Follow the Money
I’m back to inviting readers to submit quotations whose origins they want me to try to trace, using my book, The Yale Book of Quotations, and my more recent researches.
Jay K asked:
A friend recently quoted the Washington Post as saying ‘Follow the money’ during the Watergate days. I thought it was just a line from the movie ‘All the President’s Men’. But is the phrase older than that?
This is usually said to have originated in William Goldman‘s screenplay for the 1976 film All the President’s Men, uttered by the source called “Deep Throat.” (It does not appear in the earlier book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.) However, the forthcoming Dictionary of Modern Proverbs, to be published by Yale University Press, quotes Henry Peterson testifying at 1974 Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Earl J. Silbert to be United States Attorney: “I would say, ‘Follow the money, Earl, because that’s where it’s going to be.’ Unfortunately, we did not get it following the money because the records were either nonexistent or were destroyed.”
The DMP also quotes a 1975 book by Clive Borrell and Brian Cashinella, Crime in Britain Today: “Mr [James] Crane usually offers this piece of sound advice to all new officers joining his fraud department: ‘Always follow the money. Inevitably it will lead to an oak-paneled door and behind it will be Mr Big.’ It is a tip that has paid off in scores of cases.”
Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?