McGrath, J. (James) Howard

   Born in Rhode Island and a graduate of Providence College in 1926 and Boston University in 1929, J. Howard McGrath passed the bar and practiced law in Rhode Island, where he became city solicitor in Central Falls. A Democrat, McGrath was U.S. attorney general for Rhode Island from 1935 to 1940 and was elected governor in 1940. He was reelected in 1942 and 1944, was U.S. solicitor general from 1945 to 1946, and was elected to the U.S. Senate for Rhode Island in 1946. From 1947 to 1949, he was chair of the Democratic National Committee. In 1949, President Harry S. Truman appointed him U.S. attorney general, but his undistinguished leadership and failure to deal with issues of corruption and general incompetence led to his forced resignation in 1952. He subsequently practiced law and made an unsuccessful attempt to be reelected to the Senate in 1960.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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