About Thomas Gardiner Corcoran
Thomas Gardiner Corcoran (1900–1981) was one of several Irish American advisors in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's brain trust during the New Deal, and later, a close friend and advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Corcoran was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and educated at Brown University (where he was class valedictorian) and Harvard Law School. He clerked for Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. at the United States Supreme Court in 1926-27. In 1932, after practicing corporate law in New York, Corcoran joined the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. When Roosevelt began to take notice of his efforts, Corcoran was given a wider range of responsibilities than his official position as assistant general counsel allowed. He organized administrative agencies for various New Deal programs and assisted in drafting such legislation as the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. A protégé of Felix Frankfurter, Corcoran was considered the leader of the "New Dealers," a group of young lawyers that became prominent within the Roosevelt administration in the wake of the renewed economic recession of 1937.
Much of his work during the New Deal was in conjunction with Benjamin V. Cohen. Together Corcoran and Cohen were known as the "Gold Dust Twins" and were on the cover of Time Magazine's September 12, 1938 edition. Nicknamed "Tommy the Cork" by Roosevelt, Corcoran was the outgoing yang to Cohen's shy and retiring yin. Eventually Corcoran had a falling out with Roosevelt.
Corcoran's work after leaving government service led him to be dubbed the first of the modern lobbyists. From 1945 through 1947, President Harry S. Truman apparently ordered Corcoran's phones tapped. The transcripts of the wiretaps were deposited in the Truman Presidential library and released to researchers upon Corcoran's death in 1981.