Dapper Dan Flood: The Controversial Life of a Congressional Power Broker

Dapper Dan Flood: The Controversial Life of a Congressional Power Broker

by William C. Kashatus


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Daniel J. Flood was among the last of the old-time movers and shakers on Capitol Hill. A flamboyant vaudevillian who became a Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, he was a sight on the House floor, sporting white linen suits, silk top hats, and dark, flowing capes. Flood presented his addresses and arguments with the overly precise and clipped accent of an old-fashioned stage actor, and he reveled in the attention he attracted for every performance.

At the same time, “Dapper Dan” understood the complexities of the old power politics and played the legislative game with sheer genius. He worked his will by employing the common practices that greased the wheels of the political process in the post–World War II era: persuasion, manipulation, arm-twisting, and grandiloquent oratory rarely matched by his congressional colleagues.

Between 1945 and 1980, Flood used his clout as a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee to wield near-veto power over the $300 billion federal budget. Flood was instrumental in funding the Cold War as well as the “Great Society” social reforms of the 1960s. This consummate pork-barrel politician was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for sixteen terms. Eventually accused of improprieties in arranging federal contracts, Flood became the subject of sweeping investigations by the U.S. Attorney General and the House Ethics Committee.

Based on recently declassified FBI documents, court records, public papers, and contemporary newspaper accounts, as well as more than thirty interviews of Flood’s widow, congressional colleagues, and Capitol Hill staff, Dapper Dan Flood explodes the myths surrounding this controversial Pennsylvania congressman.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271067551
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 01/30/2015
Series: Keystone Books
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

William C. Kashatus is a professional historian who earned a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations



1. Anthracite Origins

2. Early Career

3. Trumping the Fine Machine

4. The Fight to Save Anthracite

5. Education of a Cold Warrior

6. Pork-Barreling the Great Society

7. Reconsidering Vietnam

8. Elko’s Payoff

9. One Flood Against Another

10. Panama’s Public Enemy No. 1

11. Federal Investigation

12. Trial and Tribulation





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