The Congressman Who Spied For Russia

Born in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1885, Dickstein immigrated with his religious Jewish parents to the Lower East Side as a small child.

Samuel Dickstein, a Democrat from New York City who served in the House of Representatives from the early 1920s to the mid-1940s.

Dickstein didn’t achieve a degree of prominence in Congress until the Democrats took control of the House following the 1930 midterms and Tammany chieftains insisted that he be named to lead the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization. From this perch, he began his career as a scourge of the disloyal.

Stalin had a spy in Congress, an exasperating character who once “blazed up very much, claiming that if we didn’t give him money he would break with us,” according to his Soviet contact. To this day, Sam Dickstein is the only known U.S. representative to have served as a covert agent for a foreign power. His codename was Crook.

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