Creator: United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation

Provenance Note: Positive photocopies of files pertaining to Burton K. Wheeler which were created and maintained by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation were purchased from the Bureau on February 7, 1990 by Special Collections under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Historical Note: Senator Burton K. Wheeler (1882-1975) began his law career in Butte, and served as U.S. Attorney for Montana from 1913 to 1918 prior to his election to the U.S. Senate in 1922. His first action in the senate was to begin investigations of corruption in the Department of Justice which resulted in the resignation of the head of the Bureau of Investigation. Within six months, the Bureau of Investigation, seeking revenge, attempted to frame the senator. The case resulted in Wheeler being acquitted and becoming a national political figure, which standing was increased in 1924 when he ran for vice-president on the Progressive Party presidential ticket. Wheeler is remembered as one of the most powerful senators in Washington D.C. in the 1930s. Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Committee and of the Indian Affairs Committee, he personally influenced such key New Deal legislation as the Public Utilities Holding Company Act of 1935 and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (the Wheeler-Howard Act). In 1937, he successfully led the opposition to President Roosevelt's attempt to pack the Supreme Court with justices of his own political persuasion. Throughout his years of service he was consistently opposed to war, and so supported neutrality legislation in the 1930s, spoke out against peacetime conscription in 1940 and 1941, and fought against the Lend-Lease aid to Britain in 1941. After the United States decided to enter the war, however, Wheeler gave his full support to the effort.

Content Description Note: The photocopied documents in this collection were taken from six files from the FBI in which Wheeler was the subject of investigations, and in one instance, a co-subject. Also included are cross-references to mentions of Wheeler in files on other individuals, organizations, events, or activities. The following inventory lists the original files numbers assigned by the FBI.


Box 1 FBI FILE #62-7903
Folder 1. v.1 1924
Folder 2. v.2 1924
Folder 3. v.1-3 1924-25
Folder 4. v.4 1925
Folder 5. v.5 1925
Folder 6. v.6 1925
Folder 7. v.7 1925-26
Box 2
Folder FBI File # Years Description
Folder 1 62-16195 1927 Senate Resolution 46 Concerning Industrial Espionage by Wheeler
Folder 2 62-48643 1937 Investigation of anonymous letter questioning the Social Security Act
Folder 3 9-7637 1941 Investigation of anonymous letter with death threat against Wheeler
Folder 4 61-9182 1942 Information pertaining to the attempt of Mrs. Evelyn Walsh McClean to sue New Masses magazine for libel
Folders 5-6 62-55261
v.1 and v.2
1939-43 Miscellaneous correspondence and information questioning Wheeler's patriotism and integrity
Folders 7-8 None
v.1 and v.2
ca.1940-45 Cross References of non-Wheeler files


Updated: 5/22/09