(July 17, 1891-Apr. 27, 1972). Louis Budenz was a member of the Communist movement in the United States. He later repudiated Communism and assisted American intelligence officials with the outing of suspected Communists in the federal government.

Budenz was born in Indianapolis. He attended Xavier University in Cincinnati and St. Mary’s College in Topeka, Kansas. He graduated from Indianapolis Law School in 1912.

In 1913, Budenz moved to St. Louis to coordinate reform work with the Central Bureau of the Roman Catholic Central Verein, as well as other groups including the League of Women Voters and the St. Louis Civic League, of which he eventually became secretary.

Budenz moved to the New York City area in 1920 to work for the local American Civil Liberties Union chapter. In 1935, he formally joined the Communist Party. He maintained his work with labor groups across the county, assisting in strikes and advising unions. That same year, he became editor of the influential Communist newspaper The Daily Worker.

In October 1945, Budenz renounced Communism and reaffirmed his commitment to the Catholic faith. Afterward, Budenz became an FBI informant of suspected Soviet agents. He testified that Alger Hiss was a Communist to the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1948. He also testified before the Subcommittee on the Investigation of Loyalty of State Department Employees, known as the Tydings Committee. Budenz was one of the most important informants of the postwar Second Red Scare.

Revised March 2021

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