Samuel L. Devine

Samuel Leeper Devine was born on December 21, 1915, in South Bend, Indiana. In 1920, his family moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Devine attended local schools. From 1933 to 1934, he attended Colgate University and then enrolled at The Ohio State University, graduating from this institution in 1937. Devine then enrolled at the University of Notre Dame, earning his law degree in 1940. Upon graduating from law school, Devine returned to Columbus, where he practiced law. That same year, he became a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He retired as an FBI agent in 1945 and returned to his legal career.

In 1951, Devine embarked upon a political career, becoming a member of the Ohio General Assembly. Devine was a member of the Republican Party. In the General Assembly, Devine chaired the Ohio Un-American Activities Committee, a joint committee of state representatives and senators charged with determining communism's influence in Ohio. The committee was based upon the federal government's House Un-American Activities Committee, and its members received sweeping powers to question Ohioans about their ties to communism. In 1952, the Ohio Un-American Activities Committee contended that 1,300 Ohioans were members of the Communist Party.

In 1953, the Ohio General Assembly, with Governor Frank Lausche's approval, extended the Ohio Un-American Activities Committee's existence. Lausche generally opposed the committee's actions, but he faced great pressure from Ohio voters, who feared communism, to continue seeking out communists. Lausche did veto a bill that would assess jail terms and hefty monetary fines for anyone found guilty of communist leanings, but the Ohio General Assembly, at Samuel Devine's urging, passed the bill over the governor's veto. The Ohio Un-American Activities Committee continued its investigations for the next several years, but Devine left the Ohio General Assembly in 1955.

In 1955, Devine became the prosecuting attorney of Franklin County, Ohio. Three years later, he won election to the United States House of Representatives. He served as a congressman for eleven consecutive terms from January 3, 1959, until January 3, 1981. He failed to win reelection in 1980 and retired from politics. Devine died on June 27, 1997.

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