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Lawrence (Larry) O'Brien

Lawrence (Larry) O'Brien


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Lawrence (Larry) O'Brien was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on 7th July, 1917. As a young man O'Brien met John F. Kennedy and helped him in his various political campaigns. O'Brien also played a significant role in Kennedy being elected president in 1960.

Kennedy appointed O'Brien as its special assistant in 1961. O'Brien was in the Presidential Motorcade in Dealey Plaza when Kennedy was assassinated. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed O'Brien as Postmaster General in 1965 and he held the post of three years.

O'Brien remained active in the Democratic Party and was chairman of the Democratic National Committee (1968–69 and 1970–73). He was also employed by Howard Hughes to protect his interests in Washington.

On 20th March, 1972 Frederick LaRue and John Mitchell of the Nixon's re-election committee decided to plant electronic devices in O'Brien's Democratic campaign offices in an apartment block calledWatergate. The plan was to wiretap O'Brien's conversations. Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barkerand E.Howard Hunt were later arrested and imprisoned for this crime.

O'Brien was also commissioner of the National Basketball Association (1975–84). His achievements included the merger of the ABA with the NBA, negotiating and signing a lucrative television contract with CBS, arranging a historic collective bargaining agreement with the NBA Players Association and introducing an innovative anti-drug program in 1983. In 1984, the NBA Championship Trophy was renamed the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

Lawrence O'Brien died in New York on 28th September, 1990.

For years Nixon had been trying to track down proof that Larry O'Brien was on Howard Hughes's payroll as a lobbyist at the same time that he was Chairman, of the Democratic National Committee. This could be hot ammunition to discredit O'Brien, Nixon believed. What had O'Brien done in exchange for Hughes's money (reportedly, a huge $180,000-a-year retainer)? A wiretap on O'Brien's telephone and a bug in his office could obtain the proof Nixon wanted.

To take such a risk as that burglary to gain that information was absurd, I thought. But on matters pertaining to Hughes, Nixon sometimes seemed to lose touch with reality. His indirect association with this mystery man may have caused him, in his view, to lose two elections.

His brother Don had been granted a $205,000 loan from Hughes in the 1950s when Nixon was Vice-President. Jack Anderson had broken that story shortly before the 1960 election, and Nixon felt his razor-thin defeat by John Kennedy was partially due to that story.

Then; in the 1962 California gubernatorial rare the loan had surfaced again, this time in a Reporter magazine article by James Phelan - and Governor Pat Brown could have credited his surprise victory over Nixon to the repercussions of that story.

And yet, even with this background,, at that very moment, unknown to me at the time, $100,000 of Hughes's cash was resting in a safe deposit box in Florida leased by Charles 'Bebe' Rebozo, Nixon's closest personal friend.

Years later, in 1976, I asked Nixon about that $100,000, which by then had been the subject of vigorous investigation for years. The investigation had finally petered out with no results. Rebozo explained that the $100,000 was a campaign contribution, and the reason it never reached the Campaign Committee was that an internecine war had broken out in the Hughes empire; Rebozo said he was afraid the President would be embarrassed by one side or another in the Hughes war if the campaign contribution was revealed.


Larry Oɻrien, campaign architect to JFK, left long Springfield legacy

File photo | The Republican Lawrence "Larry" F. O'Brien in a 1972 file photo.

Fran Sypek, longtime friend, sportswriter for The Republican and amateur historian, once asked me why there wasn’t a statue of Larry O’Brien somewhere in Springfield.

I also wasn't taking notes during that conversation, but if memory serves, Fran was wondering how Richard Nixon, had he been elected president in 1960, would have handled the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which threatened for 13 October days to start World War III?

As Fran pointed out, Larry Oɻrien was the organizational brain behind the Kennedy campaign that elected a president of the United States.

Joe Kennedy, JFK's father, paid the campaign bills, and, if history books are correct, didn't exactly lead the league in being a good guy. But, he was also no fool. He wanted the best for his son.

To borrow a phrase: The best and the brightest.

So he hired Larry Oɻrien, the son of an Irish immigrant bartender from Mattoon Street in downtown Springfield.

Oɻrien's first task was to organize JFK's 1952 underdog race against incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, then to ensure a landslide six years later in a re-election bid. Then, he was to build the infrastructure for a presidential run in 1960.

The day Joe Kennedy, former ambassador to England and then still called by many "The Ambassador,'' met Oɻrien in 1952 he gave him this advice: "Whenever you're dealing with someone important to you, picture him sitting there in a suit of long red underwear.''

Oɻrien wrote in his memoir, "No Final Victories: A Life in Politics From John F. Kennedy to Watergate,'' that he never forgot the advice nor failed to use it when meeting the important and self-important.
It would serve him well in a great American political life.

Larry Oɻrien was 73 when he died in the fall of 1990.

In Theodore H. White's book "The Making of the President 1960,'' a ground-breaking book on political reporting, Oɻrien is everywhere.

He's introduced on Page 50: "(Kenneth) Oɽonnell's partner was Lawrence F. Oɻrien of Springfield, Massachusetts, forty-two, a placid stocky man with a round benign face, an endless capacity for work, never ruffled, almost unfailingly gentle.''

Oɻrien had first helped the best man at his wedding, Foster Furcolo (later a Massachusetts governor), win a Springfield congressional seat in 1948.

By then, Oɻrien had honed a political formula, one he wrote down and titled "The Oɻrien Manual,'' a 68-page handbook that stressed mobilization of women as volunteers, voter registration, telephone canvassing and pro-active press relations.
It was the late Springfield Congressman Eddie Boland who first introduced Oɻrien to JFK in 1947. When the two men would meet in the White House, Boland, who grew up on Moreland Street, would quip: "It's a long way from Mattoon Street, Oɻrien.''

Oɻrien served as a special White House assistant to Kennedy. He was the Time magazine cover boy on Sept. 1, 1961. The headline read: "White House & Congress: Power, Patronage and Persuasion."
He was in Dallas, four or five cars behind the president, on Nov. 22, 1963. He was also one of the three men who picked out Kennedy's casket.

He would serve President Lyndon B. Johnson as a congressional liaison, instrumental in massaging landmark civil rights and Medicare bills through both houses of Congress. Johnson then appointed him to the then cabinet position of postmaster general in 1965.
When Johnson decided not to run for president in 1968, Oɻrien joined Robert F. Kennedy's campaign. When Bobby Kennedy was shot dead in Los Angeles, Oɻrien came home to Springfield "with nothing to do and nothing I wanted to do.''
But Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, the Democratic nominee called and asked Oɻrien to run his campaign. Oɻrien almost navigated a Humphrey come-from-behind victory against Richard Nixon in 1968's presidential race.

Oɻrien, who as a boy in 1928 shook Al Smith's hand, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's in 1932, was twice chairman of the Democratic National Committee. George McGovern almost picked him as his running mate in 1972.Billionaire recluse Howard Hughes hired Oɻrien's business to lobby in Washington.
The kid, who wasn't good enough to play on Springfield's Depression-era Cathedral High School basketball team, would be named in 1975 the commissioner of the National Basketball Association. The NBA championship trophy is named in his honor. He was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame the year after his death in 1991.

Watergate was just another chapter in Oɻrien's biography.

As Nixon's 1972 re-election neared, the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, believed Oɻrien, then head of the Democratic National Committee, to be the Democrats' most professional political operator – and arranged for three audits of his tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service to discredit him. Then they bugged Oɻrien's offices at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. When burglars returned on June 17, 1972 to replace the taping system, they were discovered by a night watchman and arrested, setting off a chain of investigations, Congressional hearings, indictments and trials that led to Nixon's resignation in 1974.

Oɻrien is a character in Thomas Mallon's new novel, "Watergate.'' Earlier this month, Oɻrien was quoted in The New Yorker's excerpt of Robert Caro's fourth book on Lyndon Johnson, "The Passage of Power," detailing his years as vice president and president and set to be published on May 1.

Soon, the 40th Watergate anniversary stories and books will arrive.

Like other histories, they will speculate and maybe even offer more information as to why Nixon was so obsessed with Oɻrien.

Was it his connection to Howard Hughes? Nixon's brother Donald had defaulted on a loan from Hughes in 1957.


Contents

O'Brien learned about politics at a young age. His father, a local leader of the Democratic Party, recruited him at 11-years-old to serve locally as a volunteer in the 1928 presidential campaign of Al Smith. O'Brien became a passionate Democrat and soon earned a bachelor's degree in law in 1942 at Northeastern University - a Springfield Division now known as the Western New England College School of Law.

He was appointed in 1946, 1948, and 1950 by his friend Foster Furcolo to serve locally as the director of the U.S. House of Representatives election campaigns.

O'Brien was appointed in 1952 by John F. Kennedy to serve in Massachusetts as the director of his successful U.S. Senate election campaign and, in 1958, to serve in Massachusetts as the director of his successful reelection campaign. His elections were largely attributed to O'Brien's recruitment and use of volunteers, and his development of a statewide election campaign.

He began in 1959 to build the foundation for Senator Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign by touring the United States.

O'Brien was appointed in 1960 by Sen. Kennedy to serve nationally as the director of his presidential campaign. His election planning in key primary states such as Wisconsin and West Virginia convinced many in the party that Sen. Kennedy's Catholicism wasn't a problem.

O'Brien developed a new presidential-campaign strategy for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) which became the standard for both parties. He collected information about each convention delegate and alternate delegate, and communicated frequently with each delegate's liaisons.

O'Brien was appointed in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to serve nationally as the director of his presidential campaign.

In 1968, Vice President Hubert Humphrey appointed O'Brien to serve nationally as the director of his presidential campaign and by Howard Hughes to serve in Washington as his public-policy lobbyist.

Committed to the principle that political parties are fundamental to the American political process, O'Brien was elected in 1968 and 1970 by the DNC to serve nationally as its chairman. His office was the primary target of the break-in at DNC headquarters in 1972, leading to the ensuing Watergate scandal. John H. Meier, a former business advisor to Hughes, collaborated with Hubert Humphrey and others to use Donald Nixon to feed misinformation to his brother, the President.

According to Meier, he told Donald that he was sure the Democrats would win the election since they had a lot of information on Richard Nixon’s illicit dealings with Howard Hughes that had never been released, and that Larry O’Brien had the information Ώ] (O’Brien didn’t actually have any documents but Meier wanted Richard Nixon to think he did). Donald then called his brother and told him that Meier gave the Democrats all the Hughes information that could destroy him (Richard Nixon) and that O’Brien has it. ΐ]

This provided the President with the motivation to break into O’Brien’s office, as he wanted to see if anything was going to break before the election, and which led to the Watergate scandal.

During the 1972 Presidential election, O'Brien was a top adviser to George McGovern. During the Thomas Eagleton affair, his name was mentioned as a possible Vice-Presidential replacement. This position later went to Sargent Shriver.

The DNC Lawrence O'Brien Award was created in 1992 by his family and the Democratic Party leaders to acknowledge the many years of service he gave to the party and his belief in the importance of volunteer contribution.


Lawrence Oɻrien, Democrat, Dies at 73

Lawrence F. Oɻrien Jr., the Democratic Party strategist who organized the successful senatorial and Presidential campaigns of John F. Kennedy, died yesterday at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. He was 73 years old. His family said he died from complications of cancer.

Mr. Oɻrien was twice named chairman of the Democratic National Committee and while he was chairman the committee's offices in the Watergate office and apartment complex in Washington were burglarized, resulting in scandals that led to President Richard M. Nixon's resignation on Aug. 9, 1974, as the House prepared to act on three articles of impeachment against the President.

Mr. Oɻrien, who served as the Congressional liaison representative for President Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson, had a varied career in politics, government and business and was widely admired for his organizing talents. He served as Postmaster General in the Johnson Administration, and put into motion a plan to modernize the postal system, making it a quasi-private corporation.

From 1975 to 1984, he was the commissioner of the National Basketball Association, and under his leadership the league made financial and rule changes that provided stability in an era of uncertainty.

Noted for his savvy, no-nonsense approach to winning elections, Mr. Oɻrien disdained ''windmill-tilting amateurs'' who failed to see that elections were not won by those who insisted on always taking the high road.

''The eggheads want the candidate to win on his own terms - to defy the party and interest groups,'' he said in an interview in 1988. ''The egghead thinks it's worthwhile to be defeated. I think it's worthwhile to be elected.''

Mr. Oɻrien was born into politics. His father and mother were immigrants from County Cork, Ireland, who settled in Springfield, Mass.

''My father ran into bigotry,'' Mr. Oɻrien said. ''It made him a strong Democrat. It was a place for him to go. He wasn't wanted elsewhere, and he became a Democratic Party fighter in a Republican stronghold.''

Early Exposure to Politics

Lawrence Francis Oɻrien Jr. was born on July 7, 1917, in the Roland Hotel, a boardinghouse and restaurant that was one of his father's properties.

The Roland's kitchen became the informal Democratic headquarters in western Massachusetts, and Larry Oɻrien grew up on close terms with politicians like James Michael Curley, the flamboyant Mayor of Boston, and David I. Walsh, the first Irish-American elected to the United States Senate from Massachusetts.

''My father would say, ɺll right, now we'll get the signatures,' '' Mr. Oɻrien recalled years later. ''It was organizational politics, signatures on petitions, door-to-door canvassing. He was a great one for planning - all the things I wound up being involved in myself.''

In 1942 Mr. Oɻrien received a bachelor of law degree from Northeastern University, but he had no designs on a career in law. Instead, he stumped the state with his father, a party committeeman, building up valuable contacts with ward leaders.

At the age of 22, while he was a bartender at his father's restaurant, Mr. Oɻrien won his first and only elective office, as president of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union. Soon afterward he was drafted into the Army but because his poor vision barred him from combat duty, he spent the war at Camp Edwards, Mass.

He was discharged in 1945, shortly after his marriage to Elva Brassard of Springfield. They had one son, Lawrence Francis Oɻrien 3d.

Mr. Oɻrien ran his first political campaign for Foster Furcolo, an old friend from Springfield who had been best man at Mr. Oɻrien's wedding, and was seeking a Congressional seat in 1946. Mr. Furcolo narrowly lost that race, but he was elected in 1948 and took his campaign manager to Washington as his administrative assistant.

In 1952 Kennedy, then a Congressman from Boston, persuaded Mr. Oɻrien to help in his campaign to unseat Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Republican of Massachusetts.

Mr. Oɻrien tackled the job with zest, and in the process perfected his own formula for political organization. He recruited 340 local political amateurs, calling them ''Kennedy secretaries'' so as not to offend entrenched party leaders, and charged them with working neighborhood to neighborhood for Kennedy's campaign.

He gave them ''The Oɻrien Manual,'' a 68-page handbook stressing the importance of voter registration, mobilization of women as volunteers, telephone canvassing and intensive press relations. He also encouraged the secretaries to organize teas around the state Kennedy's popular mother and sisters went to those receptions and shook hands for hours.

Despite the Eisenhower landslide of 1952, Kennedy defeated Senator Lodge by 70,000 votes. In 1958 Mr. Oɻrien's smooth-running organization helped Kennedy win re-election by 874,608 votes, a record for Massachusetts.

When Kennedy decided to run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1960 he again turned to Mr. Oɻrien, who established Kennedy headquarters and recruited volunteers nationwide. Kennedy won all seven of the state primaries he entered and, with Mr. Oɻrien's guidance, won a first-ballot victory at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. In November 1960, Kennedy, with Johnson as his running mate, went on to a narrow victory over the Republican ticket led by Mr. Nixon.

As Kennedy's special assistant for Congressional relations, Mr. Oɻrien was a crucial bridge between the White House and Congress, helping Kennedy's New Frontier programs became law. He did so with persuasion, patience, arm-twisting and an occasional favor.

After Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, President Johnson persuaded Mr. Oɻrien to stay on. He also served as a leading political adviser to Johnson in the 1964 election, which Johnson won with a plurality of 16 million votes.

As the President became preoccupied with the Vietnam War, Mr. Oɻrien was given the authority to negotiate substantial changes in the Administration's stalled legislation. In 1965 he won approval of 84 of the 87 major bills proposed by the White House, and in 1966 he won approval of 97 of 113 measures proposed.

Among the bills passed in Mr. Oɻrien's tenure as White House liaison officer were those creating the Peace Corps and the Alliance for Progress, Medicare, the model cities program, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, related voting rights legislation, a nuclear test ban treaty and increased aid to education.

Mr. Oɻrien sought to leave Government service in 1965, but Johnson persuaded him to stay in Congressional liaison and also to serve as his Postmaster General. In that post Mr. Oɻrien attacked the longstanding problems of inefficiency and mismanagement in the postal system.

In 1967 he told the House Appropriations Committee that the system was ''in a race with catastrophe.'' He proposed replacing the Post Office Department with a nonprofit governmental corporation managed by professionals. His recommendations were not approved by Congress until two years later, but in the interim he put in motion a postal mechanization program.

In 1968 Mr. Oɻrien resigned to coordinate Senator Robert F. Kennedy's campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination. But in June 1968, after the Senator was assassinated, Mr. Oɻrien returned to Springfield ''with nothing to do and nothing I wanted to do.''

He was soon persuaded to become campaign director for Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, who won the Presidential nomination and installed Mr. Oɻrien as the Democratic national chairman. But the party was going through some bad times, starting with the tumultuous and divisive convention in Chicago. Mr. Nixon narrowly defeated Mr. Humphrey in the 1968 election.

Mr. Oɻrien served briefly as president of the Wall Street brokerage of McDonnell & Company, then set up his own public relations and management consultant firm, Oɻrien Associates. In 1970 he again became the Democratic national chairman and oversaw sweeping changes in the selection of delegates, the reorganization of the committee's staff and the recruitment of communications experts as volunteer consultants.

As President Nixon's re-election campaign neared, his Committee for the Re-election of the President viewed Mr. Oɻrien as ''the Democrats' most professional political operator,'' and arranged three separate audits of his tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service.

His offices at the Watergate complex were secretly wiretapped by agents of the re-election committee. When they returned on June 17, 1972, to replace their listening devices they were discovered by a watchman and arrested, setting off the chain of investigations, Congressional hearings, indictments and trials that led to Mr. Nixon's resignation in 1974.

After the Democratic ticket's defeat in 1972, Mr. Oɻrien returned to Oɻrien Associates and worked on his 1974 autobiography, ''No Final Victories: A Life in Politics from John F. Kennedy to Watergate,'' in which he recommended the public financing of all Federal elections.

In 1975, as commissioner of the National Basketball Association, he set about mitigating internal and legal disputes plaguing the league. In 1976 he persuaded the team owners to let drafted players become free agents after two years.

Later he conducted the negotiations that led reluctant N.B.A. owners to accept a merger with the American Basketball Association, in which the four top A.B.A. teams, in exchange for a cash payment, joined the N.B.A.

Mr. Oɻrien was commissioner of the N.B.A. at a time when players' demands for higher alaries, coupled with widespread drug abuse, threatened the existance of the league. He initiated a cap on players' salaries in order to stabilize the league financially and began the most comprehensive drug and alcohol abuse policy in professional sports. He is also credited with improving competition and with introducing the three-point shot.

After he resigned as commissioner in 1984 he served as president of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.

Mr. Oɻrien, who lived in New York City after leaving politics, is survived by his wife, their son, Lawrence, who lives in Washington a sister, Mary Placzek of Wilbraham, Mass., and two grandsons.


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LAWRENCE "LARRY" O'BRIEN - FIRST DAY COVER SIGNED CO-SIGNED BY: ROBERT C. WEAVER, ROBERT COLDWELL WOOD, RAMSEY CLARK, JOHN W. GARDNER, JOSEPH W. BARR, ANTHONY J. CELEBREZZE, CLARK M. CLIFFORD, HENRY H. FOWLER, NICHOLAS DEB KATZENBACH - HFSID 165444

LBJ's CABINET: JOSEPH BARR, CLARK CLIFFORD, NICHOLAS KATZENBACH, RAMSEY CLARK, ANTHONY CELEBREZZE, HENRY FOWLER, LAWRENCE O'BRIEN, ROBERT WEAVER, ROBERT WOOD and JOHN W. GARDNER
Ten of LBJ's Cabinet member sign a FDC honoring the deceased U.S. President.
FDC signed: "Joseph W. Barr", "Clark M. Clifford", "Nicholas deB. Katzenbach", "Ramsey Clark", "Anthony J. Celebrezze", "Henry H. Fowler", "Lawrence F. O'Brien", "Robert C. Weaver", "Robert C. Wood" and "John W. Gardner", 6½x2½. FDC honoring the memory of President Johnson, 8-cent stamp affixed, postmarked Austin, Texas, August 27, 1973, FIRST DAY OF ISSUE. This stamp was issued on what would have been LBJ's 65th birthday. Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th U.S. President (1963-1969), had died on January 22, 1973. Light yellow stain touches Barr's signature. Light vertical fold touches three letters of three names. Overall, fine condition.

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Contents

O'Brien was born on July 7, 1917, in Springfield, Massachusetts. He learned about politics at a young age. His father, a local leader of the Democratic Party, recruited him at 11 years old to serve locally as a volunteer in the 1928 presidential campaign of Al Smith. O'Brien became a passionate Democrat. He earned a bachelor's degree in law in 1942 at the Northeastern University - Springfield Division, now known as the Western New England University School of Law. O'Brien was married to the former Elva Brassard in 1945. They had one son, Lawrence F. O'Brien III, who became a lobbyist.

He was appointed in 1946, 1948, and 1950 by his friend Foster Furcolo to serve locally as the director of the U.S. House of Representatives election campaigns. O'Brien was appointed in 1952 by John F. Kennedy to serve in Massachusetts as the director of his successful U.S. Senate election campaign and, in 1958, to serve in Massachusetts as the director of his successful reelection campaign. Kennedy's elections were largely attributed to O'Brien's recruitment, his use of volunteers, and his development of a statewide election campaign.

In 1959, he built the foundation for Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign by touring the United States. O'Brien was appointed in 1960 by Kennedy to serve nationally as the director of his presidential campaign. His election planning in key primary states such as Wisconsin and West Virginia convinced many in the party that Kennedy's Catholicism was not a problem.

O'Brien developed a new presidential-campaign strategy for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) which became the standard for both parties. He collected information about each convention delegate and alternate delegate, and communicated frequently with each delegate's liaisons. O'Brien was appointed in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to serve nationally as the director of his presidential campaign. In 1968, Vice President Hubert Humphrey appointed O'Brien to serve nationally as the director of his presidential campaign and by Howard Hughes to serve in Washington as his public-policy lobbyist.

Committed to the principle that political parties are fundamental to the American political process, O'Brien was elected in 1968 and in 1970 by the DNC to serve as its national chairman. John H. Meier, a former business advisor to Hughes, collaborated with Humphrey and others to use Donald Nixon to feed misinformation to his brother, the President.

According to Meier, he told Donald that he was sure the Democrats would win the election since they had a lot of information on Richard Nixon’s illicit dealings with Howard Hughes that had never been released, and that O’Brien had the information. [1] (O’Brien didn’t actually have any documents, but Meier wanted Richard Nixon to think he did.) Donald then called his brother and told him that Meier gave the Democrats all the Hughes information that could destroy him (Richard Nixon) and that O’Brien had it. [2]

During the Thomas Eagleton affair, his name was mentioned as the possible Vice-Presidential from replacement. This position later went to Sargent Shriver.

On June 17, 1972 O'Brien's office in the Watergate complex was broken into. The Watergate scandal that followed ultimately led to the resignation of President Nixon.

The DNC Lawrence O'Brien Award was created in 1992 by his family and the Democratic Party leaders to acknowledge the many years of service he gave to the party and his belief in the importance of volunteer contribution.

Government

His first post in Washington was in 1948 as Rep. Foster Furcolo's administrative assistant. In 1960, he was appointed by President-elect Kennedy to recruit staff for his administration. O'Brien was appointed in 1961 by President Kennedy to serve in Washington as the special assistant to the president for congressional relations and personnel. O'Brien was also responsible for awarding patronage. O'Brien was a member of President Kennedy's inner circle of trusted advisers, known in Washington as the "Irish Mafia".

He lobbied successfully during President Kennedy's first year for the expansion of the U.S. House of Representatives Standing Committee on rules to ensure a liberal and moderate majority. O'Brien also lobbied for increasing the minimum wage. He managed President Kennedy's activities in 1962 on the behalf of the Democratic Party during its election campaigns.

O'Brien accompanied President and Mrs. Kennedy on their trip to Texas in November 1963. The trip was part of the strategy for President Kennedy's run for re-election in 1964. O'Brien was to join the Kennedys at the Johnsons' ranch following the President's speeches and fund raising tour through the state. After President Kennedy was declared dead at Parkland Hospital on the afternoon of November 22, 1963, O'Brien accompanied the President's coffin and Mrs. Kennedy back to Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas. While aboard Air Force One, President Johnson called for O'Brien and Kenny O'Donnell, another Kennedy insider and member of the "Irish Mafia", asking both of them to stay on and work with him in the new administration. Although O'Brien had never been close to Johnson (and many writers, including Johnson biographer Robert Caro, reported that O'Brien did not like or trust Johnson and/or had openly made fun of Johnson), he remained at the White House and worked for the new President. President Johnson appointed O'Brien to serve as special assistant to the president for congressional relations and personnel. O'Brien continued this service through 1965.

O'Brien was appointed in 1965 by President Johnson to serve in Washington, D.C., as the U.S. Postmaster General. O'Brien continued this service through 1968. During his tenure as Postmaster General, in September 1967, the Post Office Department cancelled many "mail by rail" contracts, electing to move First Class mail via air and road transport. [3] This had a devastating effect on passenger train revenues and led directly to the ending of many passenger rail routes across the United States, which had relied on carrying mail to supplement their income as early as the 1830s (see: Railway post office).

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery was named and opened in 2004 in his memory.


Joseph L. O’Brien

NEW BEDFORD — Joseph Lawrence "Larry" O'Brien, 85, of New Bedford, passed away peacefully after a long illness on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, at Mass. General Hospital. He was the loving husband of Ida (Roy) O'Brien, married 63 years and son of the late Joseph C. and Sarah (Breau) O'Brien.

NEW BEDFORD — Joseph Lawrence "Larry" O'Brien, 85, of New Bedford, passed away peacefully after a long illness on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, at Mass. General Hospital. He was the loving husband of Ida (Roy) O'Brien, married 63 years and son of the late Joseph C. and Sarah (Breau) O'Brien.

Born in Canada, he moved to New Bedford at the age of 10 and attended Normandin Jr. High School. He served in the US Navy as a Water Tender 1st Class during WW II and was the recipient of several medals and commendations. He retired after 38 years from Comm Electric, where he worked as a Watch Engineer. He was a communicant of St. Mary's Church in New Bedford.

Survivors include his wife his son, James O'Brien and his wife, Pauline of Rochester four daughters, Patricia Tode and her husband, Raymond of Exeter, NH, Elizabeth Asack and her husband, Thomas of Duxbury, Brenda Pierce and her husband, Scott of Rochester, and Karen Roderick-Bates and her husband, Michael of Acushnet twelve grandchildren, Sara Tode, Keith Tode, Lyndsey Asack, Jamie Asack, Tucker Asack, Megan and Haley Pierce, Katelyn and Lauren O'Brien, Brody and Macy Roderick and Nathan Bates a great-grandchild, Merill Tode two brothers, Joseph George O'Brien of New Bedford and Joseph Leonard O'Brien of CA and several nieces and nephews.

He was the brother of the late Roger and Patrick O'Brien and Jeannette Duport.

His visitation will be Thursday 5-8 PM at Rock Funeral Home. His Funeral will be from the Funeral Home on Friday at 8 AM followed by his Funeral Mass at St. Mary Church at 9 AM. Interment Sacred Heart Cemetery.


Lawrence (Larry) O'Brien - History

Obituary

O'Brien, Lawrence "Larry" P. of Hingham, formerly of South Boston, May 11, 2009.

Beloved husband of Irene M. (Mitchell) O'Brien of Hingham. Loving father of Paul "Skip" Smith of Stowe, Vt. and Destiny I. O'Brien of Hingham and the late Michelle O'Brien and Robert W. Smith USMC Ret. Brother of Thomas O'Brien of Brockton, Robert O'Brien of Woburn, Ellie Blanco of NH, Carole McDonough of South Boston, and the late Sis Melanson. In addition to his children , he was a loving "Grampy" to 6 grandchildren, including Morgan B. Smith of VT, six great grandchildren and many special nieces and nephews.

Mr. O'Brien was the owner and operator of O'Brien Exxon Tire and Brake in South Boston for 45 years before retiring in 1991. He was a former member of the Bare Cove Fire Museum in Hingham and he donated his time at the Gifford Cat Shelter in Brighton. Larry enjoyed traveling, gardening and was an avid Red Sox fan. He was a man that no one ever had reason to speak badly of and was always the first to offer help to family and friends in need. He was an honest, upstanding man who worked hard and took care of his family. He fought bravely and without complaint through a two year battle with cancer. He will be dearly missed and remembered fondly by many friends and loved ones.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the Life Celebration Service in Pyne Keohane Funeral Home, 21 Emerald St., HINGHAM, Saturday at 9:30 AM.

Funeral Mass in Church of the Resurrection, Hingham at 10:30 AM.

Visiting hours Friday 4- 8 PM.

Burial in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery, Weymouth. Donations in memory of Lawrence may be made to Norwell Visiting Nurses Assoc. and Hospice, 91 Longwater Circle Norwell, MA 02061


Lawrence (Larry) O'Brien - History

Obituary

LAWRENCE – Martin L. “Larry” O’Brien, 72 of Lawrence died Tuesday March 18, 2008 at Lawrence General Hospital.

Born in Lawrence where he was a lifelong resident, he was the son of James and Eileen (Lyons) O’Brien. He attended Lawrence Schools and graduated Central Catholic High School with the Class of 1953. He also attended University of New Hampshire. During the Korean War he served in the U.S. Army where he was a Specialist 4th Class and received an honorable discharge.

For 25 years he was a tax assessor with the City of Lawrence. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, coached the adult softball leagues in Lawrence, an avid fan of all types of movies and loved to watch all of them. He also devoted most of his time to his family especially to his four grandchildren. Larry will be most remembered for his care and compassion to others.


Watch the video: Lawrence F. Larry OBriens Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech (June 2022).