Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve was chosen Secretary of Agriculture by Dwight D. Eisenhower, newly elected president of the United States. Elder Benson served in that capacity for eight years. Benson moved decisively into his new $22,500-a-year Cabinet position (later $25,000), not waiting for nomination hearings or official swearing in. He arranged to have his Church assignments shifted to other apostles, easily cleared the FBI's background investigation, began "prayerfully" gathering a coterie of like-minded associates—some of whom were LDS (sometimes referred to as "Mormon Mafia") —and embarked on a whirlwind cross-country tour to assess the needs of America's farmers.
[Church News: Historical Chronology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Gary James Bergera, '"Rising above Principle": Ezra Taft Benson as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1953-61, Part 1', Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2008, v 41)]
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