Columnist Jack Anderson, 83, died today from complications of Parkinson’s disease. The crusading journalist was a co-founder of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), and was credited for leading the organization to its current stature.
The following is the release from CAGW.
"Jack Anderson will be sorely missed,” CAGW President Tom Schatz said. “He was a devoted family man and an advocate for taxpayers. His muckraking style of journalism instilled fear in the hearts of some of Washington’s most powerful figures, ranging from the likes of J. Edgar Hoover to President Richard Nixon.”
As a syndicated columnist, Jack Anderson’s column, “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” appeared in more than 1,000 newspapers across the country. His in-depth investigations led to breakthrough news stories involving some of the biggest scandals of the last half-century, including: the CIA hiring members of the mafia to kill Fidel Castro and a possible connection to President John Kennedy’s assassination; publishing secret transcripts from the Watergate grand jury; President Nixon’s latent favoritism towards Pakistan in its war with India for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1972; and the uncovering of the Iran-Contra Arms-for-Hostage deal in 1986.
Jack Anderson’s ability to unearth Washington secrets led him into some very precarious situations, a true testament that the elites of the city held him in high regard. He was threatened by the mafia, noted first on President Nixon’s “Enemies List,” and the subject of several illegal investigations by the CIA and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. He was even the subject of a murder plot by Nixon aide, G. Gordon Liddy.
In 1984, fresh off of working on President Reagan’s Grace Commission, the late industrialist J. Peter Grace teamed up with Jack Anderson to co-found CAGW in an effort to make the commission’s recommendations on eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government a reality. His connections to the inner workings of Washington and his knack for conveying complex topics to everyday Americans made Anderson the perfect fit.
After Peter Grace passed away in 1995, Jack Anderson assumed the chairmanship of CAGW. His leadership and ability to reach out to people helped CAGW grow to the organization it is today. The watchdog group now boasts more than 1.2 members and supporters, with the vast majority of its contributions coming from individual taxpayers.
“Jack Anderson is the inspiration for CAGW’s efforts to uncover, publicize, and eliminate wasteful spending at all levels of government.” Schatz concluded. “He will be remembered for his inner strength, a byproduct of his faith and family. He had the fortitude to withstand numerous investigations, libel suits, and physical challenges. His work earned him a renowned place in American history and is a testament to the spirit of vigilance that is necessary to keep government honest and accountable.”