Investigations: Decline & Fall


(See Cover) Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman was on the grill. What were his associations with Billie Sol Estes? Freeman shrugged, hopelessly and helplessly. He had, he told newsmen, met Estes once, briefly, when Estes was paying one of many visits to Agriculture Department headquarters in Washington. Said Freeman: "I might recognize him in pictures." Then he mustered up a bit of bitter humor: "I'm sure I'll never forget the name." The newsmen laughed.

But the Billie Sol Estes case was no laughing matter—to Freeman or anyone else. It was the case of a welfare-state Ponzi. It was a...

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