Highlights From the Senate Burn Book: Dirty Money, Blackmail, and JFK Blow Jobs

Bobby Baker
Bobby Baker. Photo: Corbis

Bobby Baker has a lot of juicy stories. As a former adviser to Lyndon Johnson and notorious all-around Democratic fixer throughout the fifties and sixties, Baker, now 85, is what Politico Magazine calls “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” In interviews with the Senate Historical Office, published by Politico in full for the first time, he shared piles of Senate dirt — involving copious bribes, liquor, and affairs — that make buying a little coke from an undercover officer (and hell, even Mad Men) look extremely tame.

A few examples:


Ellen Rometsch was … as pretty as Elizabeth Taylor. … She was sort of like me. She’d come from Germany broke. She really loved oral sex. … Bill Thompson [a lobbyist] … said [of Rometsch], ‘Baker, where did you get that good-looking woman? … You think if I invited her to my apartment she’ll go to the White House and see President Kennedy?’ I said, ‘She would jump at the chance.’ So she went to the White House several times. And President Kennedy called me and said it’s the best head-job he’d ever had, and he thanked me …”


Senator [Jacob] Javits [R-N.Y.] was a publicity hound. He was a very, very bright man, but he was another one — like Senator Jack Kennedy — he was a sex maniac. One of the postmen went in and caught him on his couch having a sexual affair with a Negro lady. He couldn’t wait to come and tell me.”


When Johnson was vice president, he invited me to go with him to Senator Styles Bridges’s [R-N.H.] funeral … Dolores Bridges was very fond of Vice President Johnson. She said, ‘Lyndon, I need some advice.’ She said, ‘Styles has got $2 million in cash here and I don’t know how to handle it.’ Vice President Johnson, being the true coward, he said, ‘Talk to Bobby.’ So I told her, ‘The banks are the government. If you put it in the bank, you are dead meat. Whatever you do, do not put that money in the bank.’ I don’t know what the hell she did with it.”


I was always very fond of Senator Tommy Kuchel [D-Calif.]. He was a fun guy … The difference between he and Senator Richard Nixon was that Senator Nixon could get 20 votes and Senator Tommy Kuchel could get 51. … Kuchel was having a relationship with his secretary, so he’d come over to me and ask me if I could send a page boy to buy him some rubbers — true story!”


Any time I had a rich guy in town, my secretary called her to see if she could go out. She told me that of all the people she had met … the nicest one was Congressman Jerry Ford [R-Mich.]. [FBI Director] J. Edgar Hoover could not find out the happenings when the Warren Commission was investigating the killer of President Kennedy … J. Edgar Hoover could not find out what they were doing. So, he had this tape where Jerry Ford was having oral sex with Ellen Rometsch. You know, his wife had a serious drug problem back then. … Hoover blackmailed … Ford to tell him what they were doing. That’s the reason I don’t like him. It’s just a misuse of authority.”

There much more here that could make Representative Trey Radel — but probably not Rob Ford — blush.

Bobby Baker’s Senate Burn Book Highlights