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Pressman, Lee

PRESSMAN, LEE (1906–1969), U.S. lawyer. He left his law practice to accept a position in Roosevelt's New Deal administration. In 1934, while assistant general counsel in the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Pressman gravitated within the Communist Party orbit. Although he severed formal affiliation with the party after leaving government service a year later, he did not break ideologically with Stalinism until 1950. In 1937 Pressman became counsel for the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, and soon thereafter general counsel for the CIO. Brilliant and quick-witted, Pressman won the confidence of John L. Lewis, and later, CIO president, Philip Murray. He came to be considered "indispensable" in CIO administrative matters. While holding his position in the CIO, Pressman continued to consult with Communist Party leaders. However, he was actually forced to act more as a check on, rather than agent of, the Stalinist interests in the CIO. Pressman resigned from the CIO in 1948 to back the Progressive Party standard-bearer Henry Wallace's unsuccessful attempt for the presidency. He retired to the practice of law during the Korean War.


M. Kempton, Part of Our Time (1955), 37–81; U.S. House of Representatives: Committee on Un-American Activities, Hearings Regarding Communism in the United States Government, 81 Congress 2 Session (1950), 2844–901.