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Deduct Box

The “deduct box” was the locked box where legendary Louisiana Gov. Huey Long kept “deducts” from state employee salaries to fund his political operation.

Estimates suggest Long collected between $50,000 to $75,000 each election cycle from government workers.

Long’s “deduct box” system allowed him to amass considerable funds — like a slush fund — which he used to consolidate his political power, promote his populist policies, and essentially transform Louisiana’s political landscape.

Despite the ethical and legal questions raised by this practice, it contributed significantly to Long’s influence and his ability to enact his ambitious programs.

The deduct box was kept at his Roosevelt Hotel headquarters in New Orleans.

After being shot in 1935, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports Long was asked on his deathbed by Roosevelt Hotel owner Seymour Weiss, “Huey, where is the deduct box?”

Before falling into a coma, Long responded, “I’ll tell you later, Seymour.”

The deduct box was never found.

Use of “Deduct Box” in a sentence

  • Despite the controversy it stirred, Long’s “deduct box” scheme proved highly effective in underwriting his populist programs and securing his political power in Louisiana.
  • The “deduct box” represents a notable instance of political corruption in American history, illustrating the risks of unchecked power and the importance of transparency in political financing.