left alone.

The story of Hale Boggs bears looking into as possibly illustrative of what happens when an American — without adequate preparation — tussles with a powerful Soviet agent who enjoys the protection of corrupted American institutions.  The impression given by the following chilling statement is that it dawns on that righteous American that the corrupted institution is allied with the Soviet agent, he includes the corrupted institution in his indictment, and he finds himself being mauled not only by the Soviet agent, but also by the corrupted institution:

When Ralph Nader recently leveled a serious charge against the Justice Department's antitrust policies, Attorney General Mitchell responded by declaring that Nader was having "hallucinations."  This followed on the heels of a similar Justice Department retort to charges leveled against J. Edgar Hoover by Congressman Hale Boggs.  Boggs, according to the Deputy Attorney General, was "either sick or not in possession of his faculties."
Alan M. Dershowitz, Taking liberties: A decade of hard cases, bad laws, and bum raps, Contemporary Books, Chicago and New York, 1988, pp. 44-45.

Did Armand Hammer try to bribe Los Angeles City Council members regarding Pacific Palisades?

On the accusation of bribery alone, the FBI launched six major investigations of Armand, the last of which concerned his secretly transferring $120,000 to Herbert Itkin, a former FBI informant in his employ, to be used to bribe at least one and possibly two members of the Los Angeles City Council in an attempt to influence a vote before the Council that would permit exploratory drilling for oil off the coast of Pacific Palisades, California.  Somehow, the investigation was triggered by the receipt of a letter dated 10-Oct-1979 from an agent of the United States Customs Service in Los Angeles.

The investigation was discontinued for — yes, again! — lack of sufficient evidence.

(This incident was briefly described in the MEMORANDUM OF INVESTIGATION/ATTEMPTED BRIBERY; LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS of 16-Jul-1980: FOIA.FBI, Part 8, pp. 13-14.)

Armand Hammer did make illegal campaign contributions, and did obstruct justice

In connection with an illegal contribution of $54,000 to Richard Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President, Armand had arranged for six people, including himself, to lie to FBI agents, mislead a Senate investigation, and create false documentation, providing prosecutors with a solid case for charging Hammer not only with the original illegal contribution, but more importantly with multiple counts of obstruction of justice.

Armand Hammer managed to negotiate a plea-bargain in which he would plead guilty to three counts of making illegal campaign contributions, one secondary gain for him being the prevention of a wider investigation which would have revealed his diversion of millions of dollars of Occidental Petroleum funds that could have led to embezzlement charges.

However, when Hammer next sent judge William B. Jones a 23-page letter stating that he was pleading guilty not because he believed that he was guilty, but only because he was too infirm to endure a trial, the judge ordered the guilty plea withdrawn.  Prosecutors then announced that since the terms of the plea bargain had been violated, they would convene a grand jury to indict Hammer on two additional felony charges of obstruction of justice.

Armand in his turn came forward with the dying-man ploy in which he had himself admitted to hospital, and had six medical specialists in the pay of Occidental Petroleum furnish opinions that he was unfit to stand trail.  This succeeded in getting prosecutors to again accept his guilty plea to three misdemeanors, which Hammer did deliver this time, but from a wheel chair, his face ashen, his eyes downcast, his body quivering, dozens of wires monitoring his heart trailing to an adjoining room where attendants stood by with an oxygen tent and other emergency paraphernalia.  Upon leaving the court room, however, Hammer was blessed with a miraculous recovery, which permitted him to check out of the hospital and bounce into his Occidental Petroleum office the following day.

Reviewing this incident, it is possible to view the U.S. Government as being in a position to give Armand Hammer penitentiary time following convictions for obstruction of justice and embezzlement, but content instead to slap his wrist with misdemeanor convictions.

Armand Hammer understood the value of blackmail

In view of what we know so far, we cannot be surprised that another weapon in Armand Hammer's armamentarium was blackmail, as is evidenced by his attempting the takeover of the First National Bank of Washington, D.C.:

Hammer's quest for data that could be used as leverage became almost an end in itself.  At one point in the late 1970s, he attempted to widen his access to the records of politicians in financial distress by buying a controlling interest in the First National Bank of Washington, D.C.  After spending almost $5 million to buy 5.2 percent of its holding company, Financial General Bancshares, he attempted to persuade a foreign financier who was seeking to do business in the United States to join him in the takeover attempt.  The financier could not see the point of the deal.  Hammer looked at him as if he were naïve and explained that the bank had outstanding loans to more than one hundred U.S. senators and congressmen.  When his prospective partner still failed to see the point, Hammer explained that all these congressional borrowers had submitted statements to the bank that revealed their precise financial status, including their debts, earnings, real estate holdings, and other assets.  He suggested that this data would be worth more in terms of influence than the entire investment they would need to make.  The financier declined to participate when he realized that Hammer had blackmail in mind.
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, pp. 321-322.

Despite his sleazy past, Armand Hammer dreamed of a Nobel Prize

External link to United World College of the American West In his declining years, Armand took it into his head to win himself a Nobel Peace Prize.  However, his attempt to get President Carter to nominate him was met with refusal.  Hoping to get Prince Charles to convince Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to nominate him, he provided Charles with free water-color lessons, and gave $5 million to one of Charles's philanthropic projects, United World College of the American West, which ended up being named not after Prince Charles who had the inspiration, but after the financier who was distributing stolen money in his attempt to buy a Nobel Prize.

Above: Dr. Armand Hammer in front of the Julias and Armand Hammer Health Sciences Center in 1989.
"As a P&S graduate who left medicine to become an oil tycoon, Dr. Hammer agreed to provide funds for construction of the Julius and Armand Hammer Health Sciences Center."

Photograph, caption, and quote are from the Columbia University web site.  (The error "Julias" is in the original caption. "P&S" refers to the College of Physicians and Surgeons).

Armand contributed to the Swedish Academy, hired local public relations specialists to contact the key players in the selection process, offered lucrative deals with Occidental Petroleum to Swedish business leaders, and spent some $5 million buying himself awards and honors that he believed would favorably influence his selection.  It was pointed out to him, however, that the Nobel Prize had never been awarded to a convicted criminal, and so he began to agitate for a Presidential pardon for those three misdemeanor charges to which he had pled guilty.  In his continuing campaign to paint over his blemishes, Armand gave $5 million to Columbia University in return for its naming its Health Sciences Center after his father and himself.

Armand offered $1.3 million to the Ronald Reagan Library, making him the largest single pledger of funds for the project, but Reagan wouldn't pardon him.  He gave $110,000 to the Republican Party's National State Election Committee, but Reagan still wouldn't pardon him.  Armand shovelled money right and left, and did finally get from President Bush Senior the pardon that he was seeking, but only after changing the grounds of his request from innocence to compassion.  In the end, despite Armand's United World College of the American West contribution, Prince Charles allowed Armand to be god-father to Charles’s firstborn son, Prince William, but declined to support Armand's nomination for the Nobel Prize, and Armand had to fall back on Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel to do the job.  All his efforts to win the Prize, however, proved futile, although he is said to have lost out in 1989 only to the Dalai Lama.

Did Armand Hammer really finish medical school?

Armand Hammer is widely referred to as "Dr," and we have seen in the Columbia University Health Sciences Center material above that Columbia University itself appears to credit him with a medical degree.  Armand's FBI files are strewn with such compelling corroborative statements as the following:

The records of the New York State Education Department, Bureau of the Professional Licensure, Medical Division, reflect that subject was born May 21, 1898 at New York City, attended the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, graduating in September 1921, and was licensed as a physician with Medical License #18127 issued on January 31, 1924.  His license is currently valid and his office address is listed as 183 West 4th Street, New York City.
FOIA.FBI, Part 4, p. 8.

In spite of all this, one occasionally encounters denials that Armand completed his medical studies, as for example: "Not long after his father was arrested, Armand dropped out of medical school.  Despite this, he referred to himself as 'Doctor Hammer' for the rest of his life" Charles Thompson and Tony Hays.

Seeking corroboration of Armand's medical degree, I emailed the following query to Columbia University:

Date: 23-Jan-2001
From: Lubomyr Prytulak <>
To: <>
Subject: Verifying Columbia degree
Cc: Tessy Koikara <>

Student Administrative Services:

I am interested in verifying the claim that Armand Hammer (born 21-May-1898) graduated from Columbia University Medical School on or about 1921.

Armand Hammer is widely credited with having done so; however, one occasionally comes across indications that this is not the case.  For example, the InfoPlease biography at

describes Armand's father, Julius, as a "doctor," but does not apply the title "doctor" to Armand, and refers to Armand as having "attended" medical school at Columbia, with no mention of his having graduated.  Or, FORTUNE magazine states that "When Armand was 23 and about to graduate with a medical degree from Columbia, Julius sent him to Russia to confer with Lenin."

Confusion exists surrounding Armand Hammer's medical degree even within sources where one would expect none, as illustrated in an FBI report which has him "matriculating in the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1917," receiving his A.B. degree in 1919, and being awarded a Doctor of Medicine on June 1, 1921 — a somewhat implausible sequence of events.  Perhaps we can expect occasional confusion in FBI documents, as they are sometimes little better than an attempt to make sense out of incongruous newspaper reports.  This is on p. 44 of

It would be helpful to have Columbia University clear up this question.

Lubomyr Prytulak, Ph.D.

And I received the following reply:

Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001
From: Carmen Sierra <>
To: Lubomyr Prytulak <>
Subject: Re: Verifying Columbia degree


Our records indicated that Armand Hammer attended The College of Physicians & Surgeons from 1917-1921 and received a M.D. Degree on June 17, 1921.  He also attended Columbia College and received a B.A. on June 1, 1917.

For more information on Columbia College, you might want to contact the archives on our downtown campus at

Very truly yours,
Carmen Sierra
Manager of Registration Services
Student Administrative Services
Columbia University
Phone: (212) 305-7732
Fax: (212) 305-1590

William J. McGill

In an honest world, Columbia University's reply above would be definitive confirmation that Armand Hammer had indeed finished medical school.  However, we do not live in an honest world, we live in a venal world.  We have just been reviewing evidence that Armand was thoroughly unscrupulous, shrinking neither from bribery nor blackmail, and that in his attempt to secure a Nobel Prize, he spent five million dollars buying himself awards and honors.  What we don't know is whether his purchasing of awards and honors included the purchasing of degrees, and we don't know how early in his life such purchasing began.

We do know that completion of Columbia University's Julius and Armand Hammer Health Sciences Center took place during the administration of William J. McGill, President of Columbia University 1970-1980.  The year that McGill became President of Columbia University happens to be the same year that he became acquainted with Armand Hammer, being made privy to Armand's Watergate money-laundering problems no later than their second meeting:

MC GILL stated that during 1970 he came across an old University folder containing HAMMER's father's grades from Medical School.  He later made an appointment with HAMMER and gave him the folder as a personal gift, knowing that father and son enjoyed a very close relationship.  He stated that HAMMER was so overcome by receiving the gift that he "burst into tears" and later invited MC GILL to lunch where HAMMER discussed his "money laundering problems" concerning a contribution he had made to the campaign of former President RICHARD NIXON.
FOIA.FBI, Part 7, p. 35.

William McGill handing over a student's scholastic records as a gift may strike some as a violation of the integrity of university records, and as opening the door to their falsification.  If Columbia University employees are in the habit of handing out university files as gifts, then how will they be able to know who really graduated and who didn't?  Curiously, William McGill doesn't say anything about Armand's own file — did he hand that over too?  Did he locate it and allow Armand to inspect it?  Did he promise it to Armand after it became as old as Julius's file was when he handed it over (by 1970, Armand's medical school records would have been approaching half a century old)?  Wouldn't Armand have said, "Well, while you're handing over my father's file, why don't you give me mine as well?"  Wouldn't Armand have wanted photographs of these proofs of his having completed medical school included in the several vanity biographies that he had published about himself?

In other words, the occasion described by McGill to his FBI interviewer was one on which it would have been natural for McGill and Armand to have made reference to Armand's medical-school file, and McGill's failure to mention any such reference between Armand and himself to the FBI interviewer is puzzling, and suggests less that nothing had been said about Armand's file, and more that what had been said was not for public consumption.

Of course for Armand to have been able to claim for the past half century that he was a physician, falsification of Columbia University records would have had to take place around 1921, long before William McGill arrived on the scene in 1970, though McGill's handing over any final remnant of evidence embarrassing to Armand could have taken place around 1970, and might have helped unstop the flow of grateful tears from Armand's eyes and grateful dollars from his pockets.

We know, furthermore, that Armand's largesse did not flow only to Columbia University, but also to William McGill personally — in 1981, Armand put McGill on the Occidental Petroleum Board of Directors.  We look forward to the disclosure some day of how much this directorship brought McGill, and whether it was supplemented by other consideration, and how early in their relationship the payment of such consideration started.

In return, we see McGill not only putting the Hammers' names on the Columbia University Health Sciences Center, but performing other favors as well.  For example, we see that after Armand was convicted of those illegal campaign contributions we spoke of above, McGill wrote a letter to the sentencing Judge requesting leniency.  We also see that when Armand was applying for that Pardon After Completion of Sentence which he viewed as the removal of the final obstacle standing in his path to the Nobel Prize, McGill supplied him with a glowing character reference — the FBI interviewer reported McGill saying that he and Armand had "developed a very close relationship," that Armand was "absolutely straight," that he was "one of the sharpest and most capable businessmen he had ever encountered," that "only two or three people in his life time have made a greater impression on him than Armand Hammer," that students at the Armand Hammer College of the American West "view Hammer as a Saint," and that he "highly recommends applicant be granted pardon" (FOIA.FBI, Part 7, pp. 36-37).  That is the sort of service (surely only the tip of the iceberg) that a university president can be hired to perform for an erstwhile professional abortionist, manslaughterer, Communist agent, Cheka worshipper, briber, blackmailer, embezzler, money launderer, and Nobel Peace Prize aspirant.

However much it is asserted that Armand Hammer did earn a medical degree, one may wonder where he would have found the time to do so.  During the years when Hammer should have been immersed in his studies, he was beset by several wasting distractions:

  1. Elaborate parties.  Buying property already is something of a distraction, but then using it to "give elaborate parties" is very much a distraction: "Also, while in school, he acquired a small house at 183 West 4th Street, in Greenwich Village, New York City, where he was known to give elaborate parties" (FOIA.FBI, Part 1, p. 44).
  2. Running a corporation.  Armand was joint owner, with his brother, Harry, of the Allied Drug and Chemical company, which the two of them ran.  Although most of the claims concerning this company are probably false, the very fact that the claims are made suggests that the company was doing business, and so would have required some attention.  Among these claims are that Armand made his first million while still in school (FOIA.FBI, Part 6, p. 19), and that the company brought in "as much as $20,000 daily profit" (FOIA.FBI, Part 1, p. 44).
  3. Working as an abortionist.  As recounted above, while in medical school, Armand performed at least one solo abortion, and so may have been supplementing his income by performing abortions regularly.
  4. Having dad sent to Sing Sing.  When Marie Oganesoff bled to death, Armand would have been distracted from his studies by the police investigation, by his father (to whom he was close) standing trial in his stead, and being convicted, and being sent off to Sing Sing.
  5. Picking up the Bolshevik torch.  Where Armand should have been studying for his finals, he was instead implementing plans urged upon him by his father from prison to pick up the torch of the Bolshevik overthrow of the United States — these United States that were proving so inhospitable to the Hammer clan, and that would be so delicious to plunder if the seizure of power that had recently succeeded in the Slavic lands could be duplicated in the New World as well.  The immediate step that would assist that plan, according to the incarcerated Dr Julius Hammer, was to send Armand to Moscow where Armand would place not only himself, but the whole Hammer family, at the service of Lenin.  As Armand applied for his passport to travel to Russia on 16-Apr-1921, we see that preparations for this new venture were being implemented in the spring of the very year in which he was supposed to be completing his medical studies.
  6. Government surveillance.  And capping it all off would have been the distraction of Armand's awareness that his family was under the surveillance of the New York City Police Department "Red Squad," by the FBI, by the US Army, and by other American and British agencies.
The presence of any one of the above distractions would be enough to make many medical students either drop out or fail.  The simultaneous presence of half a dozen such distractions absolutely guarantees that a medical student will drop out or fail.  Thus, the first part of the closing sentence below — that Armand was not attending classes — is compatible with all of the above, and so is believable; the second part — that he somehow did well on his examinations anyway — is incompatible with any of the above, and so must be understood as Armand-Hammer-generated disinformation, with which the world has been saturated:

Dr. Hammer was the son of Russian émigrés.  He made his first million in the pharmaceuticals business while still a student at Columbia University.  Business kept him away from so many classes than some fellow students assumed he had dropped out of school, yet he graduated in the top 10 of his class.
FOIA, Part 6, p. 19. "Than" instead of "that" is in the original.

One final consideration that undermines Armand's claim to a medical degree is his lack of grounding in reality when he addresses the subject of medical qualifications.  For example:

For all his business feats, though, Hammer still speculates whether he should have pursued medicine instead of management.  "I think I would have made a pretty good doctor," he says with an easy grin.  "I have always renewed my license to practice every year.  If anything happens, I'll have something to fall back on."
Newsweek, 12-Oct-1964, p. 91, in FOIA.FBI, Part 5, p. 89.

If Armand Hammer were not living in a fantasy world, he might have recollected that (assuming for the moment he did get a medical degree in 1921) he nevertheless skipped his internship, and so of course never practiced medicine, and that at the time of his Newsweek interview, he was ignorant of the previous 43 years of progress in medical science (between 1921 and 1964) — and yet he imagined that he could just start practicing medicine in 1964, or in fact at any later time, at the drop of a hat!

Of course Armand Hammer had no intention of ever practicing medicine — all he wanted was to be allowed to write a "Dr" in front of his name — and for permitting this harmless affectation, Columbia University would receive five million dollars toward its Health Sciences Center, and who knows how much else to how many Columbia University employees starting in 1921 and continuing on for at least the next sixty years.  Granting honorary degrees is one way that universities indulge the vanity of generous benefactors, and for practical purposes, Hammer's MD was no better than an honorary degree — this is the sort of thinking that each bribed employee could have followed to ease his conscience.

Today, Columbia University finds itself in the awkward position of having the names "Julius and Armand Hammer" carved into the stone of its Health Sciences Center while the public becomes increasingly aware that Julius and Armand Hammer were Soviet agents, that Julius took the rap for Armand's botched abortion, and that their life's work consisted of stealing from Americans and undermining their democracy — so of course Columbia University today will want to avoid acknowledging that on top of all that, the Columbia MD that Armand had been allowed to claim for some 70 years was fraudulent.

What could be the FBI's motive for often repeating that Armand had an MD, and not once questioning it, is another matter.  At best, it suggests a failure to probe beneath surface appearances; at worst, it hints at Armand's corruption spreading deeper into American institutions than we would like to imagine possible.

A thoroughly disreputable Armand Hammer

Biographer Epstein sums up Armand Hammer's moral and ethical orientation with the following condemnation:

LAMB:  How often when you researched this book did you go, "Wow"?

EPSTEIN:  Not only when I researched the book, when I wrote the book and even after I wrote the book; when I got the tapes and began to listen to Hammer in his own voice discussing bribes and things like that, I went, "Wow," all the time.  Because I didn't really realize — I had always had a picture of business like I read it in Forbes magazine or Business Week or how presumably it's taught in business school; something where you get up early in the morning, you work hard, you have imaginative ideas, you do things differently than other people and you make money.  With Hammer, what he really brought back from Russia was his education.  That's what made him a wealthy man.  And what his education in Russia — it wasn't an education in literature or mathematics, it was an education in bribery, in compromise, in blackmail and basically how to approach a government figure and get him to give you a concession.  And that proved, in the world of oil, in the world of Middle East, that Soviet education, he was truly Lenin's first capitalist.  He learned how to basically apply the principles of conspiracy to Western capitalism very successfully.
C-SPAN interview of Edward Jay Epstein by Brian Lamb regarding the Epstein biography Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer, 05-Jan-1997.

But a Baking Soda King, nevertheless

Returning to the Arm and Hammer baking soda with which we started at the top of the present letter, we find that it is not wholly irrelevant to the trail that we are following, as it at first seemed:

"They call me the baking soda king," he'd cackle when you asked him about Occidental's inexplicable acquisition of an interest in Arm & Hammer.
James Cook, Forbes,

Whatever the truth of the matter, Hammer once painted an arm-and-hammer emblem on his yacht, giving rise to persistent speculation that he either was (a) the owner of Church & Dwight, makes of A&H baking soda, or (b) a Commie.  Tired of explaining otherwise, Hammer tried to buy the company, but they didn't want to sell.  So in 1986 he settled for the next best thing, a partnership with Church & Dwight that netted Oxy Pete a sizable chunk of C&D stock and Hammer a seat on C&D's board.  For a time, then, Armand Hammer was a director and owner (if not THE owner) of Arm & Hammer.  Occidental sold the stock shortly after Hammer's death in 1990, apparently figuring a pun was not the best basis for a lasting business relationship.
The Straight Dope,

To sum up so far, the thread that started with "Al Arm-and-Hammer Gore" led to Arm & Hammer baking soda, and that led to the Arm and Hammer symbol of the Socialist Labor Party, and that led to Communism, and all these together led us to father-son Julius and Armand Hammer.  Following the thread still further leads to your father and his son.

Al Arm-and-Hammer Gore

Of all the people in the world that a US Presidential candidate would want to avoid being associated with, Armand Hammer would surely be near the top of the list; and yet of all the people in the world that you have been associated with, Armand Hammer has been near the top of your list.  Your relationship appears to have begun early:

Left to Right: Senator Al Gore Sr, Armand Hammer, Mrs Pauline Gore, daughter Nancy, and little Al Gore Jr.,

What is your middle name?

Rumor has it that your middle name is Armand, suggesting that your father followed in Dr Julius Hammer's footsteps by inserting into his son's name a reference to the object of his veneration.  That is, Dr Julius Hammer venerated the Arm and Hammer of Communism, and named his son with the camouflaged Armand Hammer; your father venerated Armand Hammer, and named you with the camouflaged Albert A. Gore.

If not, then why didn't you simply answer the fifth-grader's question below by saying that your middle name was Arnold, the same as your father's?  Your not answering this fifth-grader leaves the impression that you sensed a trap, sensed that he had been coached by malevolent forces to put this question to you, and that your replying with the lie that your middle name was Arnold would be walking into that trap:

February 14, 2000

What's in a Name? In Al Gore's Case,
Middle Initial Is Just Another Letter


WASHINGTON — When Vice President Al Gore visited the Roberta C. Cartwright Elementary School in Henderson, Nev., in October, fifth-grader Christopher Hoch waited nearly an hour to ask just one question: "What's your middle name?"

Mr. Gore didn't answer, turning the question around and asking young Christopher his middle name.

Reporters in attendance, intrigued by this, asked the vice president's staff.  They were directed to publicly released copies of his tax returns and other documents, in which the name is listed as Albert Arnold Gore, the same as that of his father, the late Tennessee senator.

Over the years, Mr. Gore seems to have sometimes used, and sometimes dropped, the middle name of Arnold.  He also alternated between using and not using the suffix "Jr."  But a copy of his birth certificate, provided after repeated requests by Mr. Gore's office on Jan. 31, the day before the New Hampshire primary, reveals a curiosity: Legally, Mr. Gore's name is simply Albert A. Gore.

That's reminiscent of another famous Democrat, former President Harry S. Truman, who had no middle name.  Mr. Truman said that in spite of the period, the S didn't stand for anything.  It was a compromise between the names of his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gore's spokesman, Chris Lehane, released a brief explanation: "Al Gore's parents gave him the option of which middle name to use.  Since he was a teenager, he has chosen to use Albert Arnold Gore."

Born in Washington, D.C., on March 30, 1948, the future vice president's arrival was heralded on the front page of the Nashville Tennessean, because of his father's position.  The senator had previously noted that the child of then-Rep. Estes Kefauver had gotten lesser treatment, and remarked: "If I have a boy baby, I don't want the news buried in the inside of the paper."  So the day after his son was born, the Tennessean obliged by carrying the headline: "Well Mr. Gore, Here HE Is — On Page One."

The story didn't give a name for the boy, nor did a birth notice published in the Washington Post.

Moreover, on Mr. Gore's birth certificate, the space left for the "Child's Full Name" is blank, apparently reflecting some early indecision on the part of the Gores about what to call their son.

At the bottom of the page, however, is a handwritten notation in script added nine days after the birth.  It appears exactly as follows: "name of child Albert A. Gore... .added from Supp. Report 4-10."

FreeRepublic, Vetting the Nominee,

You must admit that your parents acted most peculiarly.  They didn't disclose your name in front-page newspaper coverage of your birth.  They didn't supply a name for your birth announcement in the Washington Post.  They left blank "Child's Full Name" on your birth certificate, and supplied (using some alternative route) that your name was the cryptic "Albert A. Gore."  What was going on here?

Perhaps the answer is provided in the statement below which appeared under the heading Gore won’t bare his scarlet letter, the explanation being that your parents wanted to flatter Armand Hammer by giving you the middle name Armand, but knowing also that Armand was the devil, they tried to cover up from the eyes of the world the homage they were paying him:

One source who has followed Gore closely for years says his parents gave him an initial as a middle name because they wanted their friend and benefactor, the controversial late industrialist Armand Hammer, to believe that their child was named for him.
The Montgomery County Observer,

Distinguished Senator from Occidental

But this naming of firstborn sons in order to pay tribute is only an indicator of some underlying relationship, and it is the nature of that relationship that is of primary interest.  The nature of that underlying relationship appears to be captured by the following oft-repeated anecdote:

Hammer owned Al Gore Snr.  Hammer kept Gore, as he liked to say, "in my back-pocket".  When he said this, Hammer would touch his wallet and chuckle.
Neil Lyndon,

More specifically, in the early days, that underlying relationship appears to have been that Armand Hammer set up the front of Black Angus breeding as a way of channeling funds to your father:

He had extended his largesse to both Republicans and Democrats.  His principal contact among the Democrats in the House was Albert Gore of Tennessee.  In 1950, Hammer had made Congressman Gore a partner in a cattle-breeding business, and Gore made a substantial profit.
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, pp. 165-166.

The way that this front operated was as follows, along with information on other methods of laundering money from Armand Hammer to the Gore family:

Hammer Ties "Extremely Sensitive"

Roy Neel, a former top Gore aide, told Zelnick that Gore was "extremely sensitive" about his father's connection with the late Armand Hammer, the head of Occidental Petroleum, who was notorious for his close ties to the Soviet Union.

When Gore Sr. was first elected to Congress in 1938, he was a poor schoolteacher.  But by the time he was elected to the Senate in 1952, he had become rich enough to live in a plush hotel on Washington's embassy row and send Al Jr. to the expensive St. Albans School in Washington.

Armand Hammer had helped make Al Gore Sr. a wealthy man.  Zelnick's book and a new book just released in January, "The Buying of the President 2000" by Charles Lewis [...] tell how Armand Hammer bought the services of Al Gore, Sr. and helped Al Jr. launch his political career.  [...]

Hammer helped Gore Sr. get started raising Black Angus cattle, giving him sperm from his own private stock.

Zelnick says residents in the area where the Gore farm was located claim that Gore was able to sell his cattle at much higher prices than anyone else in the area.

They say that "lobbyists and others with an interest in Gore's work" would come to Carthage and "bid outrageously high prices for Gore's stock."  One of them was Joe DeMaggio, who in 1958 bought ten calves from Gore "on behalf of clients whose identities he refused to disclose."

Zelnick says the prices paid cannot be documented, but newspaper records show that "many distinguished folks" came to buy the Gores' cattle.  He quotes former Governor Ned McWherter, a staunch ally of Al Gore Jr., as saying, "I've sold some Angus in my time too, but I never got the kind of prices for my cattle that the Gores got for theirs."

Zelnick also claims that in 1969, when Hammer bought the Hooker Chemical Co. (of Love Canal fame), he sold Gore Sr. 1,000 shares of Hooker stock for $150 a share, far less than the stock was worth.  House majority leader Hale Boggs accused Hammer of having violated insider trading rules in buying Hooker, but "a Securities Exchange Commission investigation proved inconclusive."

When Gore Sr. was defeated for reelection in 1970, Hammer made him president of Occidental's coal division, paying him $500,000 a year, which was extremely generous compensation at that time.
Al Gore's Skeletons: The Hammer Connection,

Eventually, you too were put on Armand Hammer's payroll

One device which channelled some of Armand Hammer's money to you was that of mineral rights:


Al Gore, Environmentalist and Zinc Miner
Originally published in The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2000.

Saturday, August 12, 2000 12:01 a.m. EDT


CARTHAGE, Tenn. — On his most recent tax return, as he has the past 25 years, Vice President Al Gore lists a $20,000 mining royalty for the extraction of zinc from beneath his farm here in the bucolic hills of the Cumberland River Valley.  In total, Mr. Gore has earned $500,000 from zinc royalties.  His late father, the senator, introduced him not only to the double-bladed ax but also to Armand Hammer, chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corp., which sold the zinc-rich land to the Gore family in 1973.  [...]

Mr. Hammer cultivated close relationships with many politicians, but he was closest to Mr. Gore's father, a U.S. senator from 1953 until 1971.  Mr. Hammer's Occidental Minerals snapped up the zinc-bearing property in 1972.  The senior Mr. Gore's farm is on the opposite bank of the Caney Fork.  Mr. Hammer paid $160,000, double the only other offer, according to the Washington Post, which first disclosed details of the arrangement during the 1992 presidential campaign.

According to deed documents in Carthage, a year later Mr. Hammer sold the land to the senior Mr. Gore for $160,000, adding the extremely generous $20,000 per year mineral royalty.  Ten minutes after that sale, the former senator executed a deed selling the property, including the mineral rights, to his son, the future vice president, for $140,000.  Albert Gore Sr. told the Post he kept the first $20,000 royalty for himself, evening up the father-son transaction.

The purpose of the sale appears to have been transferring the annual $20,000 payment from Mr. Hammer to the young Mr. Gore.
OpinionJournal from the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page,

And eventually, you too were put under Armand Hammer's thumb

The degree to which Armand Hammer oversaw and managed your career is not widely known.  An example of Armand Hammer's hands-on approach to supporting budding politicians:

In 1988, during his abortive run for the presidency, the 39-year-old Gore again relied on the largesse of Armand Hammer.  According to Zelnick, Gore became involved in the Illinois primary against Paul Simon, Jesse Jackson and Michael Dukakis and needed money that the banks wouldn't lend him.  Hammer came through with the funds and personally called Simon, a popular native son, asking him to withdraw and endorse Gore in return for a cabinet level appointment if Gore were elected.

Stunned, Simon angrily rejected the offer and won the election.  Gore received only a tiny fraction of the vote.

The year before this occurred, Gore flew with Hammer to Moscow to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev.  Hammer received a humanitarian award from the International Physicians Against Nuclear War.  Gore spoke to the same group, advocating a cut in nuclear weapons.  Once Gore and Hammer returned to the U.S., the newly-minted senator continued to laud his benefactor for his patriotism.

You became a member of an Armand Hammer retinue

When we sometimes read of your parents' closest friends, it is distressing to learn that they too were on the Armand Hammer payroll, giving the appearance of a group whose cohesion depended upon their belonging to an Armand Hammer retinue.  For example, in connection with your decision to run for Congress:

What would Al's parents think?  They were not in Tennessee that weekend, but out in California with their friends and frequent traveling companions, Bill and Dorothy McSweeney.  In the years since his forced retirement from politics, Gore Senior had been working in the oil and energy empire of Armand Hammer, his old Angus cattle partner, as executive vice president of Hammer's newly acquired Island Creek Coal Co. and as a board member of Occidental Petroleum Corp., sinecures that had brought him some measure of wealth for the first time in his life.  ("When the voters put me out to pasture," he explained unapologetically, "I went looking for the tallest grass I could find.")

McSweeney, a former Hearst newspapers journalist and White House aide to LBJ, was president of another Hammer subsidiary, Occidental International Corp., and often invited Albert and Pauline Gore to accompany him on trips overseas.  During stops in Los Angeles near Occidental headquarters, the two couples stayed in their favorite suite at the Beverly Wilshire.
David Maraniss and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post,

The Armand Hammer retinue deemed that your relationship with Armand Hammer was OK

In connection with vetting you as Bill Clinton's running mate in 1992, we come across the following statement, which backfires in its intended effect of clearing you of wrongdoing — on the question of the innocence of your relationship with Armand Hammer, its offering a joke is unconvincing, while at the same time what it does offer that is convincing is how long and close that relationship had been, and how it was understood by all that Armand Hammer could be counted upon to seize every opportunity to corrupt those around him, and so the public appearance had to be projected that he had been kept at a distance:

Harry McPherson got the word to place another round of calls to ensure that there were no last-minute surprises.  He reached Bill McSweeney, Gore Senior's friend and associate from Occidental Petroleum Corp., and asked him whether there was anything in the relationship between the Gores and Armand Hammer that might prove embarrassing.

"Harry," McSweeney said to his fellow LBJ White House alumnus, "let me put it to you this way: Pauline Gore and I spent 20 years making sure that Armand Hammer was never alone in the same room with Al Gore so I could answer this phone call."
David Maraniss and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post,

Of course McSweeney was not the person best able to give an honest answer to the question of whether Armand Hammer had corrupted you, as McSweeney himself was on the Armand Hammer payroll, as we have just seen above.

But you were in it up to your neck

There is no lack of evidence that your relationship with Armand Hammer was intimate and prolonged.  You invited him to your wedding reception in 1970.  You hosted him at the inauguration of Ronald Reagan in 1981:

Hammer, who had attended every president's inauguration since FDR's in 1933, watched the performance with great interest a few feet away from the principals.  He was the guest of Albert Gore, Jr., the freshman senator from Tennessee (and future vice president).  At five previous inaugurations, he had been the guest of Gore's father, Albert Gore, Sr., who now headed Occidental's coal division and earned more than $500,000 a year.  Hammer, despite his advancing age, still moved about with great energy, flailing his hand to greet other VIPs.  His positioning was excellent.  He was seated in the section of the stands reserved for the one hundred senators of the United States.
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, p. 303.

Eyewitness Neil Lyndon gives us a particularly detailed account of your hosting of Armand Hammer at the 1989 inauguration of George Bush Senior:

After he had entered the Senate in the early 1980s, Al Gore Jnr would always swing his influence to provide Hammer with a conspicuous place at presidential inaugurations.  He helped to ensure that Hammer was invited, almost alone among private citizens, into the inner circle of the Capitol when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated for the second time.  For the Bush inauguration in 1989, however, Al Gore exceeded himself.

On the morning of the ceremony, Hammer and his entourage, including me, were among the few guests at the Gores' Washington apartment, where Al and Tipper personally served coffee and cookies.  Tipper was effervescent and garrulous, while her husband was tense and guarded, his almond-shaped eyes darting sidelong glances.  It looked as if he were in the grip of an unwanted compulsion, as if he didn't much care for us being there but had no choice.

After the party, Gore accompanied Hammer to his seat on the podium.  Given Hammer's insatiable hunger for self-promotion, for showing himself off in the cockpits of world power, the place that Gore had reserved for his political godfather was a perfect gift of fealty.

"I had the best seat in the house," Hammer chortled afterwards.  He was placed at the top of the platform, beside the steps and the double doors that led into the Capitol.  When the ceremony was finished and the platform party mounted the steps, they formed a file to shake the hand of the little, ancient, myopic man who had risen with a grin to usher them in.  The new President Bush shook Hammer's hand.  The retiring President Reagan also shook his hand, followed by the new First Lady, the old First Lady, the new Vice President Quayle and his lady and the Chief Justice.

All the television networks carried the picture.  CNN played the sequence every half-hour throughout the evening of election day.  Millions of Americans and lonely travellers in hotel rooms around the world saw images that made it look as if Hammer had personally paid for the inauguration ceremony and everybody leaving the platform was thanking their host for the party.  He was in raptures.  All thanks to Al Jr.

WHY did Gore Jnr allow himself to be so closely embroiled in a compromising connection with such an unalloyed crook?  He had little choice.  He inherited from his father the mantle of being Hammer's principal boy in Washington.  Gore's father effectively delivered his son into Armand Hammer's back-pocket.
Neil Lyndon, How Mr Clean got his hands dirty, Sunday Telegraph (London), 01-Nov-1998,

And what did the Gores give Armand Hammer in return?

(1) The Gores gave Armand Hammer protection

Al Gore Senior support won Armand Hammer protection from investigation and prosecution, which renders more credible some of the speculations higher above that FBI investigation of Armand Hammer was reluctant, and that the FBI finding of insufficient evidence to continue an investigation was frequent:

In 1961, memos between Hoover and William Sullivan, head of domestic counter-intelligence at the FBI, said that Hammer could not be pursued because he was "protected" by Senator Albert Gore Sr.
Russian Culture: Armand Hammer and Sickle?

Hammer had demonstrated, as Hoover had handwritten in his file, that he had "political support."  At least two influential senators — Styles Bridges of New Hampshire and Own Brewster of Maine — and two important congressmen — Albert Gore of Tennessee and Emanuel Cellar of New York — were among his supporters.  Hoover, who had survived in Washington for three decades because he understood the reality of power, had no interest in challenging this congressional phalanx.  He decided to take no action.  Hammer had effectively stalemated him.
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, pp. 173.

However, Hammer never gave anybody a bean without demanding a payback.  In return for his cattle money, he required Gore to represent his interests in the political world.  Gore obediently did his master's bidding.  In the 1950s, Gore used his influence with J. Edgar Hoover to quash an FBI investigation and a hearing of the House UnAmerican Affairs' Committee into Hammer's dealings with the Soviet Union.  Later, Gore defended Hammer on the floor of the Senate against allegations of bribery in obtaining Government contracts (allegations that later proved to be true).
Neil Lyndon, Sunday Telegraph (London),

Such assertions as the above encourage also the view that if Armand Hammer had corrupted the FBI and other government agencies into granting him a measure of immunity from investigation and prosecution, then how much easier it would have been for him to corrupt one or two individuals into revising his academic record at Columbia University so as to show that he had earned a Medical Doctor degree when he had not.

(2) The Gores gave Armand Hammer access

In addition to Armand Hammer using your father to provide protection, he used it to attempt to gain access to higher authorities, not always successfully, as for example as the guest of Al Gore Senior at the inauguration of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1961:

That evening, Hammer was Senator Albert Gore's guest at one of the five black-tie inaugural balls.  He could count on Gore for such invitations.  He had made him his partner in the cattle-breeding business — a partnership that had proved profitable — and he had given him each Christmas over the past five years a gift of antique silver.  Since Gore had been a close colleague of Kennedy's in the Senate, there seemed to be a good possibility that Kennedy might stop by his table, and Hammer sat patiently next to Pauline Gore, waiting for such a moment.
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, pp. 199.

Countless instances of Armand essaying to reach the top through your father can be found, as for example the following:

Ever since he had returned from Russia in 1961, he had pushed, without success, to associate himself publicly with President Kennedy.  He even had Senator Gore propose that he act as the president's intermediary to Berlin when another crisis occurred there.  The White House did not respond to that offer [...].
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, pp. 208.

And when the President could not be reached, then Armand Hammer settled for a Senator:

Since Hammer would not be going to Moscow under the aegis of President Kennedy, he needed another sponsor, and Senator Gore helped provide one.
Edward Jay Epstein, Dossier: The secret history of Armand Hammer, Random House, New York, 1996, pp. 202.

Below is an example of how reflexively Hammer would turn to Al Gore Senior, and of the sort of service that Armand Hammer might require of him.  It seems in this case that Armand was distressed by the circulation of a printed flier beginning "Let it be known throughout our beloved land" and captioned "Communists — the Hammer Brothers," and that he supplied a copy of this flier to the FBI Laboratory for examination, hoping possibly that the FBI would be able to discover the authors for him.

On 11/16/66, Assistant Director MALONE had occasion to converse with ARMAND HAMMER (Bufile 61-280), who indicated that he was greatly distressed over this present character assassination and intended to see Senatore GORE of Tennessee regarding the matter.  He indicated that he would have Senator GORE see if the Director of the FBI, JOHN EDGAR HOOVER, could not do something about the matter.  Mr. ARMAND HAMMER indicated to Mr. MALONE that some 15 years ago he had Senator STYLES BRIDGES have the Director conduct an investigation regarding his background to prove such allegations were false.
FOIA.FBI, Part 5, p. 85.  Misspelling "Senatore" was in the original.

(3) The Gores gave Armand Hammer wealth

And it is not only protection and access that the Gores returned for Armand Hammer's generosity — sometimes they facilitated deals that netted Armand Hammer vast fortunes.  One of these was your father removing obstacles to Armand Hammer obtaining concessions to Libyan oil:

As head of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gore used his influence on the US Ambassador in Libya to arrange a meeting between Hammer and King Idris.  That meeting transformed the position of Occidental Petroleum, making it one of the biggest oil companies in the world and Hammer one of the world's most prominent entrepreneurs.

At a cost of at least $5 million, Hammer bribed the old King and some of his ministers to give him a concession on a vast Libyan oil field that would ultimately produce 800,000 barrels of crude a day (worth roughly $20 million a day or almost $7.5 billion a year).  Al Gore Snr was at Hammer's side on the day he paraded King Idris up a red carpet laid on the desert to open the new field.
Neil Lyndon, How Mr Clean got his hands dirty, Sunday Telegraph (London), 01-Nov-1998,

And another of the very large deals that netted Armand Hammer a fortune was made possible by your urging the Clinton administration to sell the 47,000-acre Elk Hills naval petroleum reserve in Bakersfield California, a sale that was eventually made to Occidental Petroleum.  It was the largest privatization of federal property in U.S. history, one that tripled Occidental's U.S. oil reserves overnight.

Anything wrong with that?  Certainly the requisite environmental review was improper — it was conducted by ICF Kaiser International, on whose board of directors sat Tony Coelho, general chairman of your presidential campaign.  More importantly, you appear to have provided the impetus for this sale, and the sale was made to Occidental Petroleum with which you had such intimate ties.  On top of that, Occidental Petroleum was making large contributions to the Democratic Party, and some even directly to yourself:

Occidental had contributed more than $470,000 to the Democratic Party.  This included a check for $100,000 written two days after Occidental chairman, Ray Irani, was a guest in the Lincoln Bedroom.  Gore received $35,550 directly.
Chuck Morse, Al Gore and Teapot Dome,

The defense that the sale of Elk Hills to Occidental Petroleum resulted from a public auction is not completely satisfactory, as it is possible to discourage the bidding of others by feeding them disinformation.  As an example of a place where an investigation of this possibility could begin, one could start by asking why it had been initially projected that the cost of extraction at Elk Hills would be $4.50 per barrel, when it turned out to be only $1.50 per barrel, and whether Occidental Petroleum was aware that the $4.50 per barrel estimate was inflated, and whether other oil companies would have taken a stronger interest in acquiring Elk Hills if they had been informed that $1.50 was closer to the truth (see ).

The summing up

Eyewitness Neil Lyndon pens a devastating overview of your relationship to Armand Hammer:

Throughout the whole of his life, Al Gore Snr and his family depended on pay-outs, kickbacks and subventions from Hammer.  Like his father's before him, Al Gore Jnr's political career was lavishly sponsored by Hammer from the moment it began until Hammer died, only two years before Gore joined Clinton in the 1992 race for the White House.

Federal Election Commission records show that Hammer, his wife, his corporations and junior members of his family all made contributions to Gore's campaigns up to the maximum amounts allowable by law.  Some of these contributions came from Hammer's grandson Michael and his wife, Dru.  [...]

The profound and prolonged involvement between Hammer and Gore has never been revealed nor investigated.  Only trifling snippets about Gore and Hammer have ever appeared, and those in minor American publications.  The few people in the world who know about their close involvement have always been dryly amused by Gore's Mr Clean reputation, a reputation only recently called into question over allegations of Gore's illicit fund-raising activities in the Presidential election of 1996.   Gore's intimacy with Hammer was frequently visible to me throughout the Eighties when I worked on Hammer's personal staff and travelled constantly with him.

Hammer regularly met Al Gore Jnr for lunch or dinner on his visits to Washington.  They would often eat together in the company of Occidental's Washington lobbyists and fixers who, on Hammer's behest, hosed tens of millions of dollars in bribes and favours into the political world.  Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, attended Hammer's lavish parties and receptions in Washington: Hammer's 90th birthday party at the Watergate Hotel cost more than $10 million, including a promised fee — on which he welched — of $250,000 to the National Symphony Orchestra for their rendition of Happy Birthday to You.

Separately and together, the Gores sometimes used Hammer's luxurious private Boeing 727 for their own journeys and jaunts.  Tipper once hitched a ride with us when Hammer was flying back to America from Europe.  During the flight, Tipper Gore and I, seated on the sofas in the forward saloon, had a long conversation about the effect of media intrusion into the affairs of American politicians.
Neil Lyndon, How Mr Clean got his hands dirty, Sunday Telegraph (London), 01-Nov-1998,

Two conclusions

Good thing you weren't elected President

It would appear that the Gore family fortune was made by the Communist agent Armand Hammer, and that without Armand Hammer's support, your career might have proved less illustrious, and your personal fortune smaller.

For these reasons, your becoming President of the United States would have been disastrous both for you and for the Democratic Party and for the country, as much of the above information had begun to be placed before the public eye well before the campaign, and would have become widely known had you been elected President, and would have undermined your legitimacy and besmirched your administration.

Americans would not have been naive enough to imagine that the information which they had been allowed to glimpse captured the sum total of your relationship with Armand Hammer; rather, they would have been forced to assume that they had glimpsed just the tip of an iceberg, and that your compromise ran much deeper.  Americans would have been saying that if you represented American Aristocracy, then they preferred to be Commoners.  Americans would have been wondering how a man had won the Presidency not only when he came lacking the qualifications for that office, but when he came flaunting overwhelming disqualifications.

Armand Hammer was one cog in the great Demjanjuk-persecution machine

Armand Hammer is of interest to anyone who has been following the persecution of John Demjanjuk, both by the American and the Israeli governments, because it was Armand Hammer who brought the Trawniki ID card from Moscow to Jerusalem.  Armand Hammer served as a courier because he could be represented to the world not as a Soviet official or agent, but simply as an American businessman playing the role of impartial mediator.  In this way, Moscow could contribute to the effort to discredit Ukrainians, while minimizing its exposure to blame for the perverse use that Israel was making of that ID card.

The perverse use that I am referring to is that the Trawniki ID card, if accepted as genuine, would place John Demjanjuk at Sobibor, and would prohibit him from being at Treblinka upon pain of immediate arrest, whereas the Israeli prosecution was using that same card to bolster its accusation that John Demjanjuk had been Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka.  That — along with the card's shaky authenticity — is why the Kremlin did not itself deliver the card, did not provide any chain of custody, and did not offer any word supporting its authenticity.  While Armand Hammer was playing the role of a go-between, he was more importantly playing the role of a firewall.

When the Demjanjuk defense attempted in Jerusalem to demonstrate Armand Hammer's lack of trustworthiness, the Israeli judges prohibited the presentation of evidence with the flippant comment that Armand Hammer was not the accused in this trial.

What taking a look into the life of Armand Hammer does for those following the Demjanjuk persecution, then, is that it provides further reason for believing that all the people involved in that persecution, from those playing the leading roles at the top all the way down to the minor participants like Armand Hammer at the bottom, were individuals of low integrity, duplicitous, mendacious, ruthless, and not only unsympathetic to Western traditions, but working to overthrow them.

Lubomyr Prytulak